Los Angeles wins series 4-3 (Game 2 of 7)

Los Angeles wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, May 18th
Game 2: Monday, May 20th
Game 3: Friday, May 24th
Game 4: Sunday, May 26th
Game 5: Tuesday, May 28th
Game 6: Friday, May 31st
Game 7: Sunday, June 2nd

Lakers 90

(58-24, 24-17 away)

Kings 96

(61-21, 36-5 home)

    6:30 PM ET, May 20, 2002

    Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 26 24 17 2390
    SAC 25 27 24 2096

    Top Performers

    LAL: S. O'Neal 35 Pts, 12 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Sac: C. Webber 21 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 5 Blk

    Lakers' record 12-game road streak ends

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- Whether it was food poisoning, fouls or simply bad shooting, the Los Angeles Lakers couldn't summon their customary fourth-quarter magic.

    Chris Webber

    And after their first road playoff loss in nearly two years, the two-time champions finally might have a postseason challenge on their hands.

    Chris Webber had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Mike Bibby scored 20 points as the Sacramento Kings evened the Western Conference finals 1-1 Monday night, weathering Shaquille O'Neal's biggest game of the postseason to beat the Lakers 96-90.

    O'Neal had 35 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, whose NBA-record streak of 12 consecutive road playoff victories ended in an unsightly game in front of another delirious Arco Arena crowd.

    Afterward, with a white hat pulled low over angry eyes, O'Neal blamed the Lakers' loss on the refereeing. O'Neal was whistled for three offensive fouls -- and the Arco crowd howled for many more. The Lakers got 31 fouls to the Kings' 25.

    "In order to beat us, you have to beat us fair and square," O'Neal said. "There's only one way to beat us. It starts with a 'C' and ends with a 'T.' The real basketball fans understand what's going on here."

    Cheating accusations aside, the referees couldn't be totally at fault for a mediocre effort by the Lakers -- and a solid performance by the Kings until a hectic fourth quarter. It was just the third defeat in 27 playoff games for the Lakers, who hadn't lost on the road since Game 5 of the 2000 NBA Finals.

    The best-of-seven series shifts to Los Angeles for Game 3 on Friday night, with Game 4 on Sunday at Staples Center.

    The Lakers got 22 points on 9-for-21 shooting from Kobe Bryant, who received three liters of intravenous fluids in the hours before the game after an overnight bout with food poisoning from a room-service cheeseburger.

    "Next time I want a cheeseburger, I'll just go to McDonald's," Bryant said with a grin. "I was up all night, man. I don't think you guys want to hear the details. In certain spurts, I had a lot of energy. In some, I didn't.

    "I just tried to pace myself. Obviously, if I was healthy, I would have played a lot better than I did."

    The game wasn't exactly a classic. Sacramento led 89-74 with 6 1/2 minutes left, but the Kings managed just one field goal after that. The Lakers gradually rallied despite bad shooting and turnovers by both teams in the closing minutes.

    "When they came back, we were able to stay focused and stay with the game plan," said Doug Christie, who had 13 points for Sacramento. "That was the difference between the first game and this one. We didn't let them get to us."

    Trailing 92-82, the Lakers scored five straight points, but O'Neal missed a free throw, then came up short on an easy hook shot. Los Angeles missed five straight shots in the closing seconds before Bryant's 3-pointer with 12.5 seconds left cut the lead to 93-90.

    The Lakers eagerly fouled Webber, who missed seven of his first nine free throws. Webber hit one of two, and Rick Fox missed a 3-pointer to seal it.

    "I remember missing three on the back of the rim, and two were in and out," Webber said. "I remember saying, 'What's the matter, man? You haven't shot this bad since you were a bad shooter."'

    O'Neal manhandled the Kings all night, but the Lakers never were able to exert their will as they did in Game 1, a 106-99 victory. Supporting players Fox, Derek Fisher, Devean George and Samaki Walker were a combined 9-for-32 from the field.

    "You're going to give us shots to guys like Fisher and Rick Fox," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "You just have to. All we can do is do a good job of rotating and getting a hand in guys' faces."

    Robert Horry had eight points and a career playoff-high 20 rebounds before fouling out for the Lakers, who also lost Game 2 of the conference semifinals to San Antonio.

    Vlade Divac had 15 points and 14 rebounds before fouling out against O'Neal. Bobby Jackson added 17 points in a reserve role.

    O'Neal scored 23 points on 11-for-15 shooting in the first half. He slowed in the second half, but still finished with his biggest production of the postseason.

    The Lakers didn't open Game 2 as splendidly as Game 1, when they made nine straight shots on the way to a big early lead they never relinquished. O'Neal carried Los Angeles through the first half, bulling past capable post defenders Divac and Scot Pollard with the ease that only he can manage.

    Bryant didn't seem restricted because of his illness, but he rested longer than usual in the first half and got just one basket in the second quarter. Coach Phil Jackson also sat him for a stretch in the fourth quarter to gather strength.

    "He was still Kobe. He was still strong and aggressive," Christie said. "When he was out on the floor, he was still tough."

    All-Star Peja Stojakovic missed his fourth straight game for the Kings because of his sprained ankle. Hedo Turkoglu, who went 0-for-8 in Game 1, missed his first three shots but finally hit a jumper with 1:05 left in the first half, sparking a standing ovation from the Arco crowd and a sheepish grin from the Turkish star.

    Game notes

    Divac opened the game with a jumper that gave Sacramento its first lead of the series. The Lakers led throughout Game 1. ... Bibby got a technical foul in the first when he spiked the ball on the court in frustration, and it bounced up to hit O'Neal in the head. ... O'Neal passed Kevin McHale for 12th place on the NBA's career playoff scoring list. ... Supermodel Tyra Banks, Webber's girlfriend, was among several celebrities in attendance. Lakers owner Jerry Buss sat in the front row, on the opposite end from Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press