Final

Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 2)

Series starts 11/24

Game 1: Sunday, November 24th
Bucks99Final
Lakers111
Game 2: Saturday, March 15th
Lakers98Final
Bucks94

Lakers 98

(37-28, 13-18 away)

Bucks 94

(32-34, 18-16 home)

    7:30 PM ET, March 15, 2003

    BMO Harris Bradley Center, Milwaukee, WI

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAL 29 20 23 2698
    MIL 29 35 8 2294

    Top Performers

    LAL: K. Bryant 20 Pts, 9 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Mil: S. Cassell 20 Pts, 7 Reb, 7 Ast, 3 Stl

    Lakers clamp down in third quarter, tie Jazz in West race

    MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Los Angeles Lakers' second-half defense was too much for the Milwaukee Bucks.

    The Bucks scored a season-low eight points in the third quarter and a total of 30 after halftime as the Lakers erased an 18-point deficit on their way to a 98-94 victory Saturday night.

    Shaquille O'Neal scored 24 points for Los Angeles and Kobe Bryant added 20, including four in the final 36 seconds.

    The win moved the Lakers (37-28) into a tie with Utah for the sixth playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    "Anytime you score eight points against a great team, it builds confidence in the opposite way,'' Milwaukee coach George Karl said. "It takes your confidence out of the game and gives them confidence to play.''

    Milwaukee, which has averaged 104 points a game since getting Gary Payton and Desmond Mason from Seattle Feb. 20, shot 59 percent in the first half for a 64-49 lead.

    The Bucks had 20 assists and only three turnovers before halftime. In the second half, they had 12 turnovers and six assists, to go along with their poor offensive output in the third quarter.

    "We found a way to play some defense,'' Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said. "They stopped making those shots that had been killing us.''

    Michael Redd scored 21 points and Sam Cassell 20 for Milwaukee, which lost its third straight and dropped into a tie with Washington at 32-34 for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

    Guarded closely by Bryant, Payton missed 12 of 15 shots. He had eight assists, but only two in the second half.

    "It felt good to have a quarter like we did in the third,'' Bryant said. "We felt like they controlled the tempo early on and we took that back in the second half.''

    Bryant also hurt the Bucks offensively. He hit a 20-foot jumper with Payton guarding him tightly to give the Lakers a 96-91 lead with 36 seconds to go.

    "Gary Payton is smaller than me and I was able to elevate and get the shot I needed,'' Bryant said.

    Cassell made a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left and Bryant hit two free throws with 4.9 seconds to go for the final score.

    Redd made a baseline 20-footer to give Milwaukee its last lead at 89-88 with 3:34 left. Derek Fisher gave Los Angeles the lead for good at 90-89 on an 18-foot jumper with 3:12 to go.

    On the Lakers' next possession, O'Neal scored on a hook for a 92-89 lead with 2:32 left. Milwaukee failed to score on its next two possessions and Rick Fox scored in the lane for a 94-89 lead with 1:14 left.

    Milwaukee scored the first 15 points of the second quarter to take a 44-29 lead on Derek Mason's dunk from Redd with 8:33 to go. With O'Neal on the bench, the Lakers missed their first eight shots of the second quarter, fell behind 54-36 and trailed 64-49 at halftime.

    Game notes


    The Lakers are 24-9 since Jan. 1. ... Lakers F Mark Madsen made his 10th start of the season, replacing Robert Horry, and scored a season-high 12 points. Los Angeles is 9-1 in games Madsen starts. ... The crowd of 18,717 was only the fourth sellout in 34 home games for Milwaukee. ... The Lakers outrebounded the Bucks 46-30. ... Bucks F Anthony Mason suffered a strained left hip with 2:55 left in the fourth quarter and left the game. He is listed as day-to-day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    LAL
    MIL
    Points 98 94
    FGM-FGA 36-70 (.514) 39-81 (.481)
    3PM-3PA 6-13 (.462) 10-23 (.435)
    FTM-FTA 20-32 (.625) 6-9 (.667)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-46 6-30
    Assists 23 26
    Turnovers 19 15
    Steals 6 8
    Blocks 8 3
    Fast Break Points 1 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (1/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Milwaukee
    Kobe Bryant Bryant
    Points: 20
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 4
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 2
    Sam Cassell Cassell
    Points: 20
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 3
    Blk: 0