Game 2 Side Lines

Updated: June 9, 2004, 5:00 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

Male of the Night

Luke Walton
Walton
Luke Walton. It's not easy not to vote for Kobe Bryant, given that Bryant just sank one of the clutchest shots in franchise history, but Walton was L.A.'s other Game 2 savior. The rookie logged a near-perfect 27 minutes, after getting zero minutes in Game 1, and recorded the most assists (eight, and without a turnover) in an NBA Finals debut since Magic Johnson in 1980.

E-Mail of the Night

    On the Lakers' last possession, L.A. inbounds to Shaq -- so why no immediate foul? Even if he miraculously hits both free throws, Detroit is up one point with the ball, two timeouts and likely to inbound to Rip Hamilton or Chauncey Billups. I can take an honest lost, especially after stealing the home-court advantage, but missed opportunities and coaching errors cut deep.
    Todd Mobley
    South Bend, Ind.

STEIN: Appreciate the calm tone, Todd. But, yeah. Your exasperation is completely understandable. Shaq touched the ball before Kobe got it, giving Detroit a decent opportunity to foul The Diesel even if coach Larry Brown didn't want to risk clipping Bryant on a 3-point attempt. Your questions were posed to Brown and every Pistons player in several forms after L.A.'s 99-91 overtime triumph.

David Stern
Stern
Speak of the Night

"I thought I could get out of town before it happens, but maybe not."
 Commissioner David Stern, joking that he once thought he'd be retired from his post before an American team of NBA pros found itself at risk of winning something less than a gold medal in the Olympics.

Stat of the Night

1
The Lakers fell one point shy of becoming just the sixth opponent all season to score 100 points in a game against the Pistons. Detroit has allowed triple digits only once in the playoffs, in its triple-overtime loss to New Jersey in Game 5 of the second round.

Stat of the Frightful

49-5
That's the scoring differential through two games between Detroit's Chauncey Billups and the Lakers' Gary Payton.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. To e-mail him, click here. Also, click here to send a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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