Lakers tie series with Kings on late 3-pointer


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- It was pure Hollywood.

With the Los Angeles Lakers down by two points with a second
left, Robert Horry knew his place. What he didn't know was how he
was going to get his hands on the ball.

Teammates Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal missed their shots,
and Sacramento Kings center Vlade Divac tipped a rebound blindly
away from the basket.

Then came something right out of the movies: The ball headed
straight for Horry, who grabbed it for a 3-pointer as time expired
and rallied the Lakers from a 24-point deficit to a 100-99 victory

The win tied the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

"I wanted the 3 all the way,'' Horry said. "I stayed right
where I could get it. When it came rolling out, it was like, 'Oh,
look what I got.'''

Game 5 is Tuesday night in Sacramento, with Game 6 back at
Staples Center on Friday night.

Horry scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the
Lakers willed themselves to an amazing victory in a game they badly
needed to keep their championship hopes alive. They made it as
dramatic as possible, falling behind as the Kings played an
outstanding first half.

But nobody in the Lakers' locker room was overly surprised by
the blind tip by Divac that put the ball in Horry's hands. After
two straight championships and more dramatic finishes than they can
count, the Lakers expect fortune to smile on them almost every

"I didn't draw it up like that, so don't ask me,'' Lakers coach
Phil Jackson said with a grin. "But we got the shot we wanted.''

The Kings led by eight points with less than four minutes left,
but Horry pulled the Lakers within three with another 3-pointer
with 1:39 left. O'Neal, who finished with 27 points and 18
rebounds, hit two free throws to make it 98-97 with 26.9 seconds

Divac made one of two free throws with 11.8 seconds to play. In
the final seconds, Bryant missed a layup and O'Neal missed a
tip-in, but Divac swatted the rebound out to Horry, who buried the
straightaway shot before being mobbed by his teammates.

Horry hit the final shot, but an outstanding second half of
defense kept the Kings from grabbing control of the series. Now,
the Kings are wondering what forces beyond the game they must
conquer to knock off the Lakers.

"Just a lucky shot, that's all,'' said Divac, who had 23
points. "You don't have concentration. He just threw it up. If it
goes in, it goes in.''

It wasn't Horry's first time as a long-distance postseason hero.
In Game 3 of last season's NBA Finals, his 3-pointer with 47
seconds left finished off Philadelphia.

Earlier in the spring at Portland, he hit a decisive 3-pointer
with 2.1 seconds left. In the conference semifinals against San
Antonio, Horry's 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining gave the
Lakers a seven-point cushion as they finished off the Spurs.

The Kings blew out Los Angeles in Game 3 Friday night. Faced
with the prospect of a 3-1 series deficit -- which the Lakers
haven't rallied to overcome in 31 years -- Los Angeles got another
dose of the magic that seems to follow this franchise.

"This one should knock the cobwebs out,'' Horry said.
"Hopefully we can go out (to Sacramento) and get some wins and get
back to the old Laker basketball.''

Sacramento roared to its second spectacular start at Staples
Center, scoring 40 points in the first quarter and taking a
14-point lead to halftime. But the Kings fumbled through the second
half, and Divac missed a free throw with 11.8 seconds left.

The victory came one day after New Jersey's unprecedented
fourth-quarter playoff collapse against Boston in Game 3 of the
Eastern Conference finals.

After taking a 21-point lead into the final quarter, the Nets
were outscored 41-16 in the fourth and lost 94-90. The Celtics lead
that series 2-1.

Sacramento, still playing without injured All-Star Peja
Stojakovic, had an impressive, free-flowing first half in which
they led 50-26 at one point. But the Kings tightened up as Bryant
shut down Mike Bibby, who scored 18 points in the first half but
just three in the second.

Bibby hit 8-of-11 shots in the first half, but Samaki Walker's
desperation 3-pointer -- which he released after the buzzer -- cut
the lead to 65-51 at halftime.

Game notes
The Kings won their first five road playoff games. Chris
Webber had 20 points, but just four in the fourth quarter. ... The
Lakers haven't recovered from a 3-1 series deficit since 1970, when
Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West rallied to beat Phoenix.