Rice to the Rescue

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers' third option suddenly became No. 2, and not by choice.

Glen Rice Glen Rice stepped up to score 21 points in Game 2. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE Photos)
Glen Rice, much maligned throughout the playoffs for his inconsistent play on offense, was up to the challenge.

And so were Ron Harper, Derek Fisher and Robert Horry, who also moved up in the pecking order.

Known as one of the NBA's top outside shooters but often a disappointment this season, Rice came through after Kobe Bryant sprained his ankle in the first quarter, scoring 21 points as the Lakers beat Indiana 111-104 Friday night to take a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals.

"A lot of people say I'm the third option," said Rice, averaging 20.2 points in his 11-year NBA career.

"It was a matter of getting good looks. Once I hit a couple, the confidence went up."

Rice, who went 1-for-8 from the field and scored three points in the Lakers' 104-87 victory in Game 1, bounced back with a 7-of-15 performance, including 5-of-6 from three-point range.

His point total equaled his high in this year's playoffs.

"When you lose a key player, one of the things you have to do is come together collectively, offensively and defensively, step up your game," Rice said. "We may very well be short again. Guys have to step up again."

And Rice?

"It's pretty much going to put me as the second option again," he said. "That's fine with me. I'm ready to accept the challenge."

Bryant's status for Game 3 at Conseco Fieldhouse on Sunday night is unclear. The Lakers said Bryant, who scored 14 points in Game 1, is day-to-day.

Rice's biggest shot was a three-pointer from the top of the key with a little less than five minutes left, ending a 6-0 Indiana run and giving the Lakers an 89-84 lead.

The Pacers weren't closer than three points after that.

The Lakers took the lead for good on a foul shot by Shaquille O'Neal with 2:53 left in the third quarter, and Rice followed with his fourth three-pointerer in as many tries at that stage to give the Lakers a 71-67 lead.

Harper, forced to play more minutes than usual and become more of a scorer as well because of Bryant's injury, also scored 21 points, including four free throws in the final 32.5 seconds to clinch the victory.

"Ron Harper, old guy, that's all I can say," Harper said with a wide grin. "He's just an old guy trying to hold on."

Harper, 36, played on championship teams in Chicago from 1996-98 under current Lakers coach Phil Jackson.

"We're a good team, I think," Harper said. "Guys did a fine, big job tonight."

Harper's running bank shot with a little more than eight minutes left made it 82-78, and Fisher followed with a three-pointer to give the Lakers the game's biggest lead to that point.

Bryant, a second-team All-NBA selection as well as first-team all-defensive pick, was injured while making his only shot of the game, a 17-foot jumper with 3:26 left in the first quarter.

Bryant, who sprained his right foot in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against Portland but didn't miss any playing time, landed on Jalen Rose's foot after releasing the shot and went down.

It was obvious immediately the injury was significant, as he rose hobbling. Shortly thereafter, Bryant left the court for good.

Bryant missed 15 games at the start of the season because of a broken right hand.

"We learned to play without him, we learned how to win without him," said Lakers guard Brian Shaw, who figures to start in Bryant's place if he can't play Sunday. "We gained confidence early in the second we could win without him. I don't think there was a dropoff when he went out."

O'Neal, meanwhile, set an NBA record by attempting 39 free throws, making 18. He was fouled intentionally several times in the late going, and was 5-for-10 in those situations.

With the Lakers leading 99-96, the ball went to O'Neal, but he dropped it to Horry before the Pacers could foul the big center, and Horry's three-point play gave Los Angeles a six-point lead.

Horry finished with seven points and Fisher scored six.


Lakers' Bryant day-to-day with ankle sprain

Game 2 notebook

Lakers Quotes: June 9

Pacers Quotes: June 9

Nightly video highlights, June 9

June 9, 2000
Lakers vs. Pacers (111 - 104)
Pacers at Lakers Game 2 highlights
28.8+ | ISDN+

June 9, 2000
Lakers vs. Pacers (W, 111 - 104)
Ron Harper flies in from the wing on the fastbreak and gets the layup for two of his 21 points.
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June 9, 2000
Lakers vs. Pacers (W, 111 - 104)
The Lakers move the ball around and get it to Glen Rice for the trey and a five point lead with five minutes left in the game.
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June 9, 2000
Lakers vs. Pacers (W, 111 - 104)
Shaw-Shaq happens again as Brian throws the alley oop to O'Neal for the reach and the slam.
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June 9, 2000
Lakers vs. Pacers (W, 111 - 104)
Shaquille O'Neal spoils the Hack-a-Shaq with the quick pass to Robert Horry for the big reverse layup and foul late in the game.
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June 9, 2000
Lakers vs. Pacers (W, 111 - 104)
1,000k  avi  |  QT

June 9, 2000
Pacers vs. Lakers (L, 104 - 111)
Jalen Rose backs down Harper, spins, hits the tough jumper, and gets fired up in the process.
786k  avi  |  QT

June 9, 2000
Pacers vs. Lakers (L, 104 - 111)
Mark Jackson outlets to Reggie Miller, who races in for the layup before crashing into the cameraman under the hoop.
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June 9, 2000
Pacers vs. Lakers (L, 104 - 111)
Reggie Miller gets aggressive early by taking and making the Pacers' first shot of the game.
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June 9, 2000

Lakers-Pacers Game 2 Postgame
28.8+ | ISDN+

June 9, 2000

"The jump hook over three Indiana defenders." Shaq scores on a triple-team.
150k  wav | RealAudio

June 9, 2000

"Reggie came right back down their throat!" Reggie Miller hits a three in Game 2.
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June 9, 2000

"Jalen Rose rattles in another jump shot!"
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