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2.02.2010

Lakers Say Getting Swept was a Learning Experience

1984 NBA Finals

Larry v. Magic: Game 8

Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Summary
Larry v. Magic: Game-by-Game Media Coverage


"That experience was a valuable one," Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said of last season's championship series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers. "I think we're in a different mind-set now, and we know the Boston Celtics are sitting there waiting on us. But it's what we've been working for all year. Last year, we flew all day and had no real time for practice. This time we know what we're in for."

The Lakers also suffered a key injury in that sixth game last season when Bob McAdoo, the prime scorer off the bench, had a groin pull and was ineffective for the remainder of the playoffs.

There were no such injury problemd Friday night, and the Lakers appeared to be as healthy as they have been in months. The sole exception is Jamaal Wilkes, who is suffering through a slow recovery from a parasitic virus. Wilkes, a five-time all-star, was a sad sight during the postseason, hitting only 11 of 35 shots going into Friday night's game as he struggled to regain his stamina and timing. Through three periods, he made only one of three shots.

But when the game grew tight at the start of the final period, Wilkes showed his brilliance when it was needed most. First, he slid through the lane for a lay-in that tied the score at 80-80, and, later, he made two clean 16-footers that kept the Lakers one basket ahead.

"Big, big, shots," said Coach Pat Riley, with an unmistakable tone of relief. "But then Silk always had a sense of drama about him."

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