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LAKERS tired of hearing about injured Sixers

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ George Lynch's foot, Aaron McKie's ankle, thumb and shoulder, Eric Snow's ankle, Dikembe Mutombo's pinkie, Allen Iverson's everything.

Enough already.

The Los Angeles Lakers are tired of hearing the Philadelphia 76ers talk about their injuries, their heart and how close they were to winning Games 2 and 3.

``For us, it's not about respect,'' Kobe Bryant said Tuesday. ``It's not what people say. It's just about winning the game.''

The Lakers lead the NBA Finals 2-1 heading into Wednesday night's Game 4.

Lynch, out with a broken foot since May 13, will dress, but it's uncertain how long he can play. McKie, playing with a chip fracture in his right ankle, needed intravenous fluids to combat fatigue the last two days.

Snow, Mutombo and Iverson continue playing hurt.

``Rick Fox told me the last healthy day you have in the NBA is the last day of training camp,'' Lakers guard Tyronn Lue said. ``I think a lot of people in the NBA are injured or have something wrong with them.''

The Sixers can understand why they're not getting any sympathy.

``They don't care,'' McKie said. ``They have guys that are banged-up and are injured and we don't care.''

Iverson looked like he didn't have a care in the world Tuesday. He didn't show any signs of feeling pressure on the eve of a crucial game.

``I hope everybody's confident. I am,'' Iverson said.

After concluding his interview in the press room, Iverson returned to the court, saw reporters gathered around McKie, grabbed a microphone and jokingly asked questions until his arm tired of holding the mike.

Iverson then left the court and emerged driving a utility cart with his right hand while dribbling a basketball with his left. He maneuvered through a crowd of reporters and cameramen on his way out, came back for another spin minutes later and parked near a tunnel while the Lakers filtered off the team bus.

He greeted several players as they entered the arena, including Bryant.

``We hoped he wouldn't crash out, man,'' Bryant said. ``He was going pretty fast. He cut the corner going pretty fast.''

The Lakers are looking to take away any hope the Sixers have left after three grueling, down-to-the-wire finishes. A victory Wednesday practically clinches a second straight championship for Los Angeles.

A loss gives the Sixers all the momentum heading into Friday's Game 5, also here.

``I think it's very pivotal,'' Lakers guard Derek Fisher said. ``They can either tie the series or we can go up 3-1. For both teams, it's a life or death situation.''

Philadelphia has been in this position in each of the last two series and responded by winning Game 4 on the road both times.

``There's a lot of pressure on us,'' McKie said. ``It's important we get this win, because we know we're a good road team and we can win in their arena.''

The Lakers, however, haven't lost on the road in the postseason. At 6-0, Los Angeles is one victory shy of the record for consecutive road wins set by the Houston Rockets in 1995.

Also, the Lakers are 13-1 in the playoffs, and victories in the next two games would give them the best postseason winning percentage in NBA history. The 1982-83 76ers hold the record of .923 (12-1).

``I wouldn't put too much on that,'' forward Horace Grant said. ``We just want to win the game. We can't worry about being undefeated on the road. We just need to come out, stay focused, take care of this game and let history take care of itself.''

The Lakers, prohibitive favorites after sweeping through the playoffs, have had a tougher time than most expected against Philadelphia.

If the Sixers hadn't missed 10 free throws in the fourth quarter of Game 2 or hadn't left Robert Horry open to nail a 3-pointer in the closing minute of Game 3, Los Angles could be facing a 2-1 or 3-0 hole.

``Whether you win by 20 or you win by one, you win,'' Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal said. ``For example, if you had a Mercedes-Benz with the rims or without the rims, guess what? You still have a Benz. So it doesn't matter to me how we win as long as we get the job done.''

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