Lakers 100, Kings 99

Sunday, May 26th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Robert Horry and the Los Angeles Lakers seem determined to make their third championship run as cinematic as possible.

Horry hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer Sunday as the Lakers rallied from a 24-point deficit for a thrilling 100-99 victory over the Sacramento Kings, tying the Western Conference finals at two games apiece.

``I didn't look at the clock. I didn't even worry about that,'' Horry said. ``I just took my time to knock it down.''

Horry scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers willed themselves to an amazing victory in a game they desperately needed to keep their championship hopes alive. Horry hit the final shot, but an outstanding second half of defense kept the Kings from grabbing control of the series.

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

The Kings blew out Los Angeles in Game 3 Friday night, putting the two-time champions in desperate straits entering Game 4. Faced with the prospect of a 3-1 series deficit _ which the Lakers haven't rallied to overcome in 31 years _ Los Angeles got 27 points and 18 rebounds from Shaquille O'Neal.

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 Vlade Divac missed a free throw with 11.8 seconds left.

The victory came one day after the New Jersey Nets' unprecedented fourth-quarter playoff collapse against the Boston Celtics 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.

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. After Kobe Bryant hit a layup, O'Neal hit two free throws to make it 98-97 with 26.9 seconds left.

The Lakers fouled Divac with 11.8 seconds to play, and he made one of two. In the final seconds, Bryant missed a layup and O'Neal missed a tip-in, but Divac tipped the rebound out to Horry, who buried the wide-open shot from straightaway before being mobbed by his teammates.

As the confidence on his face showed, it wasn't Horry's first time as a postseason hero.

In Game 3 of the first round at Portland, he hit a decisive 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left. In Game 5 of 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.

It might be a crushing loss for the Kings, who had several opportunities to finish off the Lakers in the fourth quarter but couldn't complete their sixth straight road victory in the postseason.

Divac had 23 points, and Chris Webber had 20 for Sacramento, still playing without injured All-Star Peja Stojakovic.