SHAQ sits out Lakers scrimmage

Sunday, June 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) _ Shaquille O'Neal sat out the Los Angeles Lakers' scrimmage on Saturday. Coach Phil Jackson, whose team is in the midst of a 10-day layoff until the NBA Finals begin, said he wasn't concerned.

``It was OK,'' Jackson said of the scrimmage at the team's training facility. ``Shaq didn't work today, he had some therapy due to some swelling in his ankle.''

O'Neal sprained his left ankle May 25 in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 111-72 victory over San Antonio in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, but had 26 points and 10 rebounds in a 111-82 triumph two days later to complete a sweep of the series.

``He ran well yesterday,'' Jackson said of O'Neal, who didn't speak with reporters Saturday, but said earlier in the week he'd be fine when the Finals start Wednesday night at Staples Center.

``It was pretty good,'' Derek Fisher said of Saturday's scrimmage. ``We're on a decent pace to continue to build on our way to Wednesday. We definitely were not playing at NBA Finals level, but we all played hard.

``We're tired of looking at each other.''

Fisher was a member of the Gold team, which won by one point after the Purple team rallied from a 15-point deficit.

An officiating crew worked the scrimmage.

``That was huge,'' Fisher said. ``Yesterday, we scrimmaged for a while, that was ridiculous, how hard the fouls were. The coaches don't call them.''

The Lakers will take Sunday off. Presumably, they'll watch Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals between Milwaukee and Philadelphia on Sunday night to find out who'll they'll play.

``When we come back Monday, there will be a lot for them to absorb,'' Jackson said of his players. ``The coaching staff and I will probably watch the game together.''

The Bucks were 2-0 against the Lakers this season; the 76ers 1-1. Of course, the current Lakers, who have won 19 straight games including 11 to begin the playoffs, barely resemble the team that played the Bucks on Dec. 12 and March 21, and Philadelphia on Dec. 5 and Feb. 14.

``With both of these teams, there's a certain sense how we will play, how difficult it's going to be, the different challenges they give us,'' Jackson said.