Shaquille O'Neal scored 43 points and pulled down 19 rebounds in Los Angeles, Wednesday, powering the Los Angeles Lakers past the Indiana Pacers 104-87 in the opening game of the best-of-seven series of the NBA finals.
"I just got the ball in deep position and took high-percentage shots," O'Neal told the AP. "If those shots are falling, we're going to be a tough team to beat."
"It seemed like every time we got it close, Shaq took over the game. He's so powerful. He jumped so high he went over us and put the ball in. He took over the game," Indiana coach Larry Bird said.
O'Neal, who also supplied four assists and blocked three shots, took advantage of one-on-one coverage for 15 points in the first quarter. By the time the Pacers began double-teaming him, it was both far too little and too late.
"Shaq told me before the game he was going to get deep position all night long," Laker guard Kobe Bryant said.
Reggie Miller made only 1-of-16 shots from the field and scored only seven points, a career playoff low and one of the all-time worst finals shooting efforts. The series continues in LA, Friday - (Several Sources)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)