In the Seattle SuperSonics' 193-game playoff history, they were never more inept offensively.
Of course, the Los Angeles Lakers' defense had a lot to do with that. In 522 postseason games, no Lakers team was better defensively."Defense gets you something," Lakers coach Del Harris said after his team evened the Western Conference semifinal at 1-1 with a 92-68 victory over the Sonics on Wednesday night.
Kobe Bryant of the Lakers missed the game because of the flu. The Sonics' offense looked sicker.
"We just basically missed our shots," Seattle's Vin Baker said. Fifty-one of them to be exact, including 38 in the last three quarters.
Detlef Schrempf and Dale Ellis were a combined 0-for-12 for the Sonics. Seattle's Gary Payton looked like anything but an All-Star point guard, shooting 6-for-17.
"They became a defensive team tonight," Sonics coach George Karl said. "And we just played a bad basketball game."
Karl might be rethinking his psychology that he tried on the Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal, too. Before the series started, attempting to get under the big center's skin, he claimed O'Neal flailed his elbows too high and traveled in the paint.
After Monday night's Game 1 loss for the Lakers, O'Neal responded with 26 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. By halftime, he had 20 points and the Lakers led 44-37.
By splitting the first two games of the series, the Lakers now have the homecourt advantage. Games 3 and 4 will be played in Inglewood on Friday night and Sunday, with Game 5 scheduled in Seattle next Tuesday.
There might not be any Game 6. Not after the way the Lakers looked in Game 2.
"Hopefully, it's going to get better," said Eddie Jones, who scored a career playoff-high 23 points and more than took up the slack for the absent Bryant, the Lakers' 19-year-old All-Star.
The Lakers' defense was terrific. O'Neal's offense was just was impressive. The Sonics didn't have any answers. They even attempted to stop the 7-foot-1, 315-pound star with 6-7 Jerome Kersey.
O'Neal, shooting 43 percent from the free-throw line in his previous five playoff games after hitting 53 percent during the regular season, was 6-for-6 from the line on Wednesday.
"I always shoot perfect from the line," O'Neal said. "They just don't always go in."
"He's just a terrific player," said Vin Baker, one of the Sonics who attempted to stop O'Neal.
O'Neal called Karl "a woman coach" and "a crybaby" after Game 1, a 106-92 Seattle victory on Monday night. After Game 2, he wasn't in a name-calling mood.
Karl good naturedly brought an apron to Wednesday night's game - in response to O'Neal's comments. He displayed it to the press in his dressing room before the game, but he declined to wear it.
"I figure I'm going to get 25 and 10 every night," O'Neal said. "I got mine early. My guys responded well."
Particularly on defense, holding the Sonics to 13-for-51 shooting in the final three quarters after the Sonics led by seven points in the first quarter.
Nick Van Exel had 16 points for the Lakers, who shot 7-for-19 from 3-point range to Seattle's 4-for-16. The Sonics led the NBA in 3-point shooting during the regular season.
Harris made several defensive adjustments after Game 1. He put the 6-6 Jones on the 6-4 Payton, assigned O'Neal to Baker, put special emphasis on stopping Hersey Hawkins and didn't double much.
Baker had 13 points and Sam Perkins and Payton 12 each for Seattle, which was held to a franchise-low postseason scoring output. The previous low was 70 in a 21-point loss to Houston in 1982. The Sonics did come back to win that series.