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Wednesday, May 17, 2000

Eagles-Loboes back on  grid schedule

PECOS, May 17, 2000 -- The Pecos Eagles’ 2000 football schedule will start one week earlier in the past, have only one preseason scrimmage and will take a one week break before District 2-4A play begins for Pecos, with three of their five district games set for Eagle Stadium this fall.

Pecos’ schedule will include a return to regular season play against longtime rival Monahans, whom they’ve only scrimmaged for the past two seasons, while a team they haven’t faced at all for seven years, Carlsbad, will take Monahans’ place as the Eagles’ opening scrimmage opponent. The Eagles will host the Cavemen for a scrimmage on Aug. 19, then take a one-week break before opening their 2000 season at Walton Field in Kermit on Sept. 1, against the Yellowjackets.

The opener against Kermit replaces the game at Ratliff Stadium in Odessa against Denver City the Eagles have played the past two seasons. Denver City and Crane are off the pre-district schedule for Pecos, replaced by Presidio, at home on Sept. 22, and Monahans, whom the Eagles will close out pre-district play against on Sept. 29.

Pecos will then take a one-week break before opening 2-4A play against Clint on Oct. 13, which will also be the Eagles’ 2000 homecoming game. Their other two home games in district are Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 against Canutillo and El Paso Mountain View, while they’ll go to Fabens on Oct. 20 and close out regular season play at the same site the ended last season, San Elizario.

The Eagles lost there last season in a game that decided the District 2-4A championship. They advanced to the playoffs for the second year in a row but were beaten in the bi-district round by El Paso Ysleta. Clint was the other playoff qualifier out of 2-4A for the 1999 season.

Pecos’ junior varsity and freshmen teams have nine-game schedules for the 2000 season, after opening with scrimmages against Carlsbad. Both teams hos Kermit on Aug. 31 in their regular season openers, with the JV playing five of their nine games at home while the ninth graders get six of their nine games next season in Pecos.

Suns extinguished by Lakers' defense, 87-65

AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2000 - Kobe Bryant had to chuckle when asked if the Los Angeles Lakers played a statement game to finish off Phoenix in their Western Conference semifinal series.

"I think it's a statement to the City of Los Angeles to just relax," Bryant said after scoring 17 points Tuesday night in an 87-65 runaway victory that sent the Lakers into the conference finals against Portland. "You lose one game, it's not Armageddon."

The Trail Blazers and Lakers, who finished 1-2 in the NBA in regular-season wins with 67 and 59, respectively, open the conference finals Saturday at Staples Center, with Game 2 Monday night before the best-of-seven series shifts to Portland.

The Blazers advanced by eliminating Utah, also in five games.

Two days after probably their worst performance of the season, one which prompted veteran Ron Harper to question his team's resolve, the Lakers were in command all the way in snuffing out the Suns.

The 65 points Phoenix scored was its lowest total ever in a playoff game, and six points fewer than it put up in the first half of Sunday's 117-98 win that extended the series to a fifth game.

"You hate to have your worst game of the season in the last game of the season," Suns coach Scott Skiles said. "I feel bad for our guys, they gave me all they had. The Lakers weren't that good, we just couldn't make shots. We lost our composure in the second quarter."

It sure looked that way. The Suns were a beaten team by late in the period, and it showed in their body language after they continued to miss shot after shot, many unopposed.

The Lakers had two 10-0 runs in the quarter on their way to a 49-23 halftime lead. The 23 first-half points tied the playoff record for futility in a half set by Utah in the second half of a 96-54 loss to Chicago Bulls on June 7, 1998 in the NBA Finals. The 54 points are the playoff record low for a game.

The Suns also tied the playoff record for futility in a second quarter, when they scored nine points to the Lakers' 28. Phoenix shot 2-of-17 in the second quarter (11.8 percent), and 8-of-37 in the half (21.6 percent).

"This game's a mystery to me," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "The Suns can get 71 points in Sunday's game in a half, and then score (65) in a game. We'd have to say defense won the game."

A defense Harper had said was nonexistent in Phoenix. Harper also wondered about the Lakers' lack of a killer instinct.

"How's that for killer instinct? The fact of the matter is, we take care of business," Bryant said. "The killer instinct came out in a game we had to have."

Shaquille O'Neal had 15 points, 21 rebounds, three assists and three blocked shots for the Lakers despite sitting out the fourth quarter.

"Teamwise, we played an inspiring game," he said. "Personally, I didn't play that well, but my teammates stepped up for me. We played great defense and were real active with our hands. We came out and took it to them. We got a lead and never lost our focus."

Jackson didn't agree with O'Neal's assessment of his play. "I thought he was real dominant in the game," Jackson said. "I thought he changed shots, controlled the boards. He played with a little bit of a banged up knee, banged up shin." O'Neal was injured Sunday, and wore a sleeve on his lower right leg.

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