Shaq heeds Russell's call for peace; Lakers hold on for win

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Shaquille O'Neal got the word from Hall of

Famer Bill Russell to make peace with Kobe Bryant, just as Russell

once did with Wilt Chamberlain.

O'Neal followed Russell's advice.

Bryant then went out and scored 12 of his 37 points in the last

8½ minutes to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 100-92 victory over

O'Neal and the Miami Heat on Monday night.

Bryant said O'Neal first approached him while he was stretching

before the game and congratulated him on the birth of his daughter

and the impending birth of a second child.

"It made me feel good," Bryant said, adding he was surprised

at O'Neal's gesture. "We've been through so many wars together.

Now, just be able to move on, try to do the best for this team,

wish him the best in South Beach.

"I think it's good for the city of Los Angeles, good for the

NBA, good for the youth, being Martin Luther King Day."

After the initial contact, the longtime protagonists shook

hands, embraced briefly and exchanged a few words at center court

when the team captains and game officials met before the game. They

exchanged another hug before the opening tipoff as the fans at

the Staples Center voiced their approval.

"I had orders from the great Bill Russell," O'Neal said. "Me

and him were talking in Seattle the other day, and he was telling

me how rivalries should be. I asked him if he ever disliked anybody

he played against, and he told me, 'No, never,' and he told that I

should shake Kobe Bryant's hand and let bygones be bygones and bury

the hatchet.

"Today is a day of peace. Dr. Martin Luther King was an

ambassador of peace. So when I talked to Mr. Russell, he told me he

said that him and Chamberlain spoke once or twice a week before he

passed away. And even though people thought they hated each other,

there was nothing but love there."

Lamar Odom had 19 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the

Lakers (21-17), who won for the sixth time in seven games. Devean

George added 17 points and Chris Mihm had 10 points and six

rebounds before fouling out.

Dwyane Wade had 34 points and seven assists for Miami (23-16),

which had its four-game winning streak snapped. O'Neal had 18

points and 10 rebounds, Udonis Haslem had 13 points and 12 rebounds

before fouling out, and James Posey scored 11 points for the Heat.

The game was the fourth between the teams since the Lakers

traded O'Neal to Miami in July 2004. The Heat won the previous

three, including a 97-92 triumph on Christmas Day in Miami. O'Neal

and Bryant didn't acknowledge each other before or during that


The two spent eight tumultuous seasons with the Lakers, teaming

with current Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson to win three

championships. Jackson left the team a month before O'Neal did and

took last season off before being rehired in June.

The game also marked the return of Pat Riley to Los Angeles for

the first time since he returned as coach of the Heat last month.

Riley coached the Lakers to four championships in the 1980s.

Bryant made two free throws with 4:10 remaining to extend the

Lakers' lead to 90-81. But O'Neal scored the game's next five

points to draw the Heat within four points with 2:36 to play.

Miami cut it to three points on a basket by Wade with 1:56 left,

but that was as close as the Heat would get. Bryant and Wade

exchanged baskets before George made two free throws with 49.6

seconds remaining.

Odom's baseline jumper with 19.2 seconds to play as the shot

clock was running down and two free throws by George completed the


"This is definitely a win we can build off of," said Odom, who

came to the Lakers in the O'Neal trade. "That is a quality team.

We just have to keep it up and put games away."

O'Neal picked up his fourth foul with 7½ minutes left in the

third period, going to the bench with the Lakers leading 69-53.

Then, led by Wade and Haslem, the Heat went on a 22-10 run to

finish the third quarter and start the fourth, cutting the Lakers'

lead to four at 79-75.

Bryant returned to the game at that stage, and made two jumpers

and two free throws after being fouled by O'Neal to put the Lakers

ahead 85-77 with 6:48 to play.

The Lakers led 57-42 at halftime and by as many as 19 points

early in the third quarter.Game notes
The game completed a season-long seven-game road trip for

the Heat that began with a 15-point loss to New Orleans at Oklahoma

City. "The beginning was a disaster, an absolute disaster," Riley

said. After another one-sided loss at Phoenix, the Heat turned it

around, beating Portland, Golden State, Seattle and Utah by an

average of 16½ points. ... There were no apparent problems between

Odom and Miami's Gary Payton, who had to be separated following

last month's game in Miami after exchanging angry words. ... Lakers

F Brian Cook picked up two technical fouls in the third quarter,

calling for automatic ejection. He left with four points and four

personal fouls in 10 minutes. ... Riley also received a technical

in the third period. ... O'Neal and 18-year-old Lakers rookie

Andrew Bynum dunked on each other late in the first half before

exchanging elbows, resulting in a double-technical. Bryant quickly

got between the two.