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Lakers rookie guard David Rivers, with all of eight NBA playoff minutes to his credit prior to Sunday's Game 3 against the Detroit Pistons, had his chance to be a playoff hero when he got the ball behind the three-point line with six seconds to play and the Lakers behind by three. But his shot barely left his fingertips when it was blocked by the Pistons' Joe Dumars.

Rivers, from Notre Dame, stoically answered questions in the postgame locker room. With no alibis.Of the fateful play he said evenly, "I saw him (Dumars) coming. But I didn't think he was coming that fast."


DON'T MEET THE PRESS: After Sunday's 114-110 loss, Rivers was one of the few Lakers to hang around the locker room and face the media. Reserve guard Tony Campbell also patiently answered questions.

Otherwise, the Lakers players found sanctuary in the shower room or the training room - impersonating many of the Jazz players, who used such escape tactics increasingly this past season. James Worthy had his clothes delivered from the locker room, so he could make a clean escape.


CHESS MATCH: The Pistons' Isiah Thomas on the state of the series, which stands 3-0 in favor of Detroit: "We've captured two Bishops and a Queen. But it's still not checkmate."


SWEEP STATS: In NBA Finals history there have only been four 4-0 sweeps. They include: Boston over Minneapolis in 1959, Milwaukee over Baltimore in 1971, Golden State over Washington in 1975, and Philadelphia over the Lakers in 1983.

In that '83 Series, which featured Julius Erving's one and only NBA championship, the 76ers won the decisive fourth game in the Forum.

Since that game, the Lakers have been in four more NBA Finals, not counting the current one, and have won three of the four. In the NBA Final they lost, against the Celtics in 1984, they dropped the final game in the Boston Garden.


NO SOFTIE: Magic Johnson on his playing-hurt philosophy: "I'm no decoy. I'm not a guy who'll go in there for just a minute to charge the fans up. I'm going to go out to win. That's the only way I know how to play. I'm going hard. I'd rather do that than go out there and be a soft player and then get hurt."


IT ADDS UP: When Kareem Abdul-Jabbar finishes the 1989 playoffs, he will retire as the all-time playoff leader in years (17), field-goals made and attempted, games played, minutes played, fouls and blocked shots.

He will finish with at least 226 playoff games - the equivalent of nearly three full NBA regular seasons.


LITTLE-KNOWN FACT DEPT.: The Lakers were once owned by Detroit. In 1947, Ben Berger, a Minneapolis theater owner, and Morris Chalfen, the founder of the Holiday on Ice skating show, paid $15,000 to buy the defunct Detroit franchise in the old National Basketball League.

They resurrected the franchise in Minneapolis and named it the Lakers, after the state's reputed 10,000 lakes. Later, when the Basketball Association of America merged with the NBL to create the present-day National Basketball Association, the Lakers became an NBA franchise. In 1960, after winning four NBA championships in Minneapolis, they moved to Los Angeles.


IT'S ABOUT TIME: The Pistons originated with the advent of the NBA in 1947, but not originally in Detroit. The franchise began in Fort Wayne, Ind., where it stayed through 1957 before moving to Detroit.

The Pistons have yet to win an NBA title, although they have gone to the playoffs in 25 seasons. In those 25 postseason appearances, there have been 10 previous run-ins with the Lakers, either the Minneapolis or Los Angeles variety. The record in those 10 series: Lakers 9, Pistons 1.


RATINGS UP: CBS-TV's ratings for the NBA Finals are up for the third straight year. Through three games, CBS reported that the ratings were three percent higher than last season, and four percent higher than 1987, both record years.

CBS was also pleased to report that last Thursday's Game 2 outdrew ABC's Thursday Night baseball debut by nearly three-to-one.