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LAKERS SHOOT THE LIGHTS OUT - LITERALLY

The playoff series looked dark for the Los Angeles Lakers when they lost the opener by 25 points to Seattle. Then a power surge that forced a 23-minute delay didn't stop them from holding on to beat the SuperSonics on Saturday.

The Lakers, held to a franchise-playoff low 71 points in the opening game, tied their first-round series with the favored Sonics at 1-1 with an 84-82 victory.The teams were left in the dark - too dark to play basketball - during the fourth-quarter delay when a power surge knocked out the Tacoma Dome's lights.

"That's an old trick," Lakers coach Del Harris said with a smile. "You get behind and the lights go out."

But it was the Sonics who shot like they were in the dark in the entire final quarter, when they missed 10 of 13 attempts. The power surge affected a five-block area around the Tacoma Dome.

"That's happened to me plenty of times in Europe," the Lakers' Vlade Divac said. "On purpose."

This delay wasn't on purpose. Tacoma city officials said the power surge was caused by lightning.

When the delay came, the Lakers were leading 81-73 with 4:11 to go. At that time, the Sonics were 1-for-12 in the period, the only basket coming on Nate McMillan's offensive rebound putback with 6:53 to go.

The Lakers scored only one basket after the lights went back on, a 3-pointer by Cedric Ceballos with 1:11 left for an 84-79 Los Angeles advantage. His sixth 3-pointer of the game turned out to be enough.

Lakers point guard Nick Van Exel, who played all 48 minutes, said he used the delay to catch his breath. But he couldn't speak for his teammates.

"It cost us a little momentum. But Cedric hit a great shot, a big shot, and that was the key for us," Van Exel said.

Sam Perkins cut the Lakers' lead to 84-82 with a 3-pointer with 1:01 left, but Detlef Schrempf and McMillan missed 3-point tries in the final 37 seconds. McMillan's miss came as time expired.

The Sonics wanted to get a conventional basket to tie the score, not a 3-pointer to win it.

"We were trying to get the ball in to Gary Payton on the box, but they pushed him off and we just had to play," McMillan said.

Shawn Kemp hit two free throws immediately after the delay, Perkins made a layup on a drive with 3:21 remaining and Schrempf sank two free throws with 2:51 left to bring Seattle to 81-79.

Ceballos, held to two points in the Sonics' 96-71 victory Thursday night, scored 25 points. Vlade Divac added 17 for the Lakers, who got 13 each from Elden Campbell and Van Exel.

For Seattle, Kemp had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Schrempf scored 19, but missed 10 of 14 shots and Payton added 16, but shot only 7-for-19. In the pivotal fourth quarter, Schrempf was 0-for-5.

The Sonics now face the prospect of being upset in their first-round playoff series for the second year in a row.