EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar remembers the first time the Los Angeles Lakers opened the playoffs with 11 straight wins -- they were swept in the NBA Finals by the Detroit Pistons.
Twelve years later, the current Lakers have become the second team to accomplish such a feat. Abdul-Jabbar looks for a different ending this time.
"They turned it up at the right time," the NBA's all-time leading scorer said this week. "Now, they're set to make their mark in the record books. I think they have a good shot at it."
Should the Lakers sweep the Finals, which begin Wednesday night at Staples Center, they'll become the first team to go through the postseason with a perfect record.
"We swept through the playoffs, only trouble is, we got swept in the Finals," Adbul-Jabbar recalled. "I'm sorry we didn't have a chance to be at our best and compete with the Pistons."
The day before the Finals began, starter Byron Scott injured his left hamstring in a rebounding drill. That took his 20 points per game out of the lineup.
Then, in the third quarter of Game 2, Magic Johnson, considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, suffered the same injury.
No Magic, no Scott, no rings.
Abdul-Jabbar admitted he wondered if Pat Riley's coaching strategy might have had an effect. After sweeping Portland, Seattle and Phoenix, the Lakers had time on their hands, just like this year's team.
So the two-time defending champions traveled some 100 miles north to Santa Barbara to practice, something they had done before.
Longtime Lakers announcer Chick Hearn referred to the trip this week as "a little boot camp."
"Whether it was too hard or not, he gets the blame," Hearn said of Riley. "If they win the championship, he gets the credit."
Abdul-Jabbar said Hearn raised a valid question.
"Technically, Pat has to take the blame, he had the reins," Abdul-Jabbar said. "He's not responsible for the guys getting hurt, but is it possible that he trained us past the point where guys could make it through the playoffs without getting hurt?
"I'm not throwing stones at Pat, he had to call it as he saw it."
Two assistant coaches from that 1989 team, Bill Bertka and Randy Pfund, quickly came to Riley's defense.
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