Payton Leads Sonics By Cavs


Small electrical impulses kept Gary Payton's back loose and helped the Sonics avoid getting shocked by the Cavs.

Payton, playing with a stimulator taped to his waistband in the second half to help ease back spasms, had 27 points and nine assists Thursday night, leading Seattle to a 109-103 victory over Cleveland.

"My back was acting up," Payton said. "I was hurting, but whatever."

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  • Payton was late coming out on the floor for the third quarter while the device was put in place. Once the All-Star guard returned, it wasn't long before he and his teammates were feeling much better.

    "He was really hurting," teammate Ruben Patterson said, "but he did a heck of a job helping us get this win."

    Vin Baker added 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Sonics, who outscored the Cavs 29-13 in the third quarter and then hung on.

    Payton scored 12 points in the third and hit a key jumper in the final three minutes for Seattle, which had its 14-point lead in the second half trimmed to three with 2:58 left.

    Horace Grant had 10 rebounds and Patterson, a Cleveland native, added 10 points.

    Shawn Kemp led Cleveland with 22 points despite 8-of-23 shooting and Andrew DeClercq had a career-high 19 points.

    The Cavs had won 27 straight games when scoring over 100 points, but couldn't catch the Sonics down the stretch because of some costly turnovers and poor shot selection.

    "It was just one of those nights. The jump shot wasn't falling," said Kemp, whose jumper from the top of the key barely caught the backboard with Cleveland trailing by four in the final two minutes. "That shot has been all net this year, tonight it was all air."

    The Cavs were playing for the first time in four days, and eren't sharp at either end of the floor.

    "We just came out too soft, no energy and lackadaisical," coach Randy Wittman said.

    Brent Barry had four 3-pointers and added 17 points for Seattle, which has won nine straight over Cleveland, including the last five at Gund Arena.

    Trailing by 10 points, the Cavs pulled within 96-93 with 3:40 left when Danny Ferry grabbed a loose ball and dropped a 12-foot baseline jumper.

    Barry's 3-pointer from the right side put the Sonics back up by six before Bob Sura's 3 on Cleveland's next trip closed it to 99-96 with 2:58 remaining.

    Payton made the biggest basket of the game with 2:37 left by knocking down a 17-footer near the foul line.

    After rookie Andre Miller's free throw made it 101-97, Grant hit a jumper with one second left on the 24-second clock and Barry made a foul shot when Kemp committed a technical foul.

    With Payton still being treated in the locker room at half, Shammond Williams started in his place in the third quarter. Once Payton checked in, he scored six straight points in a 9-0 run as Seattle took control.

    "He's a tough guy," Seattle coach Paul Westphal said. "It was hurting him. I'm just amazed at what Gary can get done when he's in so much pain."

    Barry's 3-pointer capped the spurt to give Seattle a 70-63 lead. After the Cavs closed within three, the Sonics went on an 11-0 run to push the lead to 83-67.

    The Sonics opened a 36-28 lead after one quarter, making 6-of-8 3-pointers in the period.

    Cleveland's bench, just like it has in the first four games this season, brought the Cavs back. When rookie Trajan Langdon made his second 3-pointer of the second quarter, Cleveland had tied it at 48-all with 4:50 left.

    DeClercq, who finished with 16 points on 7-for-11 shooting in the first half, scored Cleveland's next five points as the Cavs took a 60-56 lead at the break.

    Notes

  • Sonics guard Vernon Maxwell spent portions of the game talking trash with several members of the Cleveland Browns sitting courtside.
  • Cleveland hadn't lost when scoring 100 points since April 11, 1997, a 103-101 OT loss at Boston.
  • The teams did not play during the strike-shortened '98-99 season.
  • Before the game the Sonics activated forward Lazaro Borrell from the injured list and placed forward Fred Vinson on the injured list with tendinitis in his left knee.
  • Cavs forward Lamond Murray, on the injured list with a strained left knee, is expected to be activated in the next week.

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