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Payton, Sonics Slide By Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers provided the antidote for the struggling Seattle SuperSonics.

Led by Gary Payton's 26 points, 11 assists and eight steals, the Sonics scored the game's final seven points for a 104-98 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Detlef Schrempf had a season-high 25 points and Dale Ellis added 20, including the game-winning basket with 1:07 left.

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  • "This was a game we really needed," Sonics coach Paul Westphal said. "It's probably as big a game as we have had."

    After starting the season with six straight victories, the Sonics have gone 8-12. They have lost three of their last five games with all the defeats coming to teams with losing records.

    The Sonics hope the victory will give them a lift as they start a five-game road trip Sunday in Detroit. They play back-to-back games against Dallas and San Antonio.

    The Sonics may have been looking ahead to their road trip, but the Clippers had the upper hand most of the game. There were 21 lead changes and 17 ties.

    "You hate to go on the road with a losing streak," Hersey Hawkins said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to springboard on this one."

    Darrick Martin's 3-point shot gave the Clippers a 98-97 lead with 2:28 left, but Los Angeles had two turnovers and missed three shots the rest of the way.

    "There's nothing good about moral victories," Martin said. "We need to make plays down the stretch."

    Ellis scored nine of his points in the fourth period. Though the Sonics were 6-for-14 from the field in the fourth quarter, they were 9-for-9 from the free throw line.

    Michael Olowokandi had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers. Four other Clippers scored in double figures.

    Los Angeles had 21 turnovers that the Sonics converted into 30 points.

    Clippers coach Chris Ford was pleased with his teams effort.

    "We're playing hard-nosed basketball, but we can't seem to get a break," he said.

    Payton had eight steals, which equaled a career-high and allowed the Sonics to rally.

    Los Angeles had the ball and a 98-97 lead when Schrempf stole the ball from Maurice Taylor with 1:18 left. That turnover set up Ellis' go-ahead shot on a feed from Payton.

    The Clippers threw the ball away on the inbounds pass which resulted in a jump. Payton controlled the tip and Olden Polynice made an 18-foot shot as the shot clock sounded for a 102-98 Sonics lead with 38.4 seconds left.

    Lamond Murray's 3-point shot gave the Clippers a 92-88 lead with 5:50 left, but the Clippers (2-24) crumbled down the stretch.

    Hawkins 3-point shot with 4.4 seconds left in the third period gave Seattle an 81-78.

    The Clippers played like they were intent on winning their second straight road game. They beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 100-85 at Target Center on March 21.

    Two free throws by Murray and a basket by Martin gave the Clippers a 72-68 lead with 4:30 left in the third period.

    Los Angeles led 54-53 at halftime. Notes: Jelani McCoy, a rookie from UCLA, was activated and played six minutes in the first half. ...Another former UCLA player, Don MacLean, was placed on the injured list with a sore back. ...The Clippers shot 51 percent but still came up short against the Sonics. ...Payton now has 10,995 career points.

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