The Seattle SuperSonics have been plagued by slow starts this season. That wasn't a problem Monday night, though.
Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf each scored 20 points for the SuperSonics, who bolted to a big early lead and then coasted to a 109-101 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
"The way we've been playing, there's no easy game," said Schrempf, who was 7-of-10 from the field and made both of his 3-point attempts. "Our goal was not to have a slow start, to set an aggressive tone early. We've been getting behind by 10 and it's an uphill battle. We're learning that we can't just turn it on and turn it off."
The Sonics raced to a 15-4 lead, making seven of their first 10 shots while the Mavericks were going 2-for-14 from the field.
"We knew we had to come out with energy, and I thought all the starters did, especially Billy Owens," Seattle coach Paul Westphal said. "It got us out to a nice start."
Billy Owens added 15 points, John Crotty 11 and Dale Ellis 10 for the SuperSonics, who had dropped two of their previous three and four of six.
"That's the first time in a long time that we've actually been in control of a game," Schrempf said. "The way things have been going for us, we sure didn't want the game to go down to the final few minutes."
Gary Trent's 20 points and nine rebounds paced the Mavericks, who lost their fourth in a row.
Erick Strickland had 17 points and Michael Finley 13 for Dallas. The Mavericks, losers of seven of their past eight, got 12 points from Shawn Bradley, 11 from rookie Dirk Nowitzki and 10 each from Hubert Davis and Samaki Walker.
Mavericks starters were 18-for-53 from the field.
"This was not a good effort by our team," coach Don Nelson said. "I really thought we'd be ready to play. This was what I considered to be a winnabe game for us, and they (the Sonics) approached this as a much needed win."
Dallas made a late rally after trailing by 21 points early in the fourth quarter and got as close as 102-94 with 34.9 seconds left on Nowitzki's three-point play. But the Mavericks couldn't get any closer.
Trent scored 16 of Dallas' first 34 points, but he got little help as the Mavericks trailed at halftime 50-42.
Schrempf scored eight of Seattle's last 19 points of the third quarter and the Sonics took a 77-57 advantage into the final quarter.
Owens had nine points in the quarter, while Payton and Schrempf had eight apiece. The Mavericks missed 16 of 20 shots in the third period. Notes: Seattle completes a three-games-in-three-nights grind Tuesday at San Antonio. ... Seattle's Olden Polynice made only 3 of 10 free throws in the first half. ...Walker had a season-high 13 rebounds. ... Before the game, the Mavs announced the signing of 1998 second-round pick Bruno Sundov. The 7-foot-3 center, a native of Croatia, was immediately placed on the injured list while he rehabs from a wrist injury. Dallas also activated guard Robert Pack even though Pack will miss several weeks with a hamstring injury. ... Dallas backup center Hot Rod Williams missed the game with a stomach flu.
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