Sonics Cruise Past Pacers

The SuperSonics brought Horace Grant to Seattle for his rebounding and interior defense. Grant did even more Sunday night.

Grant had 23 points and 11 rebounds as Seattle remained undefeated at home with a 102-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

"The top of the key is my money shot," Grant said. "I had to learn how to shoot the ball when I was in Orlando with Shaq and teams double-teamed him a lot.

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  • The Sonics' starting center was 10-for-17 from the field and victimized some of the Pacers bigger players on the pick and roll.

    "We figured Horace (Grant) would be open a lot if we set screens because some of their bigger players don't have good speed, (Rik) Smits has a hard time covering the pick and roll," Sonics coach Paul Westphal said.

    Gary Payton scored 31 points and added eight assists and eight rebounds as the Sonics beat the Pacers for the third straight time. Indiana shot a season-low 35 percent on 32-for-91.

    The Sonics, who are 6-0 at home, opened the third quarter with a 19-6 burst and were up 85-65 after three.

    "When we get up 20 or more points, we have to step on teams and make sure we don't let them get back into the game," Grant said.

    Reggie Miller, the Pacers leading scorer, missed his first eight shots before he converted a four-point play with 1:54 left in the third quarter. Miller finished with six points in 24 minutes.

    The Pacers lost for the fifth time in seven games. Pacers coach Larry Bird was frustrated with the lethargic play of his starting unit and played his reserves most of the fourth quarter.

    "We aren't playing like we should with the first group," Bird said. "We're going to play our young guys if our veterans don't come out and give us a better effort."

    Dale Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds, Chris Mullin added 12 points and Austin Croshere had 10 for the Pacers, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.

    "There are games when you miss shots, but we are missing that digging in, that extra effort on defense," Davis said. "If we don't get it, we're going to lose."

    The Pacers went on a 10-0 run early in the fourth quarter to trim Seattle's lead to 11.

    Ruben Patterson hit a baseline jump shot with 5:39 left to end Seattle's drought and make it 90-77.

    The Sonics opened the third quarter with a 19-6 run over the first 5:01 of the period with Grant scoring eight points.

    Payton carried the Sonics with 20 points in the first half for a 54-42 halftime edge.


  • Vernon Maxwell, Seattle's second-leading scorer at 18.2 per game, played eight minutes in the first half, got three quick fouls and did not play the rest of the way because of tendinitis in his right knee. He will play against the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.
  • Shammond Williams played for the first time since Nov. 8 when he replaced Maxwell who got three fouls in the second quarter.
  • Miller continues to be in a horrible shooting slump. Over the last nine games, he is averaging 13.1 points per game and is 34-for-109 from the field.

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