Gary Payton didn't seem to care that the weary Seattle SuperSonics were able to snap a five-game losing streak Thursday night, their longest in eight seasons, by beating the Chicago Bulls 92-83.
"This win doesn't mean nothing," said Payton, who scored 25 points for the Sonics, playing their third game in as many nights.
"We're 10-9. We're not 20-6 or 20-10. Just because we get a win doesn't mean anything. The losing streak didn't frustrate me, because I'm going to come out and play the same way every night. "
"I don't know about everyone else, but I don't have down stretches," Payton said.
Payton didn't seem concerned either that the Sonics didn't make any deals before the trade deadline, despite their disappointing start to this shortened season.
"Don't ask me about personnel, that's not my job. What they do is what they do. I'm not (general manager) Wally Walker or (coach) Paul Westphal. I just play for them," he said.
With Seattle going through its longest win drought since the 1990-91 season, Payton hit a key jumper with 2:13 left to give the Sonics a three-point lead.
The Bulls, as they have throughout this lockout-scarred season, couldn't connect down the stretch as Randy Brown and Mark Bryant missed shots.
Payton then hit a 3-pointer with 44 seconds remaining, sending Chicago to its fourth loss in the last five games. The Bulls, who also didn't make a deal despite their 5-14 record, managed just one point in the final 2:27.
"I am not disappointed we didn't make a move," first-year coach Tim Floyd said. "That is an indication the other team did not have what we were looking for, or we didn't have the assets they wanted. For whatever reason, nothing happened. And it's not the fault of anybody."
Payton and struggling Vin Baker, who finished with 18 points, scoed eight apiece in the final quarter. Detlef Schrempf, who sank three free throws in the final half-minute, had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Toni Kukoc scored 28 points for the Bulls, only seven in the second half.
Kukoc hit his first four shots and finished the first half 9-of-13 for 21 points. The Bulls took a 52-49 lead on Cory Carr's late 3-pointer.
Baker's three-point play highlighted an 18-7 run opening the second half and the Sonics built an eight-point lead, one the Bulls cut to three after three quarters. Notes: The victory was just Seattle's second in its last 15 games at Chicago. ... Payton has started 200 straight games, the longest current streak in the NBA. ... Hall of Famer Rick Barry attended the game, watching sons Brent of the Bulls and Drew of the Sonics. Brent had the move of the game. He grabbed an offensive rebound, placed the ball between his legs while throwing up both arms to fake and then fed Bryant for a layup and a three-point play. He also fouled out after shooting 4-of-11.
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