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Sonics Hand Nuggets 7th Straight Loss

Less than two minutes into the game with Denver trailing Seattle 7-0 after a layup by Gary Payton, coach Bill Hanzlik called a timeout.

The Nuggets, who have the worst record in the NBA, are still trying. It's just not doing them any good in their quest to stay out of the record book.

"We don't want to set a record (for fewest wins)," Hanzlik said. "But we're shorthanded and we're playing a lot of young guys."

The SuperSonics got a season-high 15 points from Greg Anthony, including three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, to hand the hapless Nuggets their seventh straight defeat, 88-68 Sunday night.

Denver's 68 points was one more than its season low, a small victory on a night the Nuggets lost another game.

The Nuggets have 28 games left in their quest to avoid being worse than the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, who have the league's worst record in history at 9-73. Denver is 5-49, including 1-27 on the road.

"When you get drummed as often as we have, it's hard to build up much confidence," said Hanzlik, Denver's first-year coach.

Anthony, Payton's backup at point guard, helped keep the persistent Nuggets at bay in the fourth period. Payton led the Sonics with 17 points, and Anthony 10 of his 15 in the fourth.
Aaron Williams scored 15 points for the Sonics, 11 in the final quarter and six in the last 45 seconds.

Anthony gave Seattle a 70-55 lead with a 3-pointer with 7:56 to go, a 73-57 advantage with a 3-pointer with 7:15 left and a 76-61 lead on a 3-pointer with 5:43 left.

"We had wide-open shots," Anthony said. "But the most important thing is we got back to the kind of defense that we need to play."

Williams went down hard on his right elbow and right wrist when he collided with Denver's Bryant Stith going to the basket with 2:06 left in the third quarter. He got up and made two free throws.

"It was my momentum to the basket that caused the awkward fall," Williams said. "I'm going to take two Advil tonight. I should be OK tomorrow."

Anthony Goldwire had 18 points for Denver.

The Sonics were 8-for-27 on 3-point attempts, while Denver was 1-for-16. Goldwire made the Nuggets' only 3-pointer.

In a battle of the teams with the best and worst records in the league, the Sonics improved to 41-13.

Seattle won despite having one of its worst shooting games of the season, 37.7 percent (29-for-77).

Dale Ellis was 2-for-9 for Seattle, while Hersey Hawkins and Sam Perkins were 1-for-6 each. Payton was 6-for-15.

Jim McIlvaine tied his season high with 10 rebounds for the Sonics.

The Sonics extended their lead to 14 points at 48-34 and 50-36 early in the third quarter. But the Nuggets came back on a layup by Johnny Newman, a fastbreak layup by Goldwire and a 20-footer by Stith to cut their deficit to 56-49 with 2:19 left in the period.

In the final 30.4 seconds of the first half, Ellis and Hawkins connected on 3-pointers to give Seattla 42-30 lead. Until those shots, the Sonics were 4-for-16 shooting in the period.

Seattle opened the game with a 9-0 spurt and led 22-15 at the end of the opening quarter as the Nuggets shot 6-for-20.

Notes: Detlef Schrempf of the Sonics missed his third straight game because of a sore neck. He also will not play against the Clippers in Los Angeles Monday night. ... Seattle improved to 3-0 against Denver this season. The Sonics beat the Nuggets for the seventh time in a row and for the 10th consecutive time in Seattle. The Sonics have now won 13 of their last 14 against Denver and 19 of their last 20 against the Nuggets in Seattle. ... The Sonics improved to 4-3 after the All-Star break. They lost at home to Boston Friday night. ... Nate McMillan played eight minutes in the first half in his second game of the season for Seattle. ... Denver had an opponent-low 30 points in the first half.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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