Sonics Quiet The Jazz

Gary Payton and the Seattle SuperSonics served notice Saturday night that they may surprise some teams this season.

Payton scored 22 points and Ruben Patterson added 21 as Seattle overcame a 17-point second-half deficit to beat the Utah Jazz 99-94.

"Beating a team like this shows a lot of character," Payton said. "This keeps the momentum going into the road trip."

The Sonics begin a five-game road trip Monday in Philadelphia.

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Game Summary

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  • Karl Malone scored 31 points to become the fourth NBA player to score more than 29,000 points. He now has 29,012 in his career, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), and Michael Jordan (29,277).

    Bryon Russell scored 20 points off the bench for the Jazz.

    Vin Baker added 20 points and Vernon Maxwell finished with 18 points, 11 in the second half. Baker, who scored eight points in the final quarter, said he has a better feeling about this year's team even though the Sonics started 6-0 last season.

    "I'm feeling better individually, and we are more poised as a team," he said.

    Utah led 61-44 early in the third quarter, but the Sonics outscored the Jazz 30-10 to take a three-point lead entering the fourth.

    With the Sonics up 95-94, Payton hit a turnaround jumper over Malone in the key to give Seattle a three-point lead with 1:05 left. Utah turned the ball over on two of their last three possessions as the Sonics remained unbeaten in three games.

    The Jazz led 81-80 in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter. Two free throws by Payton and a driving layup by Maxwell put the Sonic up 84-81 and they led the rest of the way.

    Jazz coach Jerry Sloan was frustrated with his team's defensive performance. He lauded the performance of Malone in becoming the fourth player to surpass 29,000 points.

    "Karl has a tremendous ability to prepare himself for games and his work ethic is incredible," Sloan said. "His work in the offseason has made him a great scorer."

    Malone couldn't do it all. The Jazz led 61-44 with 10:18 left in the third period which marked the beginning of the Sonics' comeback.

    Payton had eight points in a 12-0 run that cut the deficit to 61-56.

    Patterson's 26-foot 3-pointer put the Sonics up 66-65 with 2:42 left in the third period.

    Malone scored his 29,000th point on a layup with 1:09 left in the third period that tied the game at 69.

    Maxwell's 3-pointer broke a 71-71 tie.

    Utah led 42-41 but closed the first half with a 14-3 burst for a 56-44 halftime lead. Russell led the Jazz with 16 points in the opening half.

    The Sonics led 13-2 and 17-6 in the first period. After inserting Russell into the lineup, the Jazz outscored the Sonics 20-6 for a 26-23 lead after one quarter.


  • Patterson's 3-pointer was the second of his career.
  • Olden Polynice of Utah played with the Sonics last season. He had 11 rebounds in his first game back in Seattle.
  • Utah's Greg Ostertag left the game in the second quarter with a strained ligament in his right knee. He did not return.

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