Sonics Top Grizzlies

Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King drives his dog team along the trail near the halfway checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Cripple, Alaska, on Thursday, March 9, 2006. Cripple is an unpopulated tent checkpoint on the Innoko River. King was leading the 1,100-mile race.
AP Photo/Al Grillo

Gary Payton hit a lot of big shots down down the stretch, then credited Vin Baker with making the biggest play of the fourth quarter.

Payton helped the Seattle SuperSonics rally from a 10-point deficit in the final 1:39 Thursday night for a 110-108 victory over the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Payton scored seven points as the Sonics closed the game with a 14-2 run. He finished with 24 points.

The Sonics overcame their own frustrations after Baker was ejected on a double-technical foul four minutes into the fourth quarter. After Baker, who had to be restrained by Vernon Maxwell, left the court, Brent Price hit both free throws as the Grizzlies opened up a 95-81 lead.

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  • Payton said Baker's eruption sparked the Sonics.

    "Vin did a great job by being ejected and getting us motivated to come back and try to play basketball," Payton said. "Vin stepped up. We weren't getting the calls, things were going bad for us at the time. He stepped up and took the techs for everybody, because I sure was about to get one."

    Seattle trailed 106-96 before coming back. Maxwell put the Sonics ahead for good by hitting a 3-point basket with 5.2 seconds left. The basket was set up when Horace Grant picked off Shareef Abdur-Rahim's inbounds pass.

    The Grizzlies' last hope ended when Abdur-Rahim was called for an offensive foul with 2.3 seconds left. Payton sealed the victory by making a pair of free throws.

    Maxwell, who sparked the run with a 3-point basket, finished with 27 points while coming off the bench as the Sonics improved to 8-2.

    Abdur-Rahim recorded his eighth straigh double-double, finishing with 31 points and 14 rebounds.

    "Everything we could've done wrong, we did wrong," Grizzlies general manager Stu Jackson shouted, pounding a metal garage door at GM Place.

    Added center Bryant Reeves: "It's not one anybody wants to talk about. I don't necessarily think that it's one anyone necessarily knows how to talk about. Everybody's pretty much at a loss for words."

    The Sonics, on the other hand, didn't know what happened.

    As coach Paul Westphal put it: "Don't ask me to even try to explain that one, just enjoy it."

    Othella Harrington had a career-high 25 points for the Grizzlies (3-5), who have never been at .500 or better after six games into a season.

    The Sonics had a terrible second quarter, going 7-for-23 from the field, including a 6:07 stretch in which they failed to hit a field goal. Down 42-36, the Grizzlies took advantage, going on a 13-0 run to take the lead.


  • After hitting 44 or more field goals six times prior to this season, the Grizzlies have done it in three of their last five games.
  • The Sonics opened last season 7-2 before losing seven of their next nine and finished the season 25-25 and out of the playoffs.
  • Grant scored 12 points, moving to within 25 points of the 11,000-point plateau.

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