The Los Angeles Lakers, who have beaten Seattle in all three meetings this season, find some added incentive for games against the SuperSonics.
“Their trash talk really motivates us,” said the Lakers’ George Lynch, who scored 15 points and made an important three-point play late in Wednesday’s 102-96 victory over Seattle.
The last road loss for the SuperSonics, whose 10 consecutive wins away from home was a club record, was a 96-95 defeat by the Lakers at the Forum on Dec. 29.
Nick Van Exel, who had 19 points, said, “Since last season, there’s been a lot of trash talk and they’ve pretty much dominated us and didn’t give us any respect.
“This year, our guys are more focused. We’re tired of people getting on us.”
Eddie Jones also had 19 points for the Lakers.
Gary Payton led Seattle with 24 points, Shawn Kemp had 20 and Detlef Schrempf 17.
Los Angeles outscored Seattle 28-17 in the third quarter as the SuperSonics made just 5 of 25 shots from the field and trailed 87-72 going into the final period.
Although Seattle threatened in the fourth quarter, the Sonics never got closer than six points.
Kemp’s basket with 4:27 remaining pulled Seattle to 96-90. Lynch and Kemp exchanged free throws before Lynch put back Vlade Divac’s miss and was fouled by Kemp.
When Lynch made the free throw, the Lakers were back in command, up 100-91 with 2:35 left.
“We came out without our game face. How can we win when we’re not ready to play?” Payton said. “The Lakers always work us hard. We never punish their team. They got us on the boards and defense and just played harder than we did.”
Jones had 12 points in the first half to help Los Angeles build a 59-55 lead at the break.