February 26, 1997 in Sports

Sonics Score Little, Cavs Less Seattle’s 72-66 Win A Near-Record In Futility

Associated Press
 

Gund Arena was filled with the loudest applause of the season.

The source: Terrell Brandon’s 3-pointer splashing into the net.

Didn’t the Cleveland fans realize that the game was almost over and their team wasn’t even close to scoring 70 points?

In one of the lowest-scoring games in modern NBA history, the Seattle SuperSonics set a season scoring-low but outscored Cleveland by 14 points at the free-throw line to beat the Cavaliers 72-66 Tuesday night.

The 138 combined points were the seventh fewest since the shot clock was introduced in the 1954-55 season. Ugly as it was, it still counted as Seattle’s seventh straight victory. So the Sonics could joke about it.

“A couple of times I looked in the stands and I was amazed people were still there,” said Hersey Hawkins, who had 10 of his team-high 16 points at the foul line.

Sixth on the league’s list of offensive ineptitude is Miami’s 71-66 victory over - here’s a shocker - Cleveland, on Feb. 1. The Cavs, the league’s top-rated defensive team, are notorious for hideous, low-scoring games.

Cleveland, which was 10 for 18 at the foul line, missed tying its franchise-low by one point.

“That was ugly basketball,” Seattle’s Detlef Schrempf said. “I don’t know how y’all stand it.”

“There’s no way I could play like this every night,” Hawkins agreed.

Seattle coach George Karl, who was Cleveland’s coach in the 1980s - the NBA’s good ‘ol days definitely felt like the clock had been turned back.

“I feel like we just won a regional high school tournament,” Karl said. “Hey, a three-point lead in this one was insurmountable.”

Gary Payton and the high-flying Sonics had to forget their fondness for the fast break for a night. Seattle, second in the league with 101 points per game, had only 11 shots in the first quarter. They made three and trailed 18-15.

The Sonics led 37-35 at halftime despite shooting 30 percent. They scored more points (38) in the third quarter against the Clippers earlier this season, and nearly twice as many (70) in the first half against Golden State.

“Teams know when they play against the Cavs, it’s going to be a hard fight,” said Brandon, whose 3-pointer with 2 minutes left capped a 12-2 run and gave Cleveland a 64-62 lead, to the delight of the home crowd of 18,725.

But Payton, Brandon’s good friend from their college days in Oregon, followed a 3-pointer by Sam Perkins with a nifty drive to give the Sonics a 67-64 lead with 92 seconds to play.

Hawkins and Schrempf then combined to hit 5 of 6 foul shots down the stretch. Hawkins finished with 16 points, and Perkins had 14.

Seattle shot 35 percent from the field and fell far short of its previous scoring low this season, 84 points against the Chicago Bulls. The Sonics’ franchise low is 65, set in 1990.

Payton and Shawn Kemp both had off nights. Payton was held to eight points on 2-of-12 shooting with one assist. Kemp shot 2 for 7 from the field for nine points.

The point guard matchup between Brandon and Payton never materialized. They didn’t guard each other for most of the game.

Brandon, who is in a shooting slump, had only one field goal in the first half and finished with 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting.

Bobby Phills led Cleveland with 15 points.

Notes

The Sonics placed guard-forward David Wingate on the injured list because of a strained muscle in his right thigh. Wingate missed two games because of his injury after averaging 2.8 points in 41 games this season. With Wingate unavailable, the Sonics activated guard Greg Graham off the injured list… . Brandon’s three-game slump included 11 points at Phoenix and a season-low four points on 1-of-10 shooting against Vancouver… . Cleveland’s Tyrone Hill asked to be taken out with 1:28 to go in the second quarter with what appeared to be a sore hamstring.

SuperSonics 72, Cavaliers 66

FG FT Reb SEATTLE Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Shrempf 37 3-10 5-6 2-8 4 2 11 Kemp 38 2-7 4-4 3-6 2 2 9 McIlvaine 15 1-3 0-2 4-5 0 2 2 Payton 38 2-12 3-4 1-5 1 2 8 Hawkins 41 3-10 10-10 2-7 3 3 16 Perkins 26 5-8 1-1 0-1 2 0 14 McMillan 20 2-3 1-2 0-2 4 1 6 Ehlo 17 1-3 0-0 2-4 1 1 2 Cummings 8 2-4 0-0 1-3 0 2 4 Totals 240 21-60 24-29 15-41 17 15 72 Percentages: FG .350, FT .828.

3-Point Goals: 6-19, .316 (Perkins 3-4, Kemp 1-1, McMillan 1-2, Payton 1-6, Schrempf 0-1, Ehlo 0-1, Hawkins 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 6.

Blocked shots: 4 (McIlvaine, Payton, Perkins, Ehlo).

Turnovers: 18 (Hawkins 5, Kemp 4, Schrempf 3, Perkins 2, McMillan 2, Payton, team).

Steals: 9 (Hawkins 3, Kemp 2, McMillan 2, Schrempf, Perkins).

Technical fouls: None.

Illegal defense: 1.

FG FT Reb CLEVELAND Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Mills 36 4-10 0-0 1-6 5 4 10 Ferry 41 2-7 0-0 1-5 1 4 4 Hill 34 4-4 5-10 2-5 2 5 13 Brandon 37 4-15 2-2 2-4 6 1 11 Phills 37 7-10 0-0 1-3 3 5 15 Potapenko 18 3-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 6 Sura 25 2-9 2-4 0-5 5 2 6 Lang 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Marshall 7 0-2 1-2 1-1 0 0 1 Totals 240 26-61 10-18 8-29 22 25 66 Percentages: FG .426, FT .556.

3-Point Goals: 4-14, .286 (Mills 2-4, Phills 1-2, Brandon 1-4, Sura 0-1, Marshall 0-1, Ferry 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 11.

Blocked shots: 4 (Sura 2, Phills, Brandon).

Turnovers: 17 (Hill 3, Phills 3, Potapenko 3, Mills 2, Ferry 2, Sura 2, Brandon, team).

Steals: 9 (Brandon 4, Marshall 2, Ferry, Phills, Sura).

Technical fouls: None.

Illegal defense: None.

Seattle 15 22 16 19 - 72

Cleveland 18 17 15 16 - 66

A-18,725 (20,562). T-2:13.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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