If you can’t beat somebody good from the West, the next best thing is to beat somebody good from the East.
The Seattle SuperSonics, who are 0-5 against the teams with the three best records in the West, used four 3-pointers by Sam Perkins in the fourth quarter to beat the Miami Heat 94-85 Tuesday night.
It was Seattle’s best win since the Sonics defeated the Knicks in New York on Nov. 24.
“This one helps our confidence,” said Perkins, who scored 13 of his 18 points in the final period. “We haven’t won a key game against a top team since I don’t remember when.”
Gary Payton scored 30 points, the third time this season that he’s had 30 or more, as the Sonics beat a division leader for the first time this season.
“It felt good because we haven’t been a good team in a month or so,” Payton said. “When you play a team like Miami, you know if you’re not intense for a whole 48 minutes, you’re going to lose.”
The Sonics improved to 16-3 over Miami, including 10-0 at Seattle.
Tim Hardaway led the Heat, who lost their second consecutive game on a West Coast road trip after winning 14 in a row on the road, with 28 points. Alonzo Mourning, who fouled out with 1:38 to go, had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
“I thought we played hard, but ‘Sudden Sam’ stepped up and hit some big 3s,” Miami coach Pat Riley said.
Payton and Hardaway dueled the entire game. Payton hit 10 of 21 shots from the floor and had nine assists. Hardaway was 9 for 21 with three assists. Payton didn’t have a turnover in 44 minutes. Hardaway had five turnovers in 36 minutes.
“Tim’s game is back where it was,” Payton said.
“It felt like old times,” Hardaway said. “But you don’t look at the final stat line. The winner of the duel goes to the winner of the game.”
The Sonics scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter to take a 75-65 lead. Hardaway’s second 3-pointer of the final period cut Seattle’s lead to 85-81 before Perkins sank a 3-pointer and a free throw.
The Sonics won their third consecutive and eighth in 10 games.