May 2, 1997 in Sports

Sonics Keep The Drive Alive Seattle Survives Amazing Shot For Ot Win

Bob Condotta Tacoma News Tribune
 

History may not remember that the Seattle SuperSonics actually won the game.

For Phoenix’s Rex Chapman will undoubtedly go into NBA lore for his incredible 27-foot, running 3-pointer that capped a furious 12-point comeback and sent the game into overtime.

“The only chance they had was a prayer and the prayer was answered,” said Sonics forward Detlef Schrempf.

But the Sonics then dominated a 5-minute overtime period that should quash all questions about this team’s heart, doubts about this team’s character.

The record books will show that the Sonics did indeed beat Phoenix in Game 4 of the Western Conference playoffs, 122-115, in front of 19,023 at America West Arena, setting up the series-deciding Game 5 Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at KeyArena in Seattle.

“We earned it,” said Sonics coach George Karl. “We earned a lot.”

Game 5 is a contest that can’t be harder to win than this one was, a game the Sonics seemingly had ended when a Shawn Kemp dunk capped a 6-0 spurt that put the Sonics up 100-88 with 2:02 left in regulation.

But Kemp, who had a marvelous game with 24 points and 20 rebounds, was called for a taunting technical foul for celebrating on the way back down the court, which seemed to revive the Suns.

“I was going to be really (angry) if we lost the game because of a taunting foul,” Karl said. “He was just celebrating. What next, a technical for high-fiving?”

Phoenix then scored eight in a row, sandwiched around two Sonic 3-point misses to make it 100-96 with 54.2 seconds left.

Kemp then hit six straight free throws, which seemed enough to sew up the win.

But Cedric Ceballos kept the Suns alive with a 3-pointer with 6.8 seconds left. Schrempf then had a chance to sew up the win, but hit only 1 of 2 free throws with 5.4 seconds left, missing the second.

Phoenix called time and got the ball to Chapman, who, closely guarded by Hersey Hawkins, threw up what appeared to be a desperation 3-pointer.

Instead, it hit nothing but net. After the Sonics couldn’t get off a shot, the game went to overtime.

“I can’t say doubt didn’t creep in,” said Sonics forward Sam Perkins, who shook off a slump with 16 points. “It was like, ‘Here we go again.”’

But with their backs so far against the wall that the wall had to be reclining, the Sonics then showed a will they rarely have.

“There were a lot of down faces at the overtime break,” Karl said. “But I told them to just fight. They are as tired as we are and their luck had to run out some time.”

After Jason Kidd hit a 3-pointer to put Phoenix ahead 110-107 with 3:50 left, the Sonics then dominated.

Schrempf hit a 3-pointer, then after Johnson hit two free throws, Schrempf hit two himself, then Payton made a lay-in, then Hawkins hit a 3-pointer to make it 117-112 with 45.7 seconds left.

Finally, the Suns had no miracles left.

“Ah man, that was an awesome game,” said Suns coach Danny Ainge. “The wrong guys won. We’re excited about this series and how we’ve played. We feel confident going into Game 5.”

So are the Sonics, who figure nothing more amazing can happen to them.

SuperSonics 122, Suns 115 (OT)

FG FT Reb SEATTLE Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Schrempf 45 7-17 9-11 1-6 5 4 26 Kemp 42 5-12 13-16 3-20 3 5 24 Cummings 23 4-6 0-0 2-5 2 2 8 Hawkins 46 6-15 0-0 1-10 3 5 17 Payton 53 9-20 5-6 2-7 14 2 28 Perkins 32 6-11 3-3 2-3 2 2 16 Graham 7 0-1 0-0 0-1 1 2 0 Wingate 17 1-7 0-0 0-1 3 0 3 Totals 265 38-89 30-36 11-53 33 22 122

Percentages: FG .427, FT .833.

3-Point Goals: 16-33, .485 (Hawkins 5-9, Payton 5-11, Schrempf 3-5, Kemp 1-2, Perkins 1-3, Wingate 1-3).

Team Rebounds: 10.

Blocked shots: 5 (Cummings 2, Kemp, Payton, Perkins).

Turnovers: 17 (Schrempf 4, Hawkins 3, Payton 3, Kemp 2, Cummings 2, Perkins, Graham, Wingate).

Steals: 10 (Hawkins 4, Kemp 2, Payton 2, Schrempf, Wingate).

Technical foul: Kemp, 2:02 fourth.

Illegal defense: None.

FG FT ‘Reb PHOENIX Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Chapman 44 9-22 0-1 0-5 4 3 22 Tisdale 4 1-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 Williams 23 1-3 1-1 1-6 0 2 3 Johnson 50 7-19 8-9 1-4 11 6 23 Kidd 48 9-17 3-7 2-6 14 1 23 Ceballos 30 6-12 2-2 2-7 2 4 16 Manning 28 8-13 3-3 0-10 0 6 19 Person 34 1-5 0-0 1-5 2 1 2 Nash 3 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 5 Brown 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Totals 265 44-97 17-23 7-43 33 24 115

Percentages: FG .454, FT .739.

3-Point Goals: 10-30, .333 (Chapman 4-12, Kidd 2-2, Ceballos 2-6, Nash 1-2, Johnson 1-3, Manning 0-1, Person 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 10.

Blocked shots: 4 (Williams 2, Kidd, Manning).

Turnovers: 15 (Johnson 6, Chapman 4, Manning 2, Williams, Kidd, Ceballos).

Steals: 9 (Johnson 2, Ceballos 2, Chapman, Williams, Kidd, Manning, Person).

Technical fouls: None.

Illegal defense: None. Seattle 36 25 17 29 15 - 122 Phoenix 26 23 27 31 8 - 115 A-19,023 (19,023). T-2:39.

Officials-Danny Crawford, Joe Forte, Tommy Nunez.


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