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Sonics Have Cavaliers, Their Fans Singing Blues

Sun., Jan. 11, 1998

The city that calls itself the rock ‘n’ roll capital of the world was jazzed up about basketball again. This was a big reason the Cleveland Cavaliers traded for Shawn Kemp in the first place.

After the Seattle SuperSonics were introduced, the crowd gave Kemp his loudest ovation of the season.

The place was abuzz, like the old days at Richfield Coliseum.

It was the most galvanizing moment in Cleveland basketball in years, and the Sonics went and ruined it with a demoralizing 109-84 victory Thursday night.

Michael Jordan usually breaks the hearts of Cavs fans at the end of the game. The Sonics did their dirty, efficient, devastating work at the beginning.

“It was a humbling experience for everyone to come out in a game that had a little electricity to it,” Cleveland coach Mike Fratello said. “I expected a highly competitive game.”

The Sonics apparently didn’t. Why would they? Seattle (28-6) has the best record in the NBA, winning seven straight and 13 of 14.

“This doesn’t do anything for our confidence,” said Gary Payton, exemplifying the post-Kemp positive thinking that permeates the Sonics’ locker room. “We’re trying to go out on the road and make statements to other teams.”


 

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