March 21, 1998 in Sports

Sonics Miss Out On Sweep Los Angeles Gets First Victory Of Season Against Rival Seattle

Associated Press
 

Any psychological advantage the Los Angeles Lakers might have gained over the Seattle SuperSonics was completely lost on Shaquille O’Neal.

“I failed psychology in high school and college - and I failed it on purpose because I don’t believe in psychology,” O’Neal said Friday night after the Lakers avoided a four-game season sweep with a 93-80 victory. “I don’t believe in the Pavlov theory.”

O’Neal was bad at the free-throw line, going 4 for 15, but he finished with 24 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Lakers to their seventh straight home victory.

Rick Fox added 18 points for the Lakers, who went a season-high 28 games over .500 with their eighth victory in nine games and snapped Seattle’s five-game winning streak despite committing 22 turnovers.

“We didn’t want to get swept by this team because we always play this team pretty well, but they’ve gotten the best of us this year,” O’Neal said. “We made mistakes in the last couple of minutes in those games, but tonight we just played good solid basketball.”

Detlef Schrempf scored 17 points for the Sonics, whose only sweep of the Lakers was in 1993-94 when they played five times. Vin Baker, Seattle’s leading scorer this season, fouled out with 4:52 remaining and finished with eight points in 31 minutes as Seattle lost for only the second time in 21 games against Pacific Division opponents.

The Lakers matched their best defensive effort of the season while trimming Seattle’s division lead to three games.

“Obviously, they wanted to come out and not be swept - and at the same time gain some more ground and make a run on us,” Baker said. “It was an extremely big game for us, too, but we didn’t come out and take care of business offensively.”

The sellout crowd of 17,505 received a scare with the game barely 2 minutes old, as Eddie Jones went down hard in front of the Seattle bench and didn’t move for a couple of anxious minutes. Jim McIlvaine set a moving pick for Hersey Hawkins and got Jones flush on the right thigh with his left knee, but Jones was back on the court following a timeout.

O’Neal was angry about the pick, but decided that doing something about it would jeopardize the Lakers’ chances of winning.

Seattle’s Jerome Kersey served his one-game suspension without pay for fighting with Lamond Murray of the Clippers on Wednesday. Kersey and Murray were also fined $7,500.

Lakers 93, SuperSonics 80

FG FT Reb

SEATTLE Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Baker 31 3-6 2-3 2-2 1 6 8

Schrempf 37 7-13 2-3 1-7 4 3 17

McIlvaine 2 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 2

Hawkins 37 0-6 0-0 1-5 2 4 0

Payton 38 5-16 2-2 2-4 6 2 13

Perkins 29 5-6 1-2 1-6 1 4 13

Ellis 22 6-9 2-2 1-3 0 0 16

Williams 14 1-7 0-0 2-2 1 3 2

McMillan 13 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Anthony 15 2-5 4-5 0-1 2 3 9

Zidek 2 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 2 0

Totals 240 30-73 13-17 10-32 18 29 80

Percentages: FG .411, FT .765.

3-Point Goals: 7-16, .438 (Ellis 2-2, Perkins 2-3, Schrempf 1-1, Anthony 1-3, Payton 1-4, McMillan 0-1, Hawkins 0-1, Zidek 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 8.

Blocked shots: 4 (Baker, McIlvaine, Perkins, McMillan).

Turnovers: 23 (Payton 7, Schrempf 3, Anthony 3, Baker 2, Hawkins 2, Perkins 2, McIlvaine, Ellis, Williams, Zidek).

Steals: 11 (Hawkins 5, Schrempf 3, Payton 2, Williams).

Technical fouls: Schrempf, 7:33 first.

Illegal defense: 1.

FG FT Reb

L.A. LAKERS Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts

Horry 36 2-10 0-0 5-7 2 1 5

Fox 34 8-13 1-1 0-5 7 5 18

O’Neal 42 10-14 4-15 3-16 0 3 24

Jones 42 5-12 2-2 1-4 3 1 14

Fisher 23 1-3 2-2 1-2 1 2 4

Van Exel 24 2-4 5-5 0-4 5 4 9

Bryant 18 3-7 8-8 1-1 2 1 16

Campbell 17 1-3 0-0 1-5 1 1 3

Bennett 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Barry 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Blount 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 240 32-67 22-33 12-44 21 18 93

Percentages: FG .478, FT .667.

3-Point Goals: 7-19, .368 (Bryant 2-3, Jones 2-8, Campbell 1-1, Horry 1-3, Fox 1-4).

Team Rebounds: 9.

Blocked shots: 9 (Campbell 4, Horry 2, O’Neal 2, Van Exel).

Turnovers: 22 (Fox 8, O’Neal 5, Jones 3, Bryant 2, Horry, Fisher, Van Exel, Campbell).

Steals: 13 (Horry 4, Jones 2, Fisher 2, Bryant 2, Fox, O’Neal, Campbell).

Technical fouls: Fox, 7:33 first; Van Exel, 11:49 fourth.

Illegal defense: 1.

Seattle 22 16 16 26 - 80

L.A. Lakers 23 29 14 27 - 93

A-17,505 (17,505). T-2:08.

xxxx

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