March 22, 1998 in Sports

Suns Rise To Occasion Phoenix Finds Way To Beat Sonics

Associated Press
 

For a team that was 0-2 against Seattle this season and had lost five straight against clubs with winning records, the Phoenix Suns were remarkably confident about playing the SuperSonics again.

“We knew we could beat Seattle, and they know they can beat us,” Rex Chapman said after Phoenix led from the first quarter on and defeated the Sonics 109-102 Saturday night. “So I don’t know if we sent a message. It’s just good to get a win.”

Cliff Robinson scored 29 points, Chapman had 28 and Danny Manning had four of his 25 points in a 25-second span during the final minute, including a backbreaking 18-footer from the baseline with 56 seconds left to open a 105-97 lead.

“I’ve said all year that if we wanted to beat teams like Seattle, the Lakers, we were going to need special performances from certain guys, and we got it tonight,” coach Danny Ainge said.

Gary Payton had 30 points, six rebounds and five assists, but couldn’t prevent Seattle (50-17) from falling into a tie with idle Chicago for the best record in the NBA.

Vin Baker contributed 16 points and eight rebounds for the Sonics, and Detlef Schrempf scored 14.

Baker noted the Suns’ 57.5 percent shooting, which included Chapman’s 6-of-8 performance on 3-pointers.

“I don’t know if they outworked us,” Baker said. “As far as I know, everyone came to play today. I don’t know about being outhustled, but they really shot the ball well.”

Before Manning took over, Seattle whittled away at 10-point deficits throughout the final period. Chapman gave the Suns their last double-digit lead, 103-93, on a 3-pointer with 2:27 to go. Sam Perkins answered with a 3-pointer 24 seconds later.

“Too little, too late,” said Perkins, who scored six points in the final 2:03.

Neither team scored in the first 3-1/2 minutes of the last quarter until Payton, who was 6 of 11 beyond the arc, hit a 26-foot 3-pointer with 8:22 to play. He had another one 54 seconds later to spark an 8-1 run that cut the Suns’ lead to 91-88 with 6:53 to go.

But Robinson went underneath for two layups, getting a three-point play out of the first, to send Phoenix to a 98-88 lead with 5:51 remaining.

Suns 109, SuperSonics 102

FG FT Reb

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

Schrempf 37 4-6 5-5 0-3 4 4 14

Baker 37 6-13 4-8 5-8 2 3 16

McIlvaine 14 3-8 0-0 3-3 0 1 6

Payton 42 11-20 2-4 1-6 5 0 30

Hawkins 17 0-7 0-0 2-2 3 1 0

Perkins 22 3-4 1-2 1-4 3 2 8

Ellis 30 3-8 3-4 1-2 0 4 11

Kersey 23 4-7 1-4 0-2 1 2 9

A.Williams 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Anthony 15 3-6 2-2 2-2 3 1 8

Totals 240 37-79 18-29 15-32 21 19 102

Percentages: FG .468, FT .621. 3-Point Goals: 10-21, .476 (Payton 6-11, Ellis 2-4, Schrempf 1-1, Perkins 1-1, Hawkins 0-1, Anthony 0-1, Kersey 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 1 (McIlvaine). Turnovers: 7 (Baker 2, Schrempf, Payton, Perkins, Ellis, team). Steals: 4 (Payton 2, Kersey, Anthony). Technical fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

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

Robinson 41 11-18 5-5 0-5 6 4 29

McDyess 25 5-7 0-0 2-8 2 4 10

J.Williams 24 4-4 1-2 4-9 0 4 9

Kidd 35 2-7 2-2 1-2 14 3 6

Chapman 43 10-15 2-2 1-5 3 3 28

Manning 32 10-16 5-7 4-7 0 4 25

Bryant 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

K.Johnson 18 0-5 0-0 1-1 3 0 0

McCloud 15 0-1 2-2 0-3 0 1 2

Nash 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 240 42-73 17-20 13-40 28 25 109

Percentages: FG .575, FT .850. 3-Point Goals: 8-12, .667 (Chapman 6-8, Robinson 2-2, Kidd 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 6 (Robinson 2, McDyess 2, Williams 2). Turnovers: 14 (Johnson 4, Manning 3, Chapman 3, Robinson, McDyess, team 2). Steals: 3 (Robinson, Williams, Kidd).

Seattle 26 29 25 22 - 102

Phoenix 31 27 32 19 - 109

A-19,023 (19,023). T-2:06.

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