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Monday, October 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Lakers Guard Isn’t Ready To Pay Sonics

By Associated Press

Back in January, Nick Van Exel promised he’d buy everyone on the SuperSonics a gift worth less than $100 if the Lakers didn’t win the Pacific Division title.

It was just trash talk then, but the fourth-year guard is sticking with his boast. He backed it up by scoring 30 points in the Lakers’ 99-97 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Tuesday night.

“If we don’t win the division, I’ll pay up,” Van Exel said. “A lot of people wrote us off because of the injuries. But now we’re just trying to build up some momentum and get our team healthy.”

The victory didn’t come without a cost as the injury-riddled Lakers lost two more big men to injuries. Elden Campbell suffered a bruised right buttock in the first half and left in the third quarter, and Travis Knight suffered a bruised right knee in the first quarter and never returned.

Both are listed as questionable for tonight’s home game against Denver.

The injuries only seemed to strengthen the Lakers resolve. “We knew coming in that if they won, that pretty much gave them the division,” Van Exel said.

Sonics coach George Karl had a 20-minute closed-door meeting with Gary Payton after the game. When Karl met with the media, he was distraught.

“Why our minds are de-energized at this time is a concern,” Karl said. “This is the third or fourth game in a row that our beginnings have stunk.”

Hersey Hawkins had 19 points on 4-for-13 shooting and was dismayed with the way he and his teammates played.

“This was the most important game of our season to date and look how we played,” Hawkins said. “We’re so-called pros and we didn’t play that way.”

The Lakers won their fourth straight game and closed within a half-game of first place in the Pacific Division. The Lakers are trying to win their first division crown since the 1989-90 season.

Van Exel’s free throw with 3.1 seconds left gave the Lakers a 99-95 lead that clinched the victory.

Los Angeles swept the Sonics in Seattle and won the season series 3-1. The Lakers will have the tie-breaker advantage if the teams finish the regular season with the same record.

Van Exel made 10 of his career-high 28 shots and also had six assists, six rebounds and five steals. Eddie Jones added 20 and Jerome Kersey 14.

Every time the Sonics threatened to overtake the Lakers, Van Exel responded. Payton’s two free throws pulled the Sonics to 90-89 with 3:40 left, but Van Exel hit a short jumper for a 92-89 lead. The Sonics never got any closer.

Los Angeles coach Del Harris was ejected for arguing a non-call with referee Joey Crawford late in the fourth quarter.

Shawn Kemp surpassed the 10,000-point mark for his career in the first half. He came off the bench to lead the Sonics with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Payton and Hersey Hawkins had 19 points each.

Van Exel’s layup gave the Lakers a 65-50 advantage, but the Sonics rallied with a 10-0 run after Campbell left the game. Kemp had nine third-quarter points as the Sonics closed to 71-68.

Byron Scott’s 3-point shot with 10 seconds left in the first half gave Los Angeles a 50-39 halftime lead. Van Exel had 12 points and Jones 11 for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant scored nine on 4-for-4 shooting off the bench, and Van Exel had two baskets in a 9-3 run that closed the half.

Lakers 99, SuperSonics 97

FG FT Reb L.A. LAKERS Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Blount 30 5-7 2-2 5-11 0 5 12 Kersey 41 6-9 2-3 3-11 2 5 14 Campbell 23 2-7 0-2 1-5 0 1 4 Jones 43 7-16 4-6 2-5 2 1 20 Van Exel 43 10-28 7-9 3-6 6 4 30 Bryant 12 4-5 0-0 0-1 1 5 9 Knight 1 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 McCloud 4 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Fisher 5 0-1 1-2 0-1 0 1 1 Scott 28 3-8 0-0 0-1 0 1 7 Rooks 10 0-1 2-2 0-2 0 1 2 Totals 240 37-85 18-26 15-44 12 24 99

Percentages: FG .435, FT .692. 3-Point Goals: 7-21, .333 (Van Exel 3-10, Jones 2-7, Bryant 1-1, Scott 1-3). Team Rebounds: 11. Blocked shots: 7 (Campbell 3, Kersey 2, Jones, Blount). Turnovers: 11 (Campbell 3, Van Exel 2, Bryant 2, Fisher, Kersey, team 2). Steals: 9 (Van Exel 5, Jones 2, Kersey 2). Technical fouls: illegal defense, 4:11 second; illegal defense, 3:37 third; Coach Harris 2, 3:52 fourth. Ejections: Coach Harris, 3:52 fourth. Illegal defense: 1.

FG FT Reb SEATTLE Min M-A M-A O-T A PF Pts Perkins 24 1-6 0-0 1-5 4 3 3 Stewart 7 1-4 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 McIlvaine 8 0-2 0-0 3-3 0 0 0 Hawkins 39 4-13 11-12 4-8 3 1 19 Payton 45 8-20 3-6 2-5 8 4 19 McMillan 32 3-5 0-0 0-4 2 5 9 Kemp 34 7-15 7-11 6-10 0 2 21 Schrempf 20 5-10 2-2 1-3 1 4 13 Cummings 19 4-6 0-0 0-4 0 2 8 Wingate 12 1-2 1-1 0-1 1 1 3 Totals 240 34-83 24-32 18-45 20 23 97

Percentages: FG .410, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (McMillan 3-4, Perkins 1-2, Schrempf 1-4, Wingate 0-1, Payton 0-1, Hawkins 0-5). Team Rebounds: 13. Blocked shots: 5 (McIlvaine 3, Schrempf, Wingate). Turnovers: 12 (Schrempf 3, McMillan 2, Payton 2, Perkins, Stewart, Hawkins, Cummings, Wingate). Steals: 5 (Hawkins 2, Payton, Kemp, Schrempf). Technical fouls: Coach Karl, 8:18 first; Schrempf, 7:33 second. Flagrant foul: Kemp, 3:43 second. Illegal defense: None.

L.A. Lakers 26 24 28 21 - 99

Seattle 18 21 34 24 - 97

A-17,072 (17,072). T-2:21.

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Wordcount: 957
Tags: basketball

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