Stephon Marbury was 14 years old the last time the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Seattle SuperSonics.
Facing Gary Payton and the Sonics on Tuesday night, Marbury decided it was time for the Timberwolves to end six years of frustration against Seattle.
He scored 35 points and set a franchise record with eight 3-pointers as Minnesota ended an NBA record 26-game losing streak against the Sonics with a 112-103 victory. The Timberwolves’ losing streak over six seasons was the longest by one team against another.
“Gary Payton’s the best point guard in the NBA, but I still have to stay focused on what I have to do,” Marbury said.
Was he ever focused. He shot 13 for 19, including 8 for 11 from 3-point range.
“It was a spectacular performance against one of the top two players in the NBA,” Minnesota coach Flip Saunders said of Marbury’s performance against Payton, the league’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1995. “Gary’s manhandled him before, but Stephon never lacks for confidence.”
“We’ve been talking about this for three years,” said Tom Gugliotta. “It’s good to finally end it.”
Said Detlef Schrempf of the Sonics: “In the back of your mind, you’re thinking you’re finally going to lose one.”
Payton was on Marbury much of the game, but couldn’t stop him. Marbury had been shooting only 25 percent from 3-point range.
“That’s the NBA,” Karl said of Marbury’s 3-point shooting. “There are players who can do that and he’s one of them.”
Marbury, who averaged 17.8 points in his first 25 games, made half of his 3-pointers from a couple steps behind the 23-foot, 9-inch line.
“It feels like a real shot when I shoot from way behind the line,” he said.
Payton led the Sonics with 27 points on 12-for-19 shooting, but missed two key free throws with 1:43 left with Minnesota in front 101-94.
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