Sonics outlast Bullets in 2 OT Seattle loses lead of 16 in final 6: 00

Webber hits 34, all 10 in 1st OT

November 21, 1996|By Phil Jackman | Phil Jackman,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- The Washington Bullets and Seattle SuperSonics introduced a new promotion last night that, if adopted by the other teams in the NBA, will be the rage.

Two games for the price of one. Better make that three games for the price of one. For before the Sonics finally prevailed, 115-110, in two overtimes, the 18,756 fans at USAir Arena were treated to magnificent individual performances, stirring comebacks and enough thrills and reversals to last a month.

With six minutes remaining in regulation and trailing by 16 points, the Bullets appeared as if they didn't have a ghost of a chance. That was Game 1.

It was dominated by Shawn Kemp, who had 23 of his 34 points in the first half, and Gary Payton, who bombed four three-pointers in the second half to keep the home team at bay. Until

Game 2 featured Chris Webber, who was playing a good but not spectacular game until the middle of the fourth period. As Bullets coach Jim Lynam pointed out afterward, "His numbers are unbelievable. For a while he has been out of sight, out of mind, but we saw him back tonight."

Webber's statistical line read 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and seven blocked shots. He hit a three-pointer with five seconds remaining in regulation to tie it at 97 and force overtime. He scored all 10 Bullets points in the first overtime, including a follow-up shot with two seconds remaining to force the second extra session.

Remember now, this is against a 10-2 team that came in with an eight-game winning streak, has won six straight on the road and plays defense all night long.

Bloodied but unbowed, Webber said, "I don't think of them as a better team. We just came up a little short in the end. It's games like this that show where we can improve and win."

"Tell you what was great about this game: We stayed after it," said Lynam. "Our defense was much better in the second half."

But then came Game 3. Payton, who finished with 31 points and seven assists, started the second overtime with six straight points and the weary Bullets -- including Webber, who played a TTC career-high 56 minutes -- were forced to surrender.

Chris Whitney, who played a strong second half, which included three of the Bullets' 11 long-range bombs, saw the performance as a character-builder: "Everyone here plays all 48 minutes and more if that's what it takes."

With center Gheorghe Muresan out with the flu, the Bullets tried everyone over 75 inches tall on Kemp and he went through them like cordwood. Than, as Sonics coach George Karl said, "I thought our brains shut down in the fourth quarter. We quit playing a bit and lost our momentum."

"We fell apart late," said Detlef Schrempf, who also had a big night with 23 points, 15 rebounds and four assists.

The Bullets (4-6) had something to do with the reversal of form. They played like madmen in the stretch, blocking shots, stealing the ball, banging the boards.

It was not all for naught. As Lynam put it, "we saw a ton of heart out on the court. We played very well, but I believe we can play much better than that."

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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