Wizards ward off Barry, Sonics for 103-98 win

Lue scores 26 off bench as five-game slide ends

Pro Basketball

March 16, 2002|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,SUN STAFF

SEATTLE - As the well-worn proverb goes, when it rains, it pours, and here in the Pacific Northwest, where it seemingly rains all the time, the sky and Brent Barry opened up on the Washington Wizards last night in the third quarter of their meeting with the Seattle SuperSonics.

For a change, the Wizards had their own rain gear in the form of Tyronn Lue, whose career-high 26 points off the bench helped them end a five-game losing streak with a 103-98 win in the most unlikely of places for them, Key Arena, where they had lost 20 of their previous 21 games.

Lue hit three three-pointers in the final 6:20 to keep the Wizards, who had fallen behind by as many as nine in the fourth period, in the game before fouling out with 9.9 seconds left.

"I got going pretty early," said Lue, who came to the Wizards as a free agent from the Los Angeles Lakers in the offseason.

"I got in a rhythm kind of early in the game. I was playing off of [Christian] Laettner and Popeye [Jones] and Kwame [Brown]. The big men were switching and they had to guard me. ... It felt good."

Lue was 9-for-13 from the field and hit all five of his three-point tries, as well as contributing six assists and having no turnovers in 32 minutes.

"I don't think he missed," said Tyrone Nesby. "It seemed like every shot he took, he made it. That was a big plus [last night]. He came in behind Chris Whitney and did a tremendous job."

Said Seattle coach Nate McMillan: "We knew [Lue] was aggressive once he came into the game and he's a little different than Whitney. We didn't contain him and we didn't control him at all."

The Wizards (30-35) seemed to have all sorts of karma working against them last night as the SuperSonics went to the free throw line 35 times to their 19.

Washington couldn't even convert on a five-on-four break when Seattle's Predrag Drobnjak went down with a sprained knee in the third, and watched helplessly as Gary Payton converted on a three-point play at the other end.

But the team, which, save for Wednesday's 21-point drubbing at the hands of the Los Angeles Clippers, had been suffering losses in the most heartbreaking of manners, finally pulled a game out down the stretch, finding a resiliency that had been absent since Michael Jordan went out with a cartilage tear on Feb. 27.

"We've been playing so hard, other than the Clipper game," said coach Doug Collins. "Our last five losses, we've had a chance to win. It was great to see the guys be able to pull through and win it at the end. It was a great win for us. We definitely needed this."

Seattle (36-30) closed the third quarter on a 7-1 run to take a 75-69 lead, appearing to set the Wizards back on their heels. Barry poured a season-high 31 points on Washington - 16 in the third period alone - while Payton had 29.

FG FT Reb

Washington Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

RHamilton 39 9-22 6-7 1-3 0 3 25

Laettner 34 5-11 2-2 2-7 3 4 12

White 18 0-4 2-2 3-7 0 2 2

Alexander 39 7-13 1-2 3-6 2 4 15

Whitney 18 3-8 1-1 0-2 5 3 8

Lue 32 9-13 3-3 2-3 6 6 26

Haywood 11 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 0 0

Brown 8 1-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 2

Nesby 26 3-4 1-2 2-8 2 4 7

Jones 14 3-6 0-0 3-3 2 2 6

Davis 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 240 40-86 16-19 16-41 21 28 103

Percentages: FG .465, FT .842. 3-Point Goals: 7-13, .538 (Lue 5-5, Whitney 1-4, R.Hamilton 1-4). Team Rebounds: 9. Blocked Shots: 4 (White 2, Brown 2). Turnovers: 10 (R.Hamilton 3, Laettner 3, Haywood 2, White, Alexander). Steals: 5 (Lue 2, Laettner, Jones, Nesby). Technical Fouls: None.

Seattle Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Lewis 19 0-4 4-4 0-1 2 1 4

Long 27 2-6 0-0 2-5 1 6 4

JJames 22 1-3 0-0 0-4 0 5 2

Barry 38 9-12 9-10 0-2 2 2 31

Payton 45 11-23 7-9 0-3 9 2 29

Mason 41 5-10 6-8 2-9 4 3 17

Williams 20 2-6 2-2 0-2 3 1 7

Drobnjak 14 0-6 0-0 3-5 1 2 0

Livingston 2 0-2 0-0 1-1 0 0 0

Oyedeji 12 1-1 2-2 2-3 0 3 4

Totals 240 31-73 30-35 10-35 22 25 98

Percentages: FG .425, FT .857. 3-Point Goals: 6-10, .600 (Barry 4-5, Mason 1-1, Williams 1-3, Lewis 0-1). Team Rebounds: 11. Blocked Shots: 3 (Lewis, J.James, Williams). Turnovers: 11 (Payton 3, J.James 3, Long 2, Barry, Oyedeji, Drobnjak). Steals: 6 (Oyedeji 2, J.James 2, Barry, Drobnjak). Technical Fouls: None.

Washington 26 22 21 34 - 103

Seattle 23 24 28 23 - 98

A-17,072 (17,072). T-2:20. Officials-Jack Nies, Leroy Richardson, Michael Henderson.

Wizards tonight

Opponent: Portland Trail Blazers

Site: Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.

Time: 10

TV/Radio: CN8/WTNT (570 AM)

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