Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 11/30

Game 1: Friday, November 30th
Game 2: Tuesday, December 11th
Game 3: Thursday, February 14th
Game 4: Monday, April 15th

SuperSonics 104

(10-14, 4-9 away)

Lakers 93

(16-3, 11-1 home)

    Coverage: FSW

    7:30 PM ET, December 11, 2001

    STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA

    1 2 3 4 T
    SEA 35 26 24 19104
    LAL 30 24 23 1693

    Top Performers

    Sea: G. Payton 29 Pts, 2 Reb, 10 Ast, 2 Stl

    LAL: S. O'Neal 37 Pts, 16 Reb, 3 Ast, 6 Blk

    Lakers have 15-game home win streak snapped

    LOS ANGELES (AP) -- If Kobe Bryant is the NBA's best player, as Shaquille O'Neal has claimed, what does that make Seattle's Gary Payton?

    Gary Payton slashed through the Lakers defense for 29 points.

    Payton, a 12-year veteran named to the All-NBA defensive first-team for the eighth straight time last season, dominated his younger foe as the SuperSonics surprised the Los Angeles Lakers 104-93 on Tuesday night.

    The 33-year-old Payton had 29 points on 14-of-29 shooting, and 10 assists and held Bryant to 16 points on 7-of-23 shooting and one assist.

    When asked if he was a Kobe-stopper, as Ruben Patterson, a former Laker and Sonic and current Portland Trail Blazer once proclaimed himself, Payton smiled and replied: "Nah, I just play."

    "One night you can be good, the next game you can be bad," Payton said. "He's a little bit bigger, I'm a little bit feisty."

    Payton said Sonics coach Nate McMillan left it to him to contain Bryant.

    "He chooses to guard me, too," Payton added of the 23-year-old Lakers star.

    The Sonics came in having lost four straight games, and six of seven to drop to 9-14.

    "I just thought we'd come to LA, make a statement that we were still a good team," Payton said. "We needed to stop the bleeding, this is good."

    The loss was the second straight and just the third of the season for the two-time defending NBA champion Lakers, who had won their previous 15 regular-season games at Staples Center -- including 11 this season.

    Dating to last season, the Lakers had won 39 of their previous 41 games before losing this game on top of a 97-91 setback at Sacramento on Friday night.

    Vin Baker added a season-high 27 points and nine rebounds and Rashard Lewis had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Sonics, who took command late in the third quarter.

    The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Sonics, who were 4-0 against the Lakers last season.

    Los Angeles (16-3) won a 107-92 decision in Seattle on Nov. 30 despite the fact that O'Neal was ejected late in the first quarter after picking up two technical fouls.

    O'Neal led the Lakers with 37 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots.

    The Lakers converted only 9-of-21 foul shots, including 1-of-7 by O'Neal.

    Neither Bryant nor O'Neal stuck around after the game. But Derek Fisher, who scored nine points on 3-of-12 shooting in his first start of the season, pointed directly to Payton.

    "He definitely has the capabilities to take over a game," Fisher said. "That's the reason why he's been an All-NBA player for so many years. You have to give him credit for kind of controlling the game and getting things off to a good start, the way they needed."

    Rookie Earl Watson, who played at nearby UCLA, scored a career-high 14 points including five in a 7-0 run that gave the Sonics a 96-82 lead with 5:37 to play.

    The Lakers wouldn't threaten after that.

    "They were quicker to the ball than we were tonight," Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. "I mean, we outrebounded them (44-43), but the offensive opportunities that they regained for themselves by chasing down loose balls, and their outright hustle for the ball was really obvious."

    Baskets by Brent Barry and Payton to start the second half put Seattle on top by 11 points, but five straight points by Bryant and six in a row by O'Neal tied it at 65.

    A layup by Slava Medvedenko gave the Lakers a 77-76 lead, but a 3-pointer by Watson triggered a 9-0 Seattle run to finish the third period, putting the Sonics ahead 85-77.

    Payton and Art Long opened the fourth quarter with baskets to give the Sonics 13 consecutive points and an 89-77 lead. A bank shot by O'Neal with 9:32 left ended a four-minute Los Angeles scoring drought.

    The Lakers went over five minutes without scoring shortly later before O'Neal's basket with 3:50 left made it 96-84.

    Baker scored 20 points and Payton added 19 in the first half as the Sonics made 25 of 42 shots (59.5 percent) in taking a 61-54 lead. The Lakers trailed despite going 24-of-43 (55.8 percent).

    Baker had 16 points in the first quarter, which ended with Seattle leading 35-30.

    Game notes
    Seattle shot 41-of-88 (46.6 percent) to 40-of-91 (44 percent) for the Lakers. ... The Lakers entered leading the NBA in opponents' field-goal shooting at 40.7 percent, and were fourth in points allowed at 90.5. ... Seattle's Antonio Harvey was activated from the injured list, and started at center as a replacement for Calvin Booth, sidelined due to right ankle tendinitis. ... The Sonics hadn't won since Desmond Mason, averaging 13.6 points, went on the injured Dec. 4 with a sprained right knee. ... Watson entered averaging 4.2 points. Steve Lavin, his coach at UCLA, attended the game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 104 93
    FGM-FGA 41-88 (.466) 40-91 (.440)
    3PM-3PA 5-9 (.556) 4-20 (.200)
    FTM-FTA 17-27 (.630) 9-21 (.429)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 18-43 17-44
    Assists 22 24
    Turnovers 12 10
    Steals 8 7
    Blocks 3 9
    Fast Break Points 2 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (1/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 29
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 10
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Shaquille O'Neal O'Neal
    Points: 37
    Reb: 16
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 6