Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 12/12

Game 1: Wednesday, December 12th
Game 2: Thursday, December 27th
Game 3: Saturday, March 16th
Game 4: Monday, April 8th

Clippers 100

(38-40, 14-26 away)

SuperSonics 102

(44-34, 25-14 home)

    7:00 PM ET, April 8, 2002

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    LAC 24 25 24 27100
    SEA 28 21 31 22102

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles: E. Brand 22 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Blk

    Seattle: D. Mason 36 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Stl

    Mason hits for 36 points on 16-for-22 shooting

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Desmond Mason was at his best as the Seattle SuperSonics cleared up the logjam at the bottom of the Western Conference.

    Desmond Mason

    Desmond Mason scored 26 of his 36 points in the second half for the Sonics.

    With Mason scoring 26 of his career-high 36 points in the second half, the SuperSonics clinched a playoff berth with a 102-100 victory over the Clippers on Monday night. The defeat eliminated Los Angeles from postseason contention.

    Utah, which lost to Dallas on Monday night, got into the playoffs with the Clippers' defeat.

    "It felt good," said Mason, who shot 16-for-22. "If you have a guy with a hot hand, you just try to get him the ball."

    Coach Nate McMillan said Mason had a confidence about him.

    "He wasn't hesitating," McMillan said. "He was shooting the ball in rhythm."

    Disappointed Clippers coach Alvin Gentry didn't have much to say.

    "My team played hard and they deserve a chance to win," Gentry said. "That's all I got to say."

    Mason said he thought the Clippers didn't handle the pressure of the final minutes as well as the Sonics.

    "I think they were a little more tight than we were because it was do-or-die for them," he said.

    Mason broke a tie at 98 with an 18-footer from the top of the key with 18.8 seconds left, and Ansu Sesay made two free throws with 3.2 seconds to go for Seattle's final points.

    The Clippers' Eric Piatkowski made a layup in the final second.

    Piatkowski said the Clippers couldn't believe the way Mason shot the ball.

    "I've never seen him shoot that well before from outside," he said. "He normally is the guy who you want him to go ahead and shoot the ball. He kept shooting and he kept making shots. I asked one of our assistant coaches, 'He's not supposed to be that good an outside shooter, is he?"'

    Gary Payton added 22 points and 13 assists for the Sonics, while Piatkowski and Elton Brand scored 22 points each for the Clippers.

    The Clippers led 96-92 after a free throw by Jeff McInnis with 2:47 on the clock.

    Seattle's Predrag Drobnjak sank a 14-footer with 2:24 left and Vin Baker made a 15-footer to tie the score at 96.

    After Michael Olowokandi's short hook shot over Baker with 1:25 to go, Drobnjak tied the score with a 16-footer.

    Mason scored Seattle's first 13 points of the third quarter as the Sonics took a 62-57 lead with 3:25 gone in the period. Mason finished his 19-point performance in the quarter with an 18-footer as time expired to put Seattle ahead 80-73.

    Mason, whose previous high was 25 points, shot 9-for-14 in the period after having 10 points at halftime on 4-for-4 shooting.

    The score was tied at 49 at halftime, with Brent Barry of the Sonics scoring three baskets in the final two minutes. After Barry sank a 15-footer with 42 seconds left to put Seattle ahead 49-48, Baker fouled Brand and he made a free throw.

    Payton delighted the Key Arena crowd with 3:05 left when he made a desperation 31-footer as time expired on the 24-second clock.

    Brand scored 12 points on 5-for-6 shooting and Payton had 10 points in the first quarter, when the Sonics took a 28-24 lead.

    The Sonics are the No. 7 team in the Western Conference with a 44-34 record with four games to go. Utah is 42-35 with five games left on its schedule. The Clippers dropped with 38-40 with four games to go.

    The Sonics missed the playoffs with a 44-38 record last season.

    "It just feels good that these guys get an opportunity to play in the postseason, because they've worked so hard," McMillan said.

    Game notes

    Mason's 16 field goals and 22 shots were career highs. His previous highs were 11 field goals and 19 attempts. ... Clippers forward Lamar Odom, who played in only 29 games this season, will undergo surgery to repair damage to his injured right wrist Tuesday. Odom, who averaged 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.9 assists, has been on the injured list since Jan. 24 with a sprained ligament in his wrist. ... The Sonics activated forward Vladimir Radmanovic in time for the game, and he played four minutes. Radmanovic, a rookie, missed 15 games with a sprained toe on his right foot. ... The Sonics also placed guard Randy Livingston on the injured list with a sprained right ankle, and signed Sesay for the remainder of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 100 102
    FGM-FGA 40-70 (.571) 45-77 (.584)
    3PM-3PA 3-6 (.500) 2-2 (1.000)
    FTM-FTA 17-28 (.607) 10-13 (.769)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-26 10-29
    Assists 21 31
    Turnovers 13 14
    Steals 8 8
    Blocks 6 8
    Fast Break Points 5 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 25 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Los Angeles
    Elton Brand Brand
    Points: 22
    Reb: 9
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 2
    Desmond Mason Mason
    Points: 36
    Reb: 7
    Ast: 0
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0