Payton, Mason lead six Sonics in double figures


SEATTLE (AP) -- Desmond Mason was trying to crash the boards. Still, he couldn't really explain how he tied a career-high with 17 rebounds.

Mason also had 20 points and an array of high-flying dunks, leading six players in double figures as the Seattle SuperSonics beat the Sacramento Kings 111-97 Friday night.

"I wanted to make an effort to go to the boards, especially on the offensive end,'' said Mason, who collected five offensive rebounds. "A lot of times, they were falling right into my hands. It was just one of those things.''

The Sonics snapped Sacramento's three-game winning streak, beating the Kings at their own game. Sacramento came as one of four teams averaging more than 100 points a game, but it was Seattle that was better offensively.

"I guess we're taking a page out of what Sacramento and Dallas like to do,'' said Brent Barry, who scored 14 points and had a career-high 13 assists and four steals. "Those teams have been successful, so it's not a bad book to read.''

Gary Payton led the Sonics with 24 points on 11-of-18 shooting, while Rashard Lewis, Vladimir Radmanovic and Predrag Drobnjak each scored 16 points and Seattle shot 54 percent.

At 7-2, the Sonics are off to their best start since opening 9-2 in 1999-2000.

Payton insisted there's no secret to their success.

"We just play,'' he said. "Everybody has been playing well and escalating and we just have to keep it up.''

Chris Webber scored 24 points on 11-of-16 shooting, but the
Kings hurt themselves with 18 turnovers that led to 23 points.
Bobby Jackson scored 19, Damon Jones had 12 and Doug Christie 10.

"They just came and took it from us,'' Webber said. "They beat us to the boards. I think Seattle thinks they can out-tough us, and tonight they did that. That's not the way to lose. We have to give a better effort.''

Mason did it all in the second period.

He scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting and collected nine rebounds. Beyond the numbers, the former NBA slam dunk champion scored on an array of sweeping leaps to the basket, charging up the crowd.

All three of Mason's offensive rebounds came when he followed a
teammate's miss and threw down a dunk. When Radmanovic's late
3-point try bounced off the rim, Mason caught the rebound and
slammed it home for a 62-50 halftime lead.

"Mason jumped over our backs,'' Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said. "That's effort. We'd better wake up. That team over there wanted the game, and they got it.''

That basket capped a 17-4 run over the last four minutes of the
first half, when the Kings missed five of their final seven shots.

Seattle kept things going in the second half. After Webber hit
two free throws to cut the deficit to 81-68 midway through the
third quarter, the Sonics closed the period with a 12-5 run.

The Kings, already missing point guard Mike Bibby (foot) and reserve forward Scot Pollard (back), didn't have sharp-shooting Peja Stojakovic, who was averaging 17.8 points a game.

"They were short-handed by not having Stojakovic in the lineup,'' Barry said. "He's an All-Star player who stretches the defense and makes them a lot better ball club. Mike Bibby wasn't there, either. We have to take out a team like that.''

Along with Jackson, Stojakovic was the only Sacramento player to start all nine games, but he sat out with a strained foot tendon. He dressed in street clothes and sat between injured teammates Scott Pollard (back) and Mateen Cleaves (foot).

Game notes
Seattle gained its 200th home victory since Key Arena opened in
1995-96. ... First-half technical fouls were assessed against
Lewis, Radmanovic and Adelman. ... Sacramento lost for the first
time in five games against Western Conference opponents. ... St.
Louis Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa and baseball Hall of Famer Al
Kaline sat at midcourt with Sonics owner Howard Schultz. ...
Seattle G Kenny Anderson (back spasms) and C Jerome James (stress
fracture) didn't play.