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Payton moves to ninth-place on assists list

12/16/2002

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Gary Payton moved into ninth-place on the
career assists list, adding nine more to his total Monday night as
the Seattle SuperSonics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 111-98.

Payton, in his 13th season, surpassed Terry Porter on the list
when he fed Desmond Mason for a layup with 5:38 left in the third
quarter to put Seattle ahead 76-58.

Payton has 7,164 assists for his career and is averaging a
league-leading 9.5 per game this season. He needs 48 more to move
past Lenny Wilkens into eighth place.

Rashard Lewis scored 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting with 10
rebounds, Predrag Drobnjak scored a career-high 23 points and
Reggie Evans grabbed 17 rebounds, 10 in the first quarter.

Lewis converted a key putback with 5:56 to play to give Seattle
a 95-85 lead after Cleveland had whittled a 19-point deficit to
eight. Moments later, the 6-foot-10 forward swished a 12-footer to
end Cleveland's comeback hopes.

Ricky Davis scored 20 points to lead Cleveland, which has gone
3-4 since its 15-game losing streak. Jermaine Jones added 19 points
off the bench.

Davis, who had averaged 34 points over his previous four games,
shot 2-for-10 in the first half, as did rookie Dajuan Wagner. Davis
finished 7-for-21 and Wagner went 3-for-15 for 10 points.

Lewis had 16 points, Payton 15 and Drobnjak 11 in the first half
to lead Seattle to a 63-47 lead at the break.

Jones scored 11 points in the third quarter for Cleveland, but
the Cavs trailed 84-70 entering the fourth.<

Game notes
Seattle activated Vitaly Potapenko, but he did not play.
The forward-center, acquired from Boston in July, has not played
since injuring his left knee in the final game of last season. ...
Seattle F Vladimir Radmanovic was ejected with 24.5 seconds to
play. ... Cleveland has lost 15 straight in the series since last
defeating Seattle on Nov. 27, 1993. ... Cavs F Tyrone Hill was out
with a sore back. Coach John Lucas said he was not sure when Hill
would be available to play, but F-C Chris Mihm, sidelined all
season with a strained hamstring, may play later this week.