SEATTLE (AP) -- Robert Traylor isn't known for his vertical leap,
but he got enough elevation to shake the Hornets out of a
three-game losing streak.
Traylor tipped in Baron Davis' miss just before the final buzzer
sounded, giving New Orleans an 88-86 overtime win over the Seattle
SuperSonics on Friday night.
"I had good position under the basket. I watched it the whole
way and it just went to the right place and I was able to get it
in,'' said Traylor, whose game-winner was his only basket of the
Traylor played only seven minutes, but had four rebounds --
including three on the offensive end.
"I couldn't believe it,'' said Hornets coach Paul Silas. "I
was elated for him more than anything. He became a hero.''
Forty seconds before his big tip, the 6-foot-8, 284-pound
Traylor missed two free throws badly to leave the game tied at 86
apiece. The missed free throws bothered him for a moment, but he
gathered his composure and made the Sonics pay in the end.
"It's a credit to a guy who works hard and keeps his mind
focused on the game,'' said Jamal Mashburn, who scored five of his
game-high 30 points in overtime.
Davis had 20 for the Hornets, and David Wesley added 18.
The Sonics could not stop Mashburn, who shot 13-of-21 from the
field, including 3-of-4 from 3-point range.
Traylor has not seen much action this season, and he was in the
game down the stretch because centers Jamaal Magloire and Elden Campbell had both fouled out.
"I knew the foul situation with our guys, so I just made sure I
was ready when they called for me,'' Traylor said. "It's a great
win for the whole team.''
Rashard Lewis scored 26 points to lead the SuperSonics, who have
lost six of their last eight games.
"We just have to finish games,'' said Sonics coach Nate
McMillan. "We've got to make plays when the plays need to be made
to finish the game. We've been in a lot of situations this season
where we've been close.''
The Sonics suffered a tough 3-point loss to San Antonio on
Seattle jumped out to a 14-point first-quarter lead, but the
Hornets slowly climbed back and finally grabbed a 56-55 advantage
with 4:15 remaining in the third quarter. The teams battled back
and forth the remainder of the regulation with neither team leading
by more than six.
Eldon Campbell's 12-footer from the baseline while falling down
tied the game at 81 with 24 seconds remaining. Lewis then missed a
turnaround jumper with three seconds left before Davis missed a
3-pointer at the buzzer.
Five Sonics scored in double figures. Gary Payton missed a lot
of open shots but still managed to finish with 15 points on 6-of-24
shooting. Desmond Mason and Predrag Drobnjak had 12 apiece. Brent
Barry added 10.
Seattle, attempting to avenge a two-point loss at New Orleans in
November, struggled with its shooting for the final 3½ quarters and
finished at 37.1 percent from the field.
"It was one of them nights,'' Payton said. "Some nights you
have a good night. Some nights you don't. Tonight we struggled,
myself especially. You have to make it up at the other end.''
The Hornets, a team that opened their last two games in sluggish
fashion, showed more energy in the game's first five minutes. The
problem was that their shots were still not dropping as they missed
14 of their first 19.
Seattle used a 14-2 run to take a 25-11 lead. Wesley stopped the
momentum with three straight baskets, but the Sonics finished out
the quarter by scoring six points in the final 25 seconds to lead
31-17. In the quarter, the Sonics outscored the Hornets 24-4 in the
Mashburn scored 13 points in the second quarter, including
back-to-back 3-pointers during an 11-0 run. Seattle managed to hold
the edge at the half, 46-43.
Silas and former SuperSonic John Johnson talked, laughed
and embraced at halftime. The two were teammates on Seattle's
1978-79 World Championship team.... After making 37 of 39 free
throws against Golden State on Wednesday, New Orleans did not have
a free throw attempt until Mashburn made one with 1:16 remaining in
the first half. ... It was the first time in four games that the
Hornets did not allow 100 or more points. ...G Kenny Anderson did
not play for the second straight game. He was benched by coach Nate
McMillan for Wednesday's loss to San Antonio for missing a practice
and failing to call the Sonics to let them know.
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