Regular Season Series (Game 2 of 4)

Series starts 12/30

Game 1: Monday, December 30th
Game 2: Friday, January 3rd
Game 3: Sunday, March 16th
Game 4: Friday, March 21st

Nuggets 94


SuperSonics 82

(16-16, 6-7 home)

    7:30 PM ET, January 3, 2003

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    DEN 20 16 26 3294
    SEA 28 15 24 1582

    Top Performers

    Den: N. Hilario 17 Pts, 13 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Sea: G. Payton 25 Pts, 4 Reb, 14 Ast, 2 Stl

    Nuggets outscore Sonics 32-15 in fourth quarter

    SEATTLE (AP) -- The Denver Nuggets took what they learned from back-to-back games with the Seattle SuperSonics to snap a 10-game losing streak.

    The Nuggets lost to Seattle by two points on Monday night. They applied what they learned from that to come away with a 94-82 victory over the SuperSonics on Friday night.

    Juwan Howard scored 20 points for Denver, 14 in the second half.

    "We've been working really hard with film work and execution,'' Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "It paid off for us tonight. Even though we've been losing games, we haven't played like losers.''

    The Nuggets played aggressively, won the battle of the boards 40-31 and dominated in the paint by outscoring the Sonics 42-26.

    It was a recipe for success, which is something the Denver players haven't experienced much this season.

    "We were almost celebrating like we won the championship,'' Bzdelik said. "We're really competing out there, trying to play defense and putting a lot of effort out there. When we come up short, it's tough on us. This win was real good. Hopefully we can keep winning.''

    Donnell Harvey scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and Nene Hilario added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who won for the first time since Dec. 7, and for the second time in 17 games.

    Gary Payton had 25 points and 14 assists for Seattle, while Desmond Mason scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half. Rashard Lewis and Predrag Drobnjak each had 13 points for Seattle, which failed to extend a short two-game winning streak.

    "Defensively, they were aggressive,'' Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "It felt like they could score at will. If they weren't scoring, they were at the free throw line.''

    Denver attempted a Sonics' opponent-high 39 free throws, making a not-so-flashy 66.7 percent. Seattle could only hope to have that type of success at the line as it went 13-of-25, including Payton's 4-of-9.

    Bzdelik said his players watched 30 minutes of tape from the previous meeting with Seattle on Friday morning, and then reviewed it for another 30 minutes before the game. He said the players found some things that would help in their offensive execution.

    Payton hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to end the third quarter, giving Seattle a 67-62 lead, but the Nuggets turned it up in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Sonics 32-15.

    Denver made 11 of its 14 shots in the runaway fourth quarter.

    "We played good defense, and made our shots in the fourth quarter,'' Howard said. "It's nice to come up with a win. We need to build some confidence, and this is a step in the right direction because Seattle is a good team.''

    The Sonics were short-handed, playing without injured guards Kenny Anderson and Brent Barry. Anderson has a sore left calf after getting kicked in Monday's game against Denver. Barry has tendinitis in his left knee.

    Mason got his third start of the season and responded early, hitting his first eight shots. But he made only one of his final eight.

    The Sonics started strong in the first quarter, led by Mason going 6-for-6 from the field. Mason scored from the perimeter, in the paint, and on the break. He scored eight straight points for the Sonics during a 2-minute stretch of the period, which ended with Seattle leading 28-20.

    A free throw by Howard cut Seattle's lead to 33-30 with 5:28 left in the second quarter, but the Sonics responded with a 10-4 run that gave them a 43-36 halftime lead.

    Game notes

    With 14 assists, Payton increased his career total to 7,221 and passed Lenny Wilkens (7,210) into eighth place in NBA history. ... Seattle's Vladimir Radmanovic, who had made 13 of 21 shots over the previous three games, was only 1-of-9 from the field. ... It was only the third time in 23 games that Denver has rallied to win after trailing at the end of the first quarter.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 94 82
    FGM-FGA 33-61 (.541) 32-80 (.400)
    3PM-3PA 2-10 (.200) 5-13 (.385)
    FTM-FTA 26-39 (.667) 13-25 (.520)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 10-40 16-31
    Assists 21 22
    Turnovers 15 8
    Steals 4 5
    Blocks 3 1
    Fast Break Points 1 5
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 24 (3/0) 25 (3/0)

    Top Performers

    Nene Hilario Hilario
    Points: 17
    Reb: 13
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Gary Payton Payton
    Points: 25
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 14
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0