Potential turns to reality in Sonic win

  • Rich Myhre / Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, November 27, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

By Rich Myhre

Herald Writer

SEATTLE – For the Seattle SuperSonics, it may have been their best game of the season.

For guard Brent Barry, it was the best game of his career.

Two nights after a disappointing effort against the Indiana Pacers – “I was abysmal,” he recalled ruefully – Barry scorched the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves with a career-best 31 points, dropping in one dazzling shot after another from the perimeter. Backed by the 24 points of Vin Baker and the 20 points of Gary Payton, it was enough to lift the Sonics to an impressive 112-102 win over the T-wolves, who had arrived with a dandy 10-2 record.

“I thought it was a fantastic job by this team, competing on both ends of the floor,” said Seattle coach Nate McMillan, adding, “If we continue to play like that, we’ve got a good shot at winning (a lot of games).”

The Sonics don’t give out game balls after victories, but if they did the prize would certainly have been awarded to Barry. He dropped in 10 of 15 field goals, including five of eight from the 3-point stripe. In addition, he converted all six of his free throw tries, distributed 10 assists (one off his career high), snagged six rebounds and tacked on two steals in 42 minutes.

In the second half, when the Sonics pushed a three-point halftime margin into double digits, Barry made his first seven shots. Each one was outside of 18 feet, including four from the 3-point stripe. He did not miss until his final attempt of the game with just under three minutes to play, and by then the game was essentially out of reach.

“I’ve been shooting the ball pretty poorly the last couple of weeks, and I just felt like I was due to have some type of night where I put the ball in the hole,” said Barry, who was 5-for-16 against Indiana, including 1-for-8 from the 3-point stripe. “I wouldn’t say that I was feeling it or in a zone or anything. I just made the shots that I’ve missed the last couple of games.”

Barry’s most remarkable shot came midway through the fourth quarter. With the 24-second clock winding down, Seattle’s Calvin Booth flipped a desperation pass to Barry. He caught the pass with one second on the shot clock and released an arching 3-pointer in the same motion, with the ball touching only twine.

The T-wolves had closed within five points before Barry’s shot, and it was as close as they would come. Seattle nudged the lead back into double figures and kept it there for all but a few of the remaining seconds.

“Barry was the difference tonight,” said Minnesota coach Flip Saunders. “He did everything for them.”

While Barry was having a decisive performance on the outside, Baker was winning his matchup with Minnesota superstar Kevin Garnett on the inside. Though his numbers tapered in the second half after a brilliant first half, Baker finished with a season-high in scoring while clearly outplaying Garnett through most of the game. Garnett managed to score nine of his 22 points in the final three minutes, but by then Seattle’s lead was too large to overcome.

“He’s a great player,” said Seattle’s Calvin Booth, who shared some of the defensive assignment on Garnett. “We just tried to do the best we could against him and I thought we did a decent job. He got hot a little bit at the end of the game, but I think for the most part we did a good job containing him.”

Though the Sonics finished with a lopsided deficit in rebounds, 53-34, there were enough other highlights to compensate. Seattle outshot the T-wolves from the field, 3-point line and free throw line, and forced the visitors into 16 turnovers while committing just eight themselves.

Said McMillan, “I told the team, ‘Minnesota is a very good team. They’ve been together for a few years and they know what to expect from each other, night in and night out.’ I challenged our guys, ‘Do we know what to expect from each other? Do we know Vin Baker will get into the post? Do we know Brent Barry is going to be aggressive? Will Gary Payton pass the ball if there’s a double-team and take advantage if there’s single coverage? Will Desmond Mason bring energy? Do we know that about each other?’ I thought tonight, all those little things, the guys did well.”

The decision raised Seattle’s winning streak to three and gives the Sonics a needed boost of encouragement and momentum heading into tonight’s game against the Utah Jazz at the always-tough Delta Center in Salt Lake City.

“I’m just excited about the potential this team has,” Barry said. “Getting healthy and having some of the weapons that we have, we have the potential to be good. Whether or not we reach that potential is up to us, and that’s really where it lies right now.”

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Arlington junior guard Leyton Martin drives on Marysville Getchell’s Bubba Palocol during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Martin scores 43, Arlington boys outlast Getchell in OT thriller

The Eagles earn their second straight trip to the Tacoma Dome with a 76-72 win.

Everett senior Mae Washington pulls up and shoots a jumper against Seattle Prep during a playoff matchup at Shorewood High School on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Shoreline, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett girls oust Seattle Prep for return trip to the Tacoma Dome

Alana Washington’s 33 points leads the Seagulls to a 64-60 victory.

Tulalip Heritage freshman Amare’ Hatch tries to force his way to the rim against Columbia Adventist Academy during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Tulalip Heritage boys bounced by Columbia Adventist

The Hawks’ late push falls short in a 70-63 loss during the Class 1B state regionals.

State basketball roundup for Saturday, Feb. 24

State basketball prep roundup for Saturday, Feb. 24: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Jackson’s Ryan Mcferran (0) shoots the ball during a boys game between Jackson and Puyallup at Shorewood High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Shoreline, WA. Jackson won, 55-48. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Jackson boys overcome adversity again, reach round of 12

The Timberwolves survive foul trouble to defeat Puyallup 55-48 in a Class 4A loser-out game.

Lake Stevens’ Tessa Anastasi heads to the basket against Skyview during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens girls book their spot at the Tacoma Dome

The Vikings knock off Skyview 47-33 to advance to the Class 4A round of 12.

Davis’ Blake Garza (2) dunks the ball during a boys game between Glacier Peak and Davis at Shorewood High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Shoreline, WA. Glacier Peak fell, 65-54.. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Glacier Peak boys outmuscled by Davis in 65-54 loss

The Grizzlies lose the battle of the boards as they’re knocked into the Class 4A round of 12.

Mountlake Terrace boys drop heartbreaker to O’Dea

A last-second bucket results in a 59-57 defeat as the Hawks drop into the 3A state round of 12.

Snohomish junior Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles shoots a free-throw in a close game against Garfield during a playoff matchup at Arlington High School on Friday, Feb. 23, 2024, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish girls’ rally falls short against Garfield

Katie Fiso and the Bulldogs send the Panthers to the round of 12 with a 46-40 loss.

Toby Trichler, right, yells during a team cheer before the start of the game on Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024 in Shoreline, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Sultan boys overcome hurdles to break 15-year state drought

A flooded gym and rotating lineup haven’t stopped the Turks from reaching their goal.

State basketball roundup for Friday, Feb. 23

State basketball roundup for Friday, Feb. 23: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks tight end Will Dissly (89) stiff arms Detroit Lions linebacker Alex Anzalone (34) while carrying the ball against the Detroit Lions during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 17, 2023, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Why the Seahawks could part with ex-Husky Will Dissly this offseason

The UW product is the only tight end under contract for 2024, but the team could save nearly $7 million in salary cap space if he’s released.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.