San Antonio routs Sonics 112-85

  • Wednesday, November 22, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO – The Seattle SuperSonics stepped on the court in San Antonio rattled by Wednesday’s off-court events and never stood a chance against the Spurs.

Seattle slapped top scorer Gary Payton with a one-game suspension for arguing with coach Paul Westphal, then lifted the sanction shortly before tipoff, and the Sonics dropped to 5-8 with a 112-85 loss.

“They might have lost this game before it started,” said Spurs center David Robinson, who hit all six of his free throws and scored 14 points.

“They had some challenges. It’s tough to come out here, and especially against a good team, when you have some strife, a little bit of strife going on. It’s tough.”

Payton led Seattle with 18 points, seven below his average heading into the game. He went only 6-of-15 from the floor as Seattle shot 38.6 percent to San Antonio’s 44.7 percent.

The All-Star guard was held scoreless in the second and fourth quarters. The Sonics scored just 11 points in the second, when the Spurs took the lead for good.

On Tuesday night, teammates had to restrain Payton when he confronted Westphal during a timeout in the fourth quarter a win over Dallas.

Payton didn’t want to talk about their argument. He attributed Wednesday’s loss to slow rotations on defense and poor shooting.

The team suspended Payton on Wednesday but later gave him the go-ahead to play, saying he had apologized.

Earlier this month, Westphal offered to resign, frustrated by his team’s bickering. But the players wouldn’t let him.

“We are OK, we are fine,” Payton said Wednesday. “I’m the point guard and I play for him. I come to play basketball everyday. That’s what they pay me for.”

Westphal, who said before the game that it was his decision to allow Payton to play, reiterated that they have cleared the air.

“We just played a horrible game,” he said. “It’s hard to play out emotions in front of the media.”

The Spurs, meanwhile, made their free throws, going 32-of-40 from the line, and allowed the Sonics to score only six points on nine turnovers. The Spurs converted 18 turnovers into 20 points.

Reserve Malik Rose led the Spurs with 22 points, shooting 12-of-14 from the foul line, and had 10 rebounds.

Derek Anderson added 18 points for San Antonio, while Sean Elliott scored 12, and Tim Duncan had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Seattle reserve Jelani McCoy had 12 points. Rashard Lewis had 11 points and seven rebounds before leaving the game with 8:10 left in the third quarter with a bruised left calf.

Vin Baker scored 10 for the Sonics but was hampered by foul trouble.

The Spurs broke open the game early in the second quarter with an 11-2 run built on slam dunks by Anderson and Duncan. San Antonio never relented, expanding the lead to 21 at the half and leading by as many as 35 in the fourth quarter.

Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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