Sonics sluggish in exhibition loss to Houston

  • Tuesday, October 17, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Scripps-McClatchy Western Service

HOUSTON – The Seattle SuperSonics’ third preseason game started 15 minutes late as Compaq Center lights inadvertently shut off. The contest ended on a thunderous dunk from Steve Francis.

In between, the arena scoreboard temporarily froze, shots more often than not rimmed out, players zigged when they should have zagged, and the Sonics struggled to get into a true rhythm.

In other words, this was your average preseason game.

In a matchup where most of the starters played the first and third quarters and little else, the Rockets handed Seattle its first defeat with a 101-91 win that seemed sluggish throughout.

“We just didn’t get the job done,” said new Sonics center Patrick Ewing. “Things just didn’t go our way. We’ve got to learn from it and move on, and make sure it doesn’t happen in the regular season.”

Said Seattle coach Paul Westphal: “We played like we had a ten-hour flight and got in at 3 (o’clock) in the morning. Oh yeah, we did. We were just a step slow all night long. (The late arrival is) as good a reason as I can see for us losing. We have to take better care of the ball and work on our turnovers.”

Seattle shot below 40 percent for most of the game but finally crept over that mark with its second unit on the floor for much of the final quarter.

The Sonics closed to within four points with less than a minute remaining in the game, but the Rockets came up with an 8-2 run to end the threat.

“We let them have some key stretches when we had a chance to get back in the game a couple of times,” Westphal said. “They had the spurts instead of us.

“But it wasn’t all bad. There was enough good stuff we can take from it.”

That mainly being the play of Rashard Lewis, a Houston native who may still hold a grudge against the Rockets for not picking out of high school when they had a chance in the 1998 draft. Lewis, who dropped in 18 points against Utah on Saturday, scored 14 points and grabbed five boards in 32 minutes.

“We already take Rashard for granted,” Westphal said. “That’s how good he’s gotten quickly. He just goes out there and gives a professional effort every night.

“We’ve put a lot of time in with him – not that it’s been a chore. It’s been a pleasure and he’s responded very well.”

Desmond Mason also impressed, not only with his 10 points, six rebounds and four assists, but on the defensive side of the ball as well. Mason was matched up with Francis and Cuttino Mobley, one of the most athletic backcourt tandems in the league.

Save for Dickey Simpkins’ three minutes, Seattle’s starters played the entire first quarter and were relatively sluggish at that, shooting under 37 percent in the first 12 minutes. Vin Baker, Desmond Mason and Gary Payton accounted for all of the Sonics’ points in the first quarter, which produced a 21-21 score.

With second and third stringers taking all of the minutes in the second quarter, Seattle’s shooting percentage dipped even lower while Houston used a 7-0 and 9-2 run late in the second to take a 45-38 lead into halftime.

Francis and Mobley were the lone starters on the floor in the second quarter, and the former led the way at the break with 11 points and four assists en route to his game-high 19 points on the night. Walt Williams matched with 19 of his own.

Payton seemed spurred by an ongoing quarrel between himself and Mobley. The two were handed double technical fouls at the 7:36 mark in the third quarter.

Payton led the Sonics with 16 points.

Seattle got a scare with 11:50 left in the game when Ruben Patterson went down and had to be carried off the court by teammates after being kneed in the thigh by Williams. The injury is apparently just a severe bruise, and Patterson will be re-evaluated today.

“Hopefully, I’ll be ready for Thursday but if not, Saturday,” Patterson said. “I’ll be OK.”

Talk to us

More in Sports

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) and Seattle Seahawks linebacker Darrell Taylor (52) walk off the field after an NFL football practice, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, team's facilities in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
How Seahawks’ Tyler Lockett has evolved on and off the field

The almost 31-year-old is fighting ‘old age,’ but don’t expect a drop in production anytime soon.

Collin Morikawa, hits to the 13th green during the first round of the Memorial golf tournament, Thursday, June 1, 2023, in Dublin, Ohio. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Commentary: PGA Tour merger with LIV a vile act of hypocrisy

The PGA is joining forces with its moral enemy whose presence has been constantly condemned by every Tour member with a soapbox.

Empty seats are shown at Husky Stadium during an NCAA college football game between Washington and Oregon State, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020, in Seattle. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans were not permitted to attend the game. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
State football title games moving to Husky Stadium for ’23 season

The WIAA announced Tuesday a one-year agreement with the University of Washington to host the games for the upcoming season.

Giants pitcher Ryan Walker, an Arlington High School graduate, works against the Pirates during the sixth inning of a game on May 30 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Arlington graduate Walker reaches big leagues with Giants

The WSU alum was drafted in 2018 and has since climbed the minor-league ladder until his promotion to the majors on May 21.

Lake Stevens’ Cole Becker celebrates a touchdown with teammates after putting his team up against Kennedy Catholic in the WIAA 4A State Football Championship game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
2022-23 Herald Athletic Cup: Lake Stevens captures 1st place

The Vikings win the competition, which rewards local high schools for their overall athletic success, for the second straight year.

Spring 2023 All-Wesco teams

Note: All-Wesco teams are chosen by the league’s coaches. For any misspellings… Continue reading

Seattle Seahawks linebacker Jordyn Brooks (56) and safety Jamal Adams (33) talk during NFL football practice, Tuesday, June 6, 2023, at the team's facilities in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
5 things to watch during Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp

The camp is only three days long, but some clarity could arise on a number of issues.

AquaSox bullpen falters in 9th in loss to Canadians

Everett carries a two-run lead into the final inning, but a late grand slam lifts Vancouver to an 8-5 win.

San Diego Padres' Fernando Tatis Jr., right, gets up after safely steals second base as Seattle Mariners shortstop J.P. Crawford looks on during the fourth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 7, 2023, in San Diego. Tatis Jr. advanced to third on the throwing error by catcher Cal Raleigh. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Kirby struggles, Mariners fall to Padres to split short series

The young righty gives up five runs and 11 hits in a season-low 3.2 innings as Seattle loses 10-3.

Most Read