SuperSonics 111, Rockets 94
YOKOHAMA, Japan (AP) _ Shawn Kemp had 29 points and 20 rebounds as the Seattle SuperSonics beat the Houston Rockets 111-94 in the second regular-season opener played in Asia.
Behind 85-80 early in the fourth quarter, the SuperSonics pulled away with a 23-2 spurt that put the game out of reach.
Kemp started the game with three slam dunks and four offensive rebounds in the first quarter, electrifying the Japanese crowd. He sparked the Sonics to a 12-0 run late in the first quarter, which ended with Seattle ahead 28-19.
Led by guard Kenny Smith’s nine second-quarter points, Houston narrowed the deficit to 50-45 at halftime. The Rockets then swept past the Sonics as guard Vernon Maxwell scored 13 third-quarter points.
Smith, Maxwell and center Hakeem Olajuwon paced the Rockets with 21 points each.
The game, which drew a standing room-only crowd of 14,544, was the second NBA season opener to be played in Japan. The Utah Jazz and the Phoenix Suns split a weekend series in 1990 in what was the first regular-season U.S. professional game held outside North America.
″Just being active and running around the court ... gave me a lot of points,″ Kemp said.
Sonics coach George Karl said it was Kemp’s early jams that woke up a quiet crowd at Yokohama Arena.
″Shawn’s dunks and some of the spectacular plays in the first half ... put many of (the fans) on our side,″ Karl said.
Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich said he planned to stick to his game plan for Sunday’s game in Japan. He said he’d review the tape of Saturday afternoon’s game to see what went wrong in the fourth quarter, when his team managed only 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting.