SuperSonics 103, Rockets 95
Apr. 12, 1998
SEATTLE (AP) _ Hersey Hawkins scored 20 points, Detlef Schrempf had 16 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and the Seattle SuperSonics defeated the Houston Rockets 103-95 Sunday in a possible first-round playoff preview.
Hawkins scored 16 points in the third period when the Sonics (59-20) took the lead for good. Seattle trails Utah (59-19) by one game in the loss column in the battle for best record in the West, with the winner likely to meet the Rockets in the first round.
Kevin Willis led Houston with 28 points and Clyde Drexler added 25. Willis' two free throws made it 91-84 with 5:30 left before Sam Perkins' 3-point shot and a pair of baskets by Vin Baker ignited a 9-2 run that gave Sonics a 100-86 lead.
Gary Payton had 19 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Sonics, who won the season series 3-1.
Seattle's bench outscored Rockets reserves 30-10 as Perkins had 10 points and six rebounds and Jerome Kersey added 10 points.
After Baker went to the bench with his fourth with 10:28 left in the third, the Hawkins took over. He scored seven straight points as Seattle turned a 53-52 deficit into a 59-53 lead with 9:03 left in the period.
Hawkins made six straight shots overall, including four 3-pointers, as the Sonics opened a 74-60 lead.
Willis had 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting and hit an 18-foot jump shot just before the halftime buzzer to give the Rockets a 52-49 halftime lead.
The Rockets shot 8-of-14 from 3-point range in the first half. Drexler was 3-for-4 and Brent Price was 2-for-3.
Notes: Greg Anthony did not dress for the Sonics because of sore ribs. It was the second straight game he has missed. ... ...Dale Ellis suffered an abdominal bruise in the second period but returned in the third quarter. ... Charles Barkley did not dress for the Rockets because of a groin pull suffered Friday against Sacramento.