SuperSonics 100, Rockets 94
HOUSTON (AP) _ The 3-point shooting that brought the Houston Rockets within one game of the conference finals failed them Tuesday night.
The Rockets shot just 5-for-27 on 3-pointers and missed an opportunity to close out the series as the Seattle SuperSonics got 23 points, including four 3-pointers, from Hersey Hawkins in a 100-94 victory.
Houston leads the series 3-2 and could wrap it up Thursday night at Seattle. The Sonics are seeking to become the sixth team in NBA history to successfully come back from a 3-1 deficit.
Gary Payton scored 21 points and Shawn Kemp added 20 for the Sonics.
Seattle outshot Houston 48 percent to 39 percent and withstood a 31-point, 16-rebound performance by Hakeem Olajuwon and a 26-point effort from Clyde Drexler.
Houston’s best outside shooters, Mario Elie and Matt Maloney, were a combined 1-for-15 from the field. Maloney was 0-for-6 and Elie 0-for-5 on 3-pointers.
The Rockets missed their first 10 3-point attempts, then shot 4-of-5 in the second quarter to get back in the game
Seattle led 57-52 at halftime, and Hawkins had five points in a 14-4 spurt in the third quarter that gave Seattle a 76-62 lead with 4:39 left in the period. Houston was cold again in the third quarter, missing its first six 3-point shots.
When the Rockets tried to rally in the final four minutes of the game, Seattle answered almost all of Houston’s baskets with one of its own.
A tip-in by Olajuwon with 3:58 left pulled Houston to 94-86, but Detlef Schrempf responded with a turnaround baseline jumper. A layup by Charles Barkley was followed by two foul shots by Payton, and a 3-pointer by Drexler with 2:17 left was answered by Kemp on a tip-in with 2:01 left to put Seattle ahead 100-91.
Schrempf missed shots on Seattle’s next two possessions and Elie went to the line with 44 seconds left with a chance to pull Houston within five. But he missed the first before making the second, leaving the score 100-94.
After Kemp missed a jumper with 21 seconds left, Barkley missed two straight 3-point attempts from the corner as well as a 2-point attempt.
When the ball bounced to Barkley again with two seconds left, he slammed it to the ground rather than try another jumper.
Notes:Maloney is better on the road than in the Summit. In three road games, he’s averaging 23.7 points and 4.0 assists and he’s hitting 54.3 percent of his field goals on the road and 65.5 per cent of his 3-point attempts. ...Terry Cummings picked up three fouls in the first two minutes of the game and didn’t return until late in the third quarter.