Gary Payton, Hersey Hawkins and Shawn Kemp all sparkled to help the Sonics stave off elimination for the second game in a row after losing the first three games of the best-of-seven series, which headed back to Chicago last night for Game Six.
"We were determined," Haw- kins said after the game on Friday night. "We played too doggone hard to let them celebrate on our floor." The Seattle coach, George Karl, agreed: "I think that game was the biggest test we've ever had as a basketball team, and we've had a lot of them this season. Our men showed up and it was a great privilege to be a part of what went down out there."
Payton, the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, received a lot of help from his friends in keeping Michael Jordan under control. Payton had a team-high 23 points along with nine rebounds and six assists. He was Jordan's main defender for the first three quarters, but Hawkins assumed primary duties in the fourth and finished with 21 points and five rebounds of his own.
"He's a scrappy guy," Jordan said of Hawkins. "I think he was the difference for them." Jordan finished with a game-high 26 points but scored just nine in the second half. The Sonics swarmed at Jordan, no matter who was assigned to him. "He's been seeing a lot of crowds and that's why he's not so effective," Payton said.
When Seattle double-teamed him, Jordan said: "I had to move the ball around and trust my team-mates to make the shot, and they had a tough time shooting the ball today."
Kemp added 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Seattle. It was the first game that both teams had three players with 20 points or more this series.
Unlike Payton, Jordan had little help from his friends. Scottie Pippen was the next highest scorer for the Chicago Bulls with 14 points after shooting just five from 20 attempts.Reuse content