What a Christmas Day it was at KeyArena! The 1996 Seattle Supersonics took the court to beat their rivals to the south, the 1991 Portland Trail Blazers, 118-106 in front of a sell out crowd of 17,072.
The Sonics were led by superstar power forward Shawn Kemp, who led the team with 28 points and 23 rebounds. Gary Payton chipped in with 25 points and 10 assists.
"It was great to come back here and get a win for the people of Seattle on Christmas. These basketball starved fans really deserve a team. I'm glad we got them the win," said Payton right after the game.
The Sonics raced out to a quick 9-0 in the first 2:10 of the game, but then that's when Jerome Kersey took control. Kersey had two steals and six points over the next eight minutes to help the Blazers go up 29-22 to end the first quarter.
The Blazers weren't done yet though.
Clifford Robinson opened the second quarter with a dunk, Kersey hit a fade away from the left of the low block, then Terry Porter knocked down a three and back to back baskets by Kevin Duckworth extended the Blazers lead to 44-31.
George Karl called a timeout; you could audibly hear him laying into his team about their effort from the upper bowl. The Key was that quiet.
The Sonics came right out on an 11-2 run fueled by back-to-back-to-back threes by Sam Perkins and Nate McMillan. Perkins finished with 19 points on 7-16 shoot, including three, three pointers.
The crowd was on fire and the Sonics were feeding off of it! They battled back to cut the Blazers lead down to two, 56-54 with 34 seconds left in the half after two Detlef Schrempf free throws.
Clyde Drexler had a chance to extend the lead before the half, but missed on two chances in the closing seconds of the half. That's when Kemp snagged his tenth rebound of the game with two seconds left- he took two dribbles, threw the ball up from 70 feet and banked it in, giving the Sonics a 57-56 lead.
A lead they would never give up.
After halftime the Sonics pressured the Blazers 94 feet, forcing them into 13 second-half turnovers and stretching their lead to 101-82 with just under nine minutes to play.
The icing on the cake came at the end of the game when Steve Scheffler hit a three pointer with the shot clock winding down at the end of the game to send the fans home ultra happy.
Clyde Drexler led the Blazers with 23 points, Terry Porter had 22 and Jerome Kersey had 15, while Buck Williams had 13 points and nine rebounds.
The two teams will meet once again on Valentine's Day 2014 to kick off All-Star weekend. The game will be in held in Portland this time around. The rubber match will be in Seattle, if necessary, and will be sometime after the draft.
|Portland Trailblazers at Seattle Supersonics|
|Dec 25, 2013||1ST||2ND||3RD||4TH||SCORE|