The Seattle SuperSonics’ 10-0 record might have been intimidating, but it also presented the Cleveland Cavaliers with a welcome opportunity.
“We knew we had the chance to do something 10 other teams couldn’t,” John Battle said Saturday night after he scored 26 points at Richfield, Ohio, to help the Cavaliers hand Seattle its first loss, 101-90.
The SuperSonics’ 10-game streak represented the second-best start in franchise history. They had a 12-game streak to begin the 1982-83 season.
The loss was Seattle’s first by more than 10 points since last Feb. 1, a span of 51 regular-season games.
“We talked a little before the start of the season about the kind of streak we might get at the start,” said Seattle forward Shawn Kemp, who scored 26 points and had 14 rebounds. “We were hoping to get through this road trip with it still going.
“We knew if we could get past these guys, we’d have a chance.”
The SuperSonics, intent on stopping Brad Daugherty’s inside scoring, sagged on him all night, repeatedly giving Battle open 15- to 20-foot jump shots. He responded with the highest point total in his three seasons with the Cavaliers.
Gary Payton scored 26 for the SuperSonics. Other than Kemp and Payton, the rest of the SuperSonics made only 27% of their shots.
The SuperSonics have lost eight of nine at the Richfield Coliseum, and Cleveland was seeking revenge for a Nov. 11 loss at Seattle.
“I’m glad we don’t have to play them again,” said Cleveland guard Mark Price, who made two big jump shots in the final 1:30.
Milwaukee 89, Boston 85--Jon Barry had a basket, steal and blocked shot in the final 21 seconds at Milwaukee as the Bucks ended a 10-game losing streak.
Barry’s go-ahead basket with 21 seconds left--his first field goal of the game--put the Bucks ahead, 87-85. Derek Strong’s steal and free throw with 11 seconds left increased the lead, Barry followed with another steal and Brad Lohaus made a free throw with seven seconds left to finish the scoring.
Barry then blocked Xavier McDaniel’s three-point shot with two seconds left as the Bucks won for the first time since beating Cleveland on opening night, Nov. 5.
New York 112, Detroit 85--Anthony Mason had season highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Knicks used a 14-0 third-quarter run for the victory at New York.
Patrick Ewing and John Starks each scored 17 points. Charles Smith had 15 in his first game since suffering a knee injury Nov. 8.
Miami 114, Charlotte 100--The Heat rallied from a 17-point second-quarter deficit at Miami.
Glen Rice of the Heat scored 29 points, and Matt Geiger had nine points during a 16-0 third-quarter run.
After Johnny Newman scored seven consecutive points to give the Hornets a 60-53 lead, four baskets and a free throw by Geiger keyed the rally that gave the Heat a 69-60 advantage with 3:51 left in the third quarter.
Atlanta 111, Philadelphia 79--Mookie Blaylock had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists at Atlanta as the Hawks extended their win streak to eight games.
Kevin Willis scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds. Stacey Augmon had 17 points and Dominique Wilkins 16 for the Hawks, whose eight consecutive victories follow a four-game losing streak.
Clarence Weatherspoon scored 17 points for the 76ers. Shawn Bradley had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington 112, Orlando 110--Michael Adams scored 24 points to lead the Bullets at Landover, Md.
Rex Chapman and Tom Gugliotta each scored 19 points for the Bullets.
Nick Anderson scored 35 points for the Magic and Shaquille O’Neal had 23 points and 11 rebounds.
San Antonio 104, Dallas 80--David Robinson, playing in only the first three quarters, scored 28 points at San Antonio in the Spurs’ 12th consecutive victory over the Mavericks.
Jamal Mashburn missed 17 of 19 shots, but finished with 14 points for the Mavericks, who have lost eight in a row and are an NBA-worst 1-11. The Mavericks’ 80 points tied their lowest offensive output of the season.
Phoenix 120, Utah 98--Kevin Johnson scored 26 points for the Suns in the first three quarters and Charles Barkley had 25 points and 12 rebounds during the same span at Phoenix.
Barkley played 35 minutes, scoring 14 points in the second quarter, when the Suns outscored the Jazz, 33-20, for a 56-38 halftime lead.
Denver 111, New Jersey 89--The Nuggets made 70.8% of their shots in the first quarter en route to the victory at Denver.
Rodney Rogers scored 23 points for the Nuggets.