Sonics Dump Pistons In Antagonistic Match
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The NBA education of Gary Payton continued yesterday, with the latest learning experience for the Seattle SuperSonics' No. 1 draft choice coming in his team's 101-82 exhibition rout of the Detroit Pistons.
Payton was held to two points on 1-of-4 shooting, but he conducted a flashy fast break and helped harass Detroit's guards into a 7-of-23 shooting night.
``The things he's doing look ordinary to some people because they expect more from the No. 2 pick,'' said Sonics Coach K.C. Jones. ``He's going to make mistakes and he's made a bunch, but he doesn't let that get him down. That's what I like.''
Payton said the game was no real indication of his progress.
``It's not the regular season,'' he said. ``They weren't pushing it up hard. We're still just getting it together.''
Payton said Seattle fans may have to prepare themselves for few big scoring nights on his part.
``It's going slow,'' Payton said. ``And I'll get my points. But people expect me to come in here and be an impact scorer. We have lots of scorers.
``It's more important for me to make the assists and play good defense. It's important for the team to get better, not for me to score. I'm going to be the general now.''
The game had plenty of warriors, at times degenerating into little more than a shoving match punctuated by jump shots.
Shawn Kemp led the Sonics with 15 points and nine rebounds, while William Bedford paced the Pistons with 26 points.
But the game was marred by violence unbecoming to an exhibition of basketball.
Olden Polynice was ejected in the fourth quarter for elbowing Detroit's Bill Laimbeer. Replays seemed to indicate Laimbeer was pushed from behind into Polynice, who hit Laimbeer with his shoulder.
The Piston center marched straight out the tunnel into the locker room, holding his jaw, while the referees ejected Polynice. Laimbeer did not return.
The trouble started in the third quarter, when Seattle's Mike Higgins squared off with Laimbeer and James Edwards of Detroit.
In the first quarter, Pistons captain Isiah Thomas left the game after being poked in the eye by Seattle guard Sedale Threatt. Thomas fell into the photographer's row, and writhed in pain for several seconds.The Pistons' trainer said Thomas required a stitch under his eye to close the wound.
Much of the game turned into a showcase for the inside games of Bedford and Kemp. Kemp kept the the partisan crowd on its toes with three dunks, while Bedford's post-up game continued to show flashes of brilliance.
-- Seattle's next exhibition game will be Tuesday against Chicago at the Kingdome. The 7 p.m. contest, will be the second of three preseason meetings between the Sonics and the Bulls. Seats are still available.
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