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No Rest for Winners: Barkley, Majerle Rise : NBA playoffs: They go on a tear as Suns take 3-2 edge over SuperSonics in Western Conference finals.

June 02, 1993|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PHOENIX — Charles Barkley would have nothing to do with suggestions from his coach, Paul Westphal.

Wrong move, Barkley said.

"Who am I to argue with him?" Westphal said later.

Who is anybody? If Barkley didn't want to come out of the game for a quick rest, he didn't come out. He earned that right, that and a 3-2 series lead for the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference finals after his 43 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in the 120-114 victory Tuesday night over the Seattle SuperSonics.

Nobody was about to yank Dan Majerle out of the game, either. He had 34 points and seven rebounds, but supporting roles don't come much more glamorous. Majerle had an NBA playoff record eight three-pointers--in 10 attempts--including one with 21 seconds to play that turned out to be decisive.

In the end, Barkley and Majerle were lifted for substitutes with only 2.9 seconds left for the first time in the game. They came out instead of playing to the end so they could get ovations from the 19,023 at America West Arena. That they exited at the same time was only fitting.

They had 77 of the Suns' 120 points.

With Barkley making 16 of 22 shots and Majerle 12 of 17, the Suns, while finishing an impressive 54.3% overall, were 38.1% without them.

Majerle had four more three-pointers than the SuperSonics, Barkley nine more rebounds and two more assists than any one Seattle player.

And they wouldn't come out.

"You can rest when you die," Barkley said.

The SuperSonics are a loss away from a summer-long rest, elimination could come as soon as Thursday at the Seattle Coliseum, all because of what happened in the fourth quarter Tuesday.

Barkley had his triple-double with 6:24 to play with an assist on Kevin Johnson's basket that gave the Suns a 100-91 lead. The cushion was nine points with 2:38 to play, 111-102, when Barkley slammed in the rebound on one of Majerle's missed three-pointers.

The SuperSonics reloaded. Ricky Pierce made a three-pointer, then added one free throw on the next possession. Sam Perkins made two from the line with 1:02 left. Finally, when Shawn Kemp connected on a short baseline jump shot with 35 seconds remaining for two of his 33 points, Seattle trailed only 111-110.

The Suns had committed turnovers on four consecutive possessions, two by Oliver Miller. That ended when Majerle swished the last of his three-pointers, this one from the left side with 20.7 seconds left. That gave Majerle the record--he passed Chuck Person for the mark--and a 114-110 Phoenix lead.

"You can't ever expect anyone to make eight of 10 three-pointers in the playoffs," Westphal said. "Unbelievable. Hardly anybody can make that many in an empty gym."

Said Seattle Coach George Karl: "You don't like to get beat by threes, especially by a guy you know can make them. But he was in a zone I don't know if we could have defended."

Said Majerle: "Tonight seemed like I never really slowed down. When we were behind or needed a big basket, it always seemed like I got the ball."

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