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Rockets Get Big Finish From Big 3

Western Conference: Drexler, Olajuwon and Barkley help Houston win at Seattle and take 2-1 edge.

May 10, 1997|From Associated Press

SEATTLE — With a little something from each of them in the final 20 seconds, Houston's three superstars gave the Rockets all they needed to defeat the Seattle SuperSonics in Game 3.

Clyde Drexler broke a late tie on a tough baseline jumper with 18.5 seconds left, Hakeem Olajuwon blocked Shawn Kemp's ensuing shot and Charles Barkley iced the victory by making two free throws with 6.5 seconds left as Houston beat Seattle, 97-93, Friday night.

It gave the Rockets a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series, which resumes Sunday at KeyArena.

Olajuwon led the Rockets with 24 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and three blocks. Drexler, who played the last several minutes with five fouls, had 19.

Kemp and Gary Payton each scored 28 points for Seattle.

Drexler, who finished with 19 shots, made his 15-footer over Detlef Schrempf. Olajuwon then blocked Kemp's shot from three feet and Barkley was fouled by Payton on the rebound. He made the first free throw, then gestured and cursed at a heckling fan before making the second.

It was Houston's first playoff victory in Seattle since May 7, 1987. The SuperSonics had beaten the Rockets 10 times in Seattle in the playoffs since then.

Seattle came back from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter and used a 25-5 run over the final 6 1/2 minutes to take a 79-72 lead into the fourth.

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