HOUSTON — The three-point shooting that brought the Houston Rockets within one game of the Western Conference finals failed them Tuesday night.
The Rockets made only five for 27 three-pointer shots and missed an opportunity to close out the series as Seattle got 23 points, including four three-point baskets, from Hersey Hawkins in a 100-94 victory.
Houston leads the series, 3-2, and can wrap it up Thursday night at Seattle. The Sonics are seeking to become the sixth team in NBA history to come back from a 3-1 deficit.
Gary Payton scored 21 points and Shawn Kemp added 20 for the Sonics.
Seattle outshot Houston 48% to 39% and withstood a 31-point, 16-rebound performance by Hakeem Olajuwon and a 26-point effort from Clyde Drexler.
Houston's best outside shooters, Mario Elie and Matt Maloney, were a combined one for 15 from the field. Maloney was 0 for six and Elie 0 for five on three-pointers.
The Rockets missed their first 10 three-point attempts, then shot four for five in the second quarter to get back in the game.
Seattle led, 57-52, at halftime, and Hawkins had five points in a 14-4 spurt in the third quarter that gave Seattle a 76-62 lead with 4:39 left in the period. Houston was cold again in the quarter, missing its first six three-point shots.