- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
It was fitting that Unseld should be the hero at that point; he had played brilliantly, with 16 points and 16 rebounds in 50 minutes. But in the overtime the heroes were Gus and D.J., scoring eight of Seattle's 10 points to finish with 36 and 32 respectively, and Sikma, scoring the other two on a pair of high-pressure free throws with 39 seconds left. That left Sikma with 20 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks, only one more than D.J., who notched his fourth at 0:03 on a 20-footer by Grevey that would have sent the game into another overtime.
"I think the knockout punch was delivered tonight," said Brown.
Before the frothing Game 5 home crowd in Landover, Hayes had a capital first half with 20 points and staked Washington to an early 11-point lead, its biggest since Game 1. As poorly as the Sonics played, shooting 38%, they were lucky to be down by only eight, 51-43, at halftime. Then Wilkens told his players to ease up, slow down and wait for the open man, as they had all series. As Hayes struggled through another disappointing second half—nine points—the game eventually turned for Seattle.
With 1:32 left in the third period, the Bullets held what appeared to be a comfortable lead, 69-60, despite having lost both starting guards, Grevey and Tom Henderson, with injuries. But then D.J., Silas, Shelton and the unsinkable Freddie Brown ran off 12 straight points, and the Sonics took the lead at 72-69. The Bullets never led after that but kept the pressure on through the final seconds.
After the game, Brown stood off in a corner of the locker room and wept—"This is heaven for me," he said—and various Sonics sprayed champagne while Williams and D.J. puffed on their giant cigars. They had scored 23 and 21 points respectively, and Wilkens was saying that in his 18 years in the NBA he had never seen a backcourt combination "that affected more things, offensively and defensively, than Dennis and Gus."
Sikma was sprawled in a chair, grinning, having exhausted himself—and Unseld—while scoring 12 points and taking down 17 boards. An ugly red welt curled halfway around his neck.
"Pretty tough out there," someone said, pointing to the welt.
"This?" said Sikma. "This is from everyone hugging me after the game."