SEATTLE, March 29 (Ticker) -- "The Glove" got free at the right time.

Gary Payton made a driving layup with 6.7 seconds remaining as the Seattle SuperSonics handed the San Antonio Spurs their second straight loss, 79-76.

Nicknamed "The Glove" for his defensive prowess, Payton was hounded all night by Bruce Bowen -- the Spurs' best perimeter defender. But Payton, also adept on the offensive end, made the game's biggest play in the final seconds.

With the game tied, Payton drove from the top of key around Bowen before putting up a shot over 7-footer Tim Duncan that dropped through to give the Sonics a 78-76 lead.

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Gary Payton is averaging a career high in assists this season.
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"They do such a good job of jumping the pick-and-roll that we wanted four shooters and a big, well five shooters, including Predrag (Dobnjak)," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "But we wanted to just fake the pick and get their big guys to cheat up and clear a side for Gary to get to the basket. Tonight, we were able to do that and it worked well. We executed that well."

"When I saw the play developing, I knew they were shading him to the right and that he was going to spin back to his left and go to the basket," Sonics forward Vin Baker said. "I knew at that point before, like five seconds before he started that, he was going to be able to get to the basket with ease."

Payton finished with 19 points and eight assists.

Duncan, who had 25 points and 16 rebounds, had a chance to tie it but missed a jumper over Baker and 7-foot rookie Jerome James grabbed the rebound. James made 1-of-2 foul shots with 1.3 seconds left, and the Spurs were unable to get up another shot.

"We just didn't make the plays," said Duncan, who went 9-of-19 from the floor. "I thought they did a great job turning up the defense. They had good defensive balance throughout the game."

The Spurs' mini-skid comes on the heels of an NBA season-high 13-game winning streak and has dropped them one game behind first-place Dallas in the Midwest Division.

In a tight defensive game where neither team led by more than five points in the second half, the Sonics managed a 70-65 advantage with 5:11 remaining on a 17-footer by Payton, who made 9-of-22 shots from the field.

But the Spurs battled back, tying it at 74-74 with 2:17 to play on a 3-pointer by Steve Smith.

After Brent Barry split a pair of foul shots, David Robinson made a pair from the line, giving San Antonio the lead with 80 seconds to play. Baker made 1-of-2 from the line 29 seconds later to tie it.

Smith had a chance to give the Spurs the lead with under 30 seconds left, but missed a 3-pointer off the front rim. He finished with 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting.

Robinson and Duncan each had effective games on the inside. But James hung in despite foul trouble and finished with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 15 minutes.

Barry added 11 points and Desmond Mason 10 for the Sonics, who shot 43 percent (36-of-84). San Antonio shot 41 percent (29-of-70) and committed 17 turnovers.