SEATTLE, Dec. 26 (Ticker) -- Gary Payton knows how to close quarters for the Seattle SuperSonics.

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Payton scored 16 of his 35 points in runs at the end of the second and third quarters as the SuperSonics halted a four-game skid with a 97-88 victory over the shorthanded Toronto Raptors.

Seattle had lost four straight games - all in the final seconds - and was locked in a tight one again as Toronto held a 33-32 lead in the second quarter. Payton pumped in eight points in a 16-6 run to close the half for a 48-39 lead.

"I think he took it on his shoulders tonight to carry this team," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "I saw that he was aggressive in the first half and he was looking to get in a rhythm."

The SuperSonics held a 63-62 edge in the third quarter after Toronto's Lindsey Hunter scored with two minutes left. Payton had a pair of jumpers and two inside hoops to close the period for a 71-62 advantage.

"We came back and played hard tonight," Payton said. "We finally got it off our back. We've got a young group of guys. We've got to play as a group."

"Gary is a tough player," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "He is smart and he controlled the tempo of the game."

Toronto began a five-game road trip without injured starters Vince Carter and Antonio Davis, both of whom did not make the trip. Voshon Lenard led the Raptors with a season-high 27 points, 23 after halftime.

"We've been playing without a lot of guys all season," Raptors forward Morris Peterson said. "We are playing with the guys we have and giving 110 percent."

Seattle's Rashard Lewis finished with 20 points, his sixth game of 20 or more in the last seven contests. Vladimir Radmanovic made 6-of-9 shots for 16 points off the bench.

Payton made 15-of-25 shots and added seven assists and seven rebounds. The eight-time All-Star had made just 26 percent (15-of-57) of his shots in the previous three games.

"Gary had a real good game for us," Seattle guard Brent Barry said. "He has been struggling from the field. Tonight it looked like he definitely back on track, and that can only help our team for the next couple of games."

Predrag Drobnjak collected 15 points and 10 rebounds as Seattle held a 44-39 edge on the glass. The Sonics also shot 83 percent (20-of-24) at the line, 6-of-6 by Lewis.

Lewis credited Payton with keeping the team's spirits up.

"He's our captain, he's our go-to guy, so if he gets rolling early, we seem to just follow behind," Lewis said. "When he's not knocking down shots, then somebody else usually has to step up and do it. But Gary's most definitely our energy guy."

The Sonics used their passing to carve up the Raptors, handing out 28 assists on 37 baskets. Kenny Anderson had eight assists in 13 minutes and Barry added seven.

The lone bright spot for Toronto was a phenomenal shooting display by Lenard in the fourth quarter. The veteran guard made all five of his shots for 15 points in the period, including three 3-pointers.

Peterson scored 22 points and Alvin Williams added 12 for Toronto, which shot 46 percent (36-of-78). The Raptors held a 20-7 advantage in points on the fast break.