GAME FOUR

PLAYOFFS
1-2 RECORD 2-1
L-1 STREAK W-1
87.3 PF 100.7
100.7 PA 87.3
39.7 RPG 36.7
#7 Sonics vs. #2 Spurs
Wednesday, May 1, 7:30 p.m.
KeyArena
TV: KONG 6/16
Radio: KJR 950 AM

SCOUTING REPORT
Game four may be decided more by who will not play than who will. Tim Duncan will be spending time with his family in North Carolina after his father passed away. David Robinson is out with a low back strain and Danny Ferry is questionable with a sprained right wrist. On the Sonics side, Rashard Lewis will miss the game after dislocating his shoulder in game three.

One matchup that will remain unchanged is the point guard duel between Tony Parker and Gary Payton. The precocious Parisian has shown up The Glove in two of the series' three games. In game three Parker was outstanding, playing with poise that belies his 19 years. He used his quickness in the open court to slip past the challenging Payton and to the cup. While Payton's on-the-ball defense was not up to snuff for a nine-time first-team all defense guy, his help defense from the Sonics bigs was too often preoccupied with Duncan, leaving Parker with uncontested layins.

With the protracted playoff schedule, Payton will have four days to smolder about his game three performance. Take Saturday's back-to-the-wall situation combined with four days of enduring affronts to his cherished defense, add in the fact that a rookie is the one running circles around him and you have the recipe for a major GP breakout. We've seen it before. When the Sonics were pushed to the brink against the Bulls during the 1996 NBA Finals, Payton turned it up a notch, averaging 29 points in the next three games.

Even without Duncan and Robinson, the Sonics could be in trouble if they don't get a breakout performance from Brent Barry and/or Desmond Mason. Both are posting scoring numbers below their regular-season average and have lacked aggressiveness at the offensive end. The red carpet has been rolled out, inviting these penetrators into the Spurs lane, if one or both accept the invitation and can convert, the series could be heading back to West Texas.

SERIES LEADERS

PAYTON

DUNCAN
Payton
20.0
PPG Duncan
26.7
Payton
7.3
RPG Duncan
11.7
Payton
4.3
APG Duncan
6.3
Williams
1.0
SPG Daniels
1.3
James
1.3
BPG Duncan
5.3
Payton
40.0
MPG Duncan
41.0

KEY MATCHUP
Vin Baker vs. Spurs bigs - In games one and two, Baker played with a fire that he hasn't displayed in years. He established post position, used his quickness around the bucket and even worked the boards. That was against Duncan, one of the best post defenders in the game. In game three, he went back to some old habits, lacking aggressiveness and finishing with just one rebound in 30 minutes. Game four presents a golden opportunity. He will likely be matched up with Malik Rose, Mark Bryant and maybe even Cherokee Parks. None of those guys can contain a fired-up Baker.