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NEW YORK -- One day after collecting his first playoff
triple-double, Seattle SuperSonics guard Gary Payton is
celebrating his seventh selection to the NBA All-Defensive First
Payton, known as "The Glove" for his defensive prowess, was the
top vote-getter with 52 of a possible 56 points and 24 First
Team votes from a panel of the NBA's 29 coaches.
Center Alonzo Mourning of the Miami Heat, the NBA Defensive
Player of the Year last season, was second with 16 First Team
votes and 42 points.
Mourning's average of 3.72 blocks led the NBA in the regular
season, while Payton's 1.87 steals per game ranked eighth.
Guard Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers (33 points) and forwards Kevin Garnett of the
Minnesota Timberwolves (31) and Tim
Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs (29) were also named to the All-Defensive
The Defensive Player of the Year for this season will be
announced at a later date.
This marks the second First Team selection for Mourning and
Duncan and the first for Bryant and Garnett.
Payton, the Defensive Player of the Year in 1995-96, becomes
only the sixth player in league history to be selected to the
All-Defensive First Team seven times.
Guard Michael Jordan is
the all-time leader with nine followed by forwards Bobby Jones
and Scottie Pippen with eight apiece. Guard Walt Frazier and
forward Dennis Rodman were each selected seven times.
Payton had 35 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in Seattle's
104-93 win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, evening their
first-round Western Conference series at two games apiece.
Pippen of the Portland Trail Blazers was denied a ninth
selection to the All-Defensive First Team, but was voted to the
Center Shaquille O'Neal of the Lakers, the probable NBA Most
Valuable Player, was also selected to the Second Team along with
guard Eddie Jones of the Charlotte Hornets and guard Jason Kidd
and forward Clifford Robinson of the Phoenix Suns.
The league's coaches were not permitted to vote for players from
their own teams. Points were awarded on a 2-1 basis.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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