Reprinted from yesterday's late editions
The favored Denver Nuggets were ambushed last night as the Seattle SuperSonics won, 105-91, to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference final of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
Led by John Johnson's 28 points and Denny Johnson's 18, the Sonics won their 18th straight in Seattle Coliseum. The fourth game of the series will be played here tomorrow night.
Denver's Dan issel, who had been averaging 27 points in the playoffs, was held to 13 by 7-foot-2 center Marvin Webster and had to sit out most of the third period with four fouls. Issel got only five points the second half.
Dennis Johnson gave the Sonics another lift by holding David Thompson to 21 points.
Denver, behind five points each by Thompson and Anthony Roberts, jumped to a 16-13 lead with 8:31 to go in the first quarter. Then it was time for the Gus Williams to take over for the Sonics.
Williams, 6-2 guard, fired in three straight baskets, in less than two minutes to put the Sonics ahead, 19-18. Jack Sikma, the rookie from little Illinois Wesleyan, made it eight straight with a turn-around jumper from the baseline.
Denver never registered the lead in the quarter but managed to tie at 26, 28 and, finally 30 as the period ended.
The only casualty in the quarter although there were two 28-second injurty timeouts, was referee Richie Powers. He left the court with 9.58 remaining and was replaced by Bob Rake.
It was later revealed that Powers suffered an asthma attack.
Inspired by a sellout crowd of 14,000-plus, Seattle ran off 10 straight points in a two-minute stretch near the end of the first half to go in front 57-46.
Dennis Johnson ignited the streak with two free throws and Williams hit an 18-footer.
After that, it was three Denver mistakes - two of them caused by the rugged Sonic defense - which Seattle used to stretch its lead.
Seattle added four free throws by Dennis Johnson to push its lead to 61-48 before Denver's Mack Calvin put in an 18-footer, making it 61-50 at halftime.