Friday, December 24, 2004

Sonics Soar Over Nuggets

Despite playing with the flu, Ray Allen helped the Seattle SuperSonics snap out of their slump.

Allen scored 20 points and Rashard Lewis added 21 as the SuperSonics handed the Denver Nuggets their fourth straight loss without Carmelo Anthony, 98-83.

After opening the season with an NBA-best record of 17-3, Seattle had struggled recently, losing two of three at home.

"This one had all the signs of a letdown," Allen said of the Sonics, who had not played since losing to Phoenix last Friday. "This was a tough game. We needed to redevelop that rhythm we have been playing with."

Playing with the virus, Allen shook off a poor first quarter to temporarily take over in the second period. After a jumper by Andre Miller drew the Nuggets within 28-25 with just under 10 minutes left in the half, Allen scored the Sonics' next five points to ignite an 18-3 run that made it 46-28 with 3 1/2 minutes to play.

"I was just trying to work through the headache that I had," Allen said. "There never was a time that I thought I would not play."

Seattle never trailed and held a 53-38 lead at the break. Kenyon Martin tried to bring Denver back, scoring 16 of his 18 points in the third period to draw the Nuggets within 79-71 entering the fourth quarter.

Allen started a spurt once again with a jumper at the start of the final period. He added a runner as Seattle outscored Denver, 13-5, in a six-minute stretch to make it 92-76.

The Sonics looked rusty after a four-day layoff, shooting just 35 percent (8-of-23) from the field in the first quarter. The Nuggets failed to take advantage, however, turning the ball over eight times and falling behind, 24-15.

Lewis was the one player who did not appear sluggish at the start. He scored seven points while playing all 12 minutes.

"We really didn't know how the guys would come out after being off for four days," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "I thought these guys came out and played. Ray looked weak, but Rashard had it going."

Allen was not the only Sonic under the weather. Reserve Antonio Daniels, who had been averaging 12.2 points, missed the game with severe tonsillitis. Ronald Murray made up for Daniels' absence with 15 points, as the Sonics' bench outscored the Nuggets' reserves, 43-34.

"It felt good to go out there and get a chance to play a little bit," said Murray, who had missed 19 games with a quadriceps strain. "The best thing about us is that we have more than one unit."

Andre Miller had 20 points and seven assists for Denver, which has lost six of seven. Anthony has not played since spraining his left ankle in the third quarter of Denver's loss to Miami on Friday.

Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik refused to use Anthony's injury as an excuse for the Nuggets' poor play.

"Excuses are for losers and we are not offering any excuses, plain and simple," he said. "To yield 17 offensive boards and then give them 18 points off 19 bad turnovers, you are simply not going to win games when that happens."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Lewis Powers Red-Hot Sonics

With most eyes trained on the supposed friction between Kobe Bryant and Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis stole the show to get the Seattle SuperSonics back into the win column at home.

Lewis scored 17 of his season-high 37 points in the first quarter when the Sonics opened a big lead, helping his club cruise to a 108-93 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

It was the first meeting between the teams since a preseason matchup in Los Angeles, after which Sonics All-Star guard Allen questioned Bryant's ability to lead the revamped Lakers.

The two stars showed no sign of continuing the controversy prior to the game, greeting each other before the tip. Shortly thereafter, Lewis began to shine.

"This whole day, I was thinking about it," Lewis said of the much-hyped feud between Bryant and Allen. "I felt like Kobe was talking to us as a team. We were going to back Ray up. We're a team. We're going to fight for each other. It's not going to be a one-on-one fight."

Lewis kicked off an impressive personal run with a jumper that gave Seattle the lead for good, 22-20, with 5:16 left. That basket was the start of Lewis' 12 straight points to finish the first, the last six on back-to-back 3-pointers in the closing seconds to give the Sonics a 32-23 lead.

"I felt comfortable coming to the game," Lewis said. "I felt like the ball was going to go in every time I shot the ball. I didn't want to hesitate."

Seattle pushed the lead to 19 in the second quarter and Los Angeles never got closer than eight thereafter. Lewis made the first and last of the Sonics' four straight 3-pointers late in the fourth that put away the game.

Sonics coach Nate McMillan sees the maturity in his young forward.

"He's slowing down and making good decisions when he has the ball," McMillan said. "When he has a small (guarding him), he's taking his time getting the good shot. He's moving the ball. When he has a big, he's taking him out and being aggressive and his stroke is going."

Allen scored 26 points for Seattle, which improved to 10-1 at home by rebounding from its first loss this season at KeyArena - a 98-84 setback to Boston on Saturday.

"There was a point where I think he (Bryant) was going at me a little bit at the top of the key and there wasn't much I could do about it," Allen said. "He was making a lot of tough shots tonight. I like Kobe as a person and I respect how he plays."

Lewis and Allen spearheaded a 12-of-27 team effort from the arc.

"They shot the ball so well," Lakers coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. "We tried three different methods of trying to play them and they had answers for everything. They shot the heck out of the ball. You have got to give them a lot of credit."

Bryant nearly matched Lewis in the first half, scoring 21 of his 35 points before the break. He got little support from his teammates, however, as only two other Lakers scored as many as 12 points and Los Angeles shot just under 40 percent (32-of-81) from the floor.

"It was tough to keep up with them defensively because they have so much firepower," Bryant said. "When we got an easy two, they got an easy three."

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Davis' 25 Points Lead Celtics

BOSTON (AP) -- Walter McCarty took down Antonio Daniels. Danny Fortson raked Paul Pierce across the face. Vladimir Radmanovic sent Jiri Welsch to the floor.

The punishment handed down by NBA commissioner David Stern didn't keep the Celtics and SuperSonics from getting rough on Sunday. But it might have kept anyone from retaliating in Boston's 102-83 victory over Seattle, the Sonics' first loss in 10 games.

"The league is making them into an example," Pierce said after Stern banned Ron Artest for the rest of the season and eight others for lengths from one to 30 games. "Hopefully, the rest of us are watching and we'll know better the next time."

Ricky Davis didn't start for the first time this season, but he scored 25 points in 29 minutes. Ray Allen scored 21 for Seattle, but Rashard Lewis was just 4-for-13 from the field for 12 points as the Sonics shot 36 percent as a team.

Seattle had not lost since dropping its opener to the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We're not happy we lost," Fortson said. "But nine games in a row is pretty good."

Pierce had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Gary Payton had 12 points with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals for the Celtics, who had lost two in a row. Boston shot 57 percent from the field -- its third-highest field-goal percentage in the last five years.

"I think it worked out pretty well for our whole team tonight, with me being in the starting lineup and Ricky coming off the bench," Welsch said after his first start of the year. "He brings a lot of energy to the team when he comes off the bench."

Boston scored 12 consecutive points late in the first quarter to turn a 12-10 deficit into a 10-point lead. Seattle came within one point, 35-34, in the second quarter but never took back the lead.

Seattle trailed by 22 points in the fourth quarter but cut it to nine on Ray Allen's three-point play with 4:16 left that made it 90-81. But the Celtics countered when Payton hit a fallaway jumper in the lane and then assisted on a reverse layup by Welsch.

Seattle called timeout, but it didn't help. Davis scored on an assist from Welsch and Marcus Banks made a pair of free throws to put the game away.

The game wasn't overly physical, but there were a few hard fouls that might have escalated into something nasty if players weren't so freshly reminded that retaliation won't be tolerated. Just before game time, Stern suspended nine Pistons and Pacers players for 143 games for a bench-clearing brawl that spilled into the stands in Detroit on Friday night.

Security at the FleetCenter was boosted slightly, Celtics spokesman Bill Bonsiewicz said. The public address announcer made a rather lengthy announcement warning fans not to throw things on the court or otherwise interfere with play.

So, when McCarty tackled Daniels on his way to the basket with 10:34 left in the fourth quarter, neither player made so much as a dirty look. And when Radmanovic took down Welsch under the basket with 4:39 left in the game, a foul was called and that was the end of it.

"It really depends on who's involved. There are some guys who can handle it; other guys are going to get offended," Welsch said. "I'm not going to fight anybody who fouls me. If he fouls me, it's an honor for me because he knows he can't guard me."

The Celtics have taken a lead into the fourth quarter seven times in eight games -- they were tied in the other -- but have lost four of those games. Playing the streaking Sonics, Boston ran off the last nine points of the third, including seven by Davis, to take a 75-58 lead into the final quarter.

Davis hit a 3-pointer and the Celtics added three free throws to make 80-58 with 11:08 to play.

That lead was too big to blow, even for Boston.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Allen’s Final-Minute Fireworks Pushes Sonics Past Blazers


SEATTLE, Oct. 29 (Ticker) -- Ray Allen did all he could to help the Seattle SuperSonics end their preseason on a high note.

Allen scored 32 points and hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to lead the SuperSonics to a 91-87 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in the preseason finale for both teams.

An All-Star each of the last four seasons, Allen had been slightly bothered by a sore back in preseason, missing three games. He showed few effects vs. the Trail Blazers, making 6-of-9 from long range.

After a 7-0 run gave Portland an 85-82 lead, Allen hit a baseline jumper with 1:29 left to trim the deficit to one. He then grabbed a rebound on the Trail Blazers' next possession, dribbled down and hit a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to put Seattle ahead 87-85 with 1:01 remaining.

Allen's last 3-pointer with 24 seconds left snapped an 87-87 tie and Luke Ridnour added a free throw for the final margin, finishing a 9-2 run by the Sonics, who snapped a six-game skid.

Ridnour scored 14 points and dished out six assists and Reggie Evans chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds.

Seattle wrapped up its exhibition schedule at 2-6. It travels to Los Angeles to face the Clippers on Wednesday in the regular-season opener for both teams.

Ruben Patterson scored 22 points off the bench for Portland, adding six rebounds and five steals in just 33 minutes.

Sebastian Telfair, the Trail Blazers' 19-year-old first-round pick, made a solid contribution. While playing the entire second quarter, he scored five of his seven points and recorded all five of his assists, two on lob passes to Darius Miles. Portland finished the preseason at 4-4 and opens its regular season at Golden State on Wednesday.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Good afternoon Seattle

Come back here later and I'll start talking about Seattle Basketball. It'll be fun, I promise.