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'Less than 100 percent' Allen scores 41

1/25/2004

SEATTLE (AP) -- Ray Allen said he's still not feeling 100
percent. It was hard to tell Saturday night.

Allen scored 17 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and the
Seattle SuperSonics took advantage of the Los Angeles Clippers'
4-for-19 3-point shooting in a 102-97 victory.

Allen missed the first 25 games of the season after undergoing
arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle to remove a bone chip.

"I still believe I'm feeling the aftereffects of my surgery
because my body still hasn't acclimated itself to the schedule,"
the three-time All-Star shooting guard said. "I try get as much
rest as I can when I can.

The Clippers hung close at the end by making their last three
3-point shots in the final 1:40, two of them by Corey Maggette.

The Sonics beat the Clippers for the third straight time this
season, following two season-opening wins over Los Angeles in Japan
in October.

Allen shot 14-for-23, including 6-for-10 from 3-point range, in
finishing one point shy of his season best. Rashard Lewis, who had
a career-high 50 points against the Clippers in the second game in
Japan, added 15 points and Antonio Daniels came off the bench to
score 14 for the Sonics.

Allen's career high is 47 points.

The Clippers got 26 points and 16 rebounds from Elton Brand, 25
points and 10 rebounds from Maggette and 22 points from Quentin
Richardson.

Brand had 20 of his points in the first half and attempted just
three shots in the second half, none in the fourth quarter.

Sonics coach Nate McMillan credited Vitaly Potapenko, who has
played sparingly this season, with stopping Brand in the second
half.

"He did a good job, he did a very solid job," McMillan said.
"Jerome (James) and Calvin (Booth) had trouble guarding (Brand).
He basically shut that guy down. He really saved us on the
defensive end."

Potapenko, who played 22 minutes, was happy to get a chance to
play.

"You have to be ready, it's as simple as that," Potapenko
said.

Brand said Allen, not Potapenko, was the reason why the Sonics
won, though.

"Ray Allen was unbelievable," he said. "He was on fire today.
We didn't trap him well enough and he hit some big shots."

Maggette said the Clippers knew the Sonics would try to beat
them from the outside. The Sonics hit 11-of-25 3-point shots.

"Seattle is one of the best shooting teams in the league," he
said. "It's hard to beat teams when they're shooting so well at
home."

After Richardson hit a 3-pointer with 1:40 to go to bring the
Clippers to 94-88, Los Angeles had the ball and a chance to whittle
the lead even further. But Richardson was called for an offensive
foul by running over Daniels with 1:13 left, and the Sonics hung
on.

The Clippers led 60-55 before Seattle went on an 11-0 run with
3-pointers by Allen, Brent Barry and Lewis and a baseline jumper by
Allen to take a 66-60 lead with 5:49 left in the third. The Sonics
led 74-68 heading into the fourth.

The Clippers led 54-53 at halftime behind 20 points from Brand,
including a three-point play with 2.1 seconds remaining.

Allen connected on three 3-pointers in the final 4:22 for
Seattle.

Game notes
McMillan said he had to cut Allen's practice time after he
scored 13 points on 4-for-14 shooting against Golden State on
Thursday night. "He looks a little fatigued," McMillan said. "He
looks like he has heavy legs." McMillan said opponents have been
focusing on Allen and assigning their top defensive player to him.
... The Clippers got five consecutive rebounds on one possession
before Richardson sank a 15-footer with 2:51 gone in the second
half, drawing boos from the home crowd. ... The Clippers
outrebounded Seattle 48-34.