CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Seattle scored inside, outside and at the
line. In the end, the Charlotte Bobcats just couldn't match it.
Rashard Lewis scored 27 points and Seattle made 11 3-pointers in
the SuperSonics' 103-97 victory over the Bobcats on Friday night.
Vladimir Radmanovic scored 21 points on 5-for-7 shooting from
3-point range, and Ray Allen added 18 points for the Sonics, who
blew a 13-point lead before rallying for the win.
"They played a pretty good game, but at the end of the day, we
just had too many answers for them," Allen said.
The Sonics scored 42 points in the paint, shot 50 percent from
3-point range and missed just four free throws to move to a
"No one expected us to be in this position," coach Nate
McMillan said. "These guys do things the right way and we're
The Bobcats, who dropped their fourth straight, were certainly
"They kept on putting them up and they kept on dropping," said
rookie Emeka Okafor. "I'd say they are the best team we've
But the Bobcats felt they played pretty well, too, and coach
Bernie Bickerstaff thought the officials played too large a role in
the outcome. Seattle went to the line 10 times in the fourth
quarter, and Charlotte didn't get a single free throw opportunity.
"I may be biased, but the 12 guys in that room deserve better
than that," Bickerstaff said. "It appears when we got back in the
game, every play whether it was a defensive play or an offensive
play, (Seattle) got a second chance."
Okafor led the Bobcats with a career-high 27 points and also had
10 rebounds, the final one coming with 16 seconds to play to extend
his streak of double-doubles to 18 consecutive games.
The Bobcats welcomed back guard Brevin Knight and center Primoz
Brezec after both missed games with the flu as Charlotte dropped
three straight. Both gave the Bobcats an immediate lift, Knight
with 15 assists before he fouled out late in the fourth quarter,
and Brezec with 22 points and nine rebounds.
Charlotte trailed by five with 30 seconds to play until Gerald
Wallace's turnover was converted into Lewis' dunk that wrapped up
the Seattle win.
The Sonics led 57-45 at halftime, but the Bobcats pulled back
into the game with a furious third quarter. Okafor and Brezec
combined for 16 points, and Wallace was all over the court, as
usual, scaring the Bobcats with his head-first dive into the bench
that had the coaching staff briefly cradling his head to make sure
he was OK.
But the biggest difference was Charlotte's efficiency at the
free-throw line, where the Bobcats have struggled all season. They
made all six of their attempts in the third quarter (11-for-13 for
the game) and headed into the fourth tied at 75.
That's when the Sonics turned it up, exploiting the zone defense
Charlotte briefly tried with a quick 3 pointer from Radmanovic.
Seattle then began beating the Bobcats in every way possible -- 3s,
jumpers, layups and at the line -- in a 13-5 run that gave the
Sonics an 88-80 lead with 7:46 to play.
The game reunited Bickerstaff and McMillan, who played for
Bickerstaff in Seattle after Bickerstaff drafted him in 1986. "He
was very hard on me, which taught me a lot," McMillan said. "A
lot of what I do comes from Bernie's system ... Some of the plays
that I run for (Allen) are some of the plays that Bernie ran."...
The Bobcats play at Miami on Saturday. "They've been serving us up
the whole damn holiday season," Bickerstaff said. "We're on
everybody's menu." The Bobcats played at New York the day after
Christmas and at Indiana the day after Thanksgiving. ... North
Carolina coach Roy Williams sat courtside next to musician Bruce