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Murray steps up in place of ill Allen, scores 23

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The Seattle SuperSonics got the
message from their mourning coach that they desperately needed to
scrap and hustle.

After being booed at home a night earlier, Ronald Murray needed
little motivation to work harder. Neither did his teammates
following a 19-point beating by San Antonio.

Murray scored a season-high 23 points in place of ill leading
scorer Ray Allen to lead the Sonics to an impressive 106-101
victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

This was an important win for the Northwest Division-leading
Sonics, who had lost four of seven and are dealing with the absence
of coach Nate McMillan following the death of his mother.

McMillan's lone complaint about the loss to the Spurs was that
his players hadn't gone hard enough to loose balls and the boards.
Reggie Evans' 15 rebounds told the story that this was a different
night completely.

"Guys came out and gave it today -- the effort I knew they had
in them," fill-in head coach Dwane Casey said. "That's the way
we've got to play. We can't play like we're the hunted. We have to
play like we're the hunter. That's what got us here."

Rashard Lewis added 24 points, and the Sonics finished with six
players in double figures to end a four-game losing streak at Arco
Arena. Seattle hadn't won in Sacramento since Feb. 17, 2002.

Allen missed his second straight game with the flu, but Murray
came in and played much bigger than his 4.6 points-per-game
average.

"I knew I had a bad game yesterday," Murray said of his
5-for-17, 13-point performance. "I didn't let that get me down. I
told them tonight I'd have a better game."

Mike Bibby had 25 points, six rebounds and four assists, and
Darius Songaila added a career-high 19 points and seven rebounds
for the undermanned Kings, but Sacramento missed key chances late.
Cuttino Mobley had 18 points and five assists as Sacramento again
played without star forwards Peja Stojakovic and Chris Webber.

Stojakovic has back spasms and missed his fourth straight game.
Webber has a sore left knee, which was surgically repaired last
season.

The Sonics whipped the Kings 108-78 in Seattle in November, one
of Sacramento's two season-worst, 30-point defeats.

Neither team is at full strength now because of injuries -- and
neither looked like a top team in the Western Conference. Both came
in at 30-13, but this game featured too many fouls to allow players
to get into any kind of a flow.

There were nearly more technicals in the third quarter -- five --
than there were nice plays.

Allen, Seattle's All-Star guard, saw a team doctor Tuesday and
didn't travel to Sacramento, but the Sonics hope he'll be healthy
enough to play Saturday at home against Charlotte.

The Kings trailed 82-75 going into the fourth quarter, but kept
chipping away at Seattle's lead. Bibby's long jumper with 4:58 left
tied it at 93. The teams traded leads late, with Vladimir
Radmanovic's layin with 1:15 left giving Seattle a 98-97 lead it
wouldn't relinquish.

"There were a couple times when hustle plays came into effect
at the end of the game that might have pushed it over the edge for
us," Bibby said. "We've got to forget about it."

Casey coached his second straight game. McMillan is scheduled to
rejoin the team for practice Sunday following his mother's funeral
in North Carolina. The memorial service is Friday, but McMillan
will miss Saturday's game. Jeanette Tyson, 62, died last Sunday.

"This game tonight was for Nate and his family," Casey said.

The Kings jumped out to a 20-9 lead in the first quarter, but
the Sonics quickly found their rhythm and got back in it. Seattle
shot 50 percent in the first half to 39.8 percent for the Kings,
and the Sonics led 50-49 at the break.

Game notes
Before the game, the Kings exercised their one-year option
on coach Rick Adelman's contract, keeping him in the fold through
next season. Even though Adelman has taken the Kings to the
playoffs every year since coming to Sacramento in 1998, owners Joe
and Gavin Maloof waited to see how the team started this season
before deciding whether to pick up his option for 2005-06. ...
Seattle's Jerome James was ejected with 9:01 left in the third
quarter after picking up his second technical foul for arguing a
blocking foul called against him. James and Bibby exchanged words
moments earlier on the other end and each was hit with a T.
Sacramento's Brad Miller got a technical at 7:37, then Seattle's
Danny Fortson was hit with one just more than a minute later. Early
in the fourth quarter, Kings F Michael Bradley got a flagrant foul
on Fortson. "We lost our composure again in that third quarter,"
Adelman said. "You've got to stay in the game." ... The Kings
attempted a season-high 30 3-pointers. ... Raiders coach Norv
Turner watched from courtside.