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Daniels steps up in final period

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle SuperSonics have the Sacramento
Kings' number.

Antonio Daniels scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth
quarter, helping the Sonics defeat the Kings for the third time
this season, 115-107 Thursday night.

The Sonics, who lost three out of four to Sacramento last season
when they missed the playoffs for the second straight season,
called it one of the most important victories of 2004-05.

"The intensity of the game was pretty high up there," Ray
Allen said. "It was great to be on the winning side."

"Sacramento is such a good team it took everything we had to
stop those guys," coach Nate McMillan said. "It came down to who
would make the plays."

The Northwest Division-leading Sonics won their fourth game in a
row, while the Kings dropped their third straight.

All-Stars Allen and Rashard Lewis led the way for the Sonics
with 34 and 23 points, respectively, but Daniels, Seattle's
valuable reserve point guard, shined in the final period while
playing the entire 12 minutes in place of starter Luke Ridnour.

The Sonics had four of their eight steals in the fourth quarter,
when they scored 38 points and went 17-of-18 from the free-throw
line.

"They were on the perimeter and we put an emphasis on attacking
the rim and trying to get to the foul line," Daniels said. "We
knocked our free throws down tonight."

Ridnour didn't mind watching Daniels' performance.

"He stepped up huge," he said. "It was big for us. He's a
veteran guard and he came in and played well."

Peja Stojakovic led the Kings with 28 points, while Cuttino
Mobley had 23 points and Chris Webber had 19 points and nine
rebounds.

The Kings led 103-100 after two free throws by Stojakovic with
3:51 left, but Daniels made a steal and a fast-break dunk with 3:05
left before Lewis put the Sonics ahead 105-100 with a three-point
play with 2:35 left.

Two free throws by Vladimir Radmanovic put the Sonics ahead
107-103 with 1:47 to go before Darius Songaila of the Kings made a
layup. Daniels made two free throws with 1:30 left after being
fouled by Webber to put Seattle ahead 109-105.

The Kings played without starting center Brad Miller, who was
suspended for one game by the NBA for throwing a tantrum at the end
of a game with Phoenix on Tuesday night. Miller, the team's top
rebounder with 9.3 per game and its No. 5 scorer at 15.6, missed
his first game of the season.

It was an emotional game. Seattle's Danny Fortson was ejected
with 7:09 left after skirmishing with Webber after fouling him
hard. Both players were assessed technical fouls.

McMillan said Fortson's third ejection of the season made the
Sonics more focused.

"You don't want to see guys ejected like that, but I thought
our team responded," McMillan said. "I thought it fired us up.
Sometimes you need something to get you going."

In the third quarter, Webber yelled in anger from the bench at
Seattle's Reggie Evans after the players fought hard for rebounding
position all night. Evans finished with 12 rebounds.

Evans was chuckling about Webber after the game.

"I like doing stuff like that, getting him frustrated," Evans
said. "It's funny. When he's talking like that, it lets me know I
got into his head and I made him mad."

Although his team lost to Seattle again, Webber took a jab at
the Sonics when he brought up the subject of the playoffs.

"All I'll say is that we've been there before," he said.

The Kings scored the first 11 points of the second half,
including two 3-pointers by Mobley, to take a 63-54 lead after the
Sonics led 54-52 at halftime. But the Sonics, with Allen scoring 14
of his points, came back to regain the lead before falling behind
81-77 after three quarters.

The Sonics had a 46-33 rebounding advantage, an important factor
in his team's loss, Sacramento coach Rick Adelman said.

"They were jumping right over the top of us to get the ball,"
Adelman said. "We've got to put bodies on them and pursue the
ball."

Game notes
The Kings started Greg Ostertag at center in place of
Miller. It was the 7-foot-2 Ostertag's second start of the season.
... The Sonics left immediately after the game to fly to Phoenix,
where they play Friday night. They play Dallas Sunday night at
home. "We know how good the West is," McMillan said before the
game. "It's going to be a challenge each night." ... The Kings
and Sonics wrap up their season series April 5 at Sacramento.