PHOENIX (AP) -- The Seattle SuperSonics are reminding everyone
that they're a force in the West, too.
One night after beating Sacramento at home, the Sonics went to
Phoenix and knocked off the Suns 113-105 on Friday night.
Ray Allen climbed out of an awful shooting night with 14 of his
21 points in the fourth quarter and Seattle had seven players in
double figures in the showdown of division leaders.
Rashard Lewis scored 23 points, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range,
and Antonio Daniels had 20 in the Sonics' fifth win in a row.
Vladimir Radmanovic added 13, Jerome James and Luke Ridnour had 12
apiece, and Reggie Evans had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Seattle improved to 9-2 against the top six teams in the NBA.
"The main thing tonight was to control the tempo and not try to
get into a run-and-gun game with this team," Seattle coach Nate
McMillan said. "We took our opportunity when we had it to push the
ball, but for the most part I thought our halfcourt execution was
good. This was a big win."
Amare Stoudemire scored 32 points, and Steve Nash had 25 points
and 14 assists for the Suns, who lost for the second time in five
games but only the 12th time all season. Quentin Richardson added
20 points -- going 6-of-13 from 3-point range-- and Shawn Marion 14
points and 10 rebounds.
Both Nash and Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said the Suns didn't put
out the necessary effort.
"We just let our guard down and they took it to us," D'Antoni
said. "You can't think that `Now, we'll turn it on.' We've done
that in the past, and tonight we paid for it."
Nash said the Suns "really didn't play hard enough tonight."
"I think we sometimes believe that we're going to win a game,
and we're just waiting for it to happen," Nash said, "instead of
going out there and trying to get it."
Allen, 3-for-16 through three quarters, made his first four
shots in fourth quarter and was 5-for-8 in the period.
"It was just one of those games that I had to fight," Allen
said. "I was just trying to fight it and stay in there for the
team, and by the fourth quarter it came through for me."
After Stoudemire's stuff on an assist from Nash cut the lead to
94-92 with 7:20 remaining, Allen sank a 3-pointer and an 18-footer,
then Antonio Daniels sank one from 21 feet for a 7-0 run that put
Seattle ahead 101-92 with 5:36 to go. Phoenix never got closer than
six after that.
The Sonics were without Danny Fortson, suspended for two games
for yelling at a referee, throwing a chair and not leaving the
court promptly following his ejection during a victory over
Sacramento on Thursday night.
Seattle outscored the Suns 11-2 over the last 2:36 of the half
for a 55-55 tie at the break. Lewis made consecutive 3-pointers and
Radmanovic rattled in a '3' with 29 seconds left to cap the
The surge followed a 13-0 Phoenix run that featured three
3-pointers in a row by Richardson and gave the Suns a 53-44 lead
after Nash's two free throws with 3:09 left in the half.
The Sonics had used a 12-1 surge to go up 38-29 on Jerome James'
inside basket with 10:50 to go in the second quarter.
Seattle was 7-for-16 from 3-point range and Phoenix 7-for-15 in
the first half.
Stoudemire and Nash scored 17 apiece in the first half, Lewis
and Radmanovic had 13 apiece for Seattle.
Neither team led by more than five points in the third quarter,
and the Sonics were up 82-79 entering the fourth.
The Suns, 21 games better, and Sonics, 11 games better, are
the two most improved teams in the NBA. ... The game featured four
of the six players in the 3-point shootout on All-Star weekend --
Richardson, Johnson, Allen and Radmanovic. ... Seattle shot 61
percent in the first quarter (14-for-23). ... Walter McCarty,
acquired from Boston this week, sank a 3-pointer and played 10
minutes in his first appearance for the Suns. ... Phoenix's Joe
Johnson was 1-for-7 shooting and scored six points. ... The Sonics
reserves outscored the Suns' backups 35-7.