Regular Season Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series starts 2/22

Game 1: Tuesday, February 22nd
Game 2: Tuesday, March 8th
Game 3: Monday, April 11th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 20th

SuperSonics 87


Rockets 85

(32-22, 18-11 home)

Coverage: FSSW

7:30 PM ET, February 22, 2005

Toyota Center, Houston, TX

1 2 3 4 T
SEA 20 24 17 2687
HOU 28 23 15 1985

Top Performers

Sea: R. Allen 29 Pts, 5 Reb, 2 Ast, 2 Stl

Hou: Y. Ming 30 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast, 3 Blk

Allen hits free throws to help seal it

HOUSTON (AP) -- About the only good thing the Seattle SuperSonics did offensively against the Houston Rockets was shoot free throws.

Luckily, that was the difference in the game.

Ray Allen scored 29 points, capped by two free throws with 16.7 seconds left, to help Seattle end the Rockets' winning streak at eight games with an 87-85 victory Tuesday night.

Seattle was just 31-of-85 from the field, but made 21 of 28 free throws -- including 11-of-11 in the fourth quarter.

"It's one of those things you ask yourself, 'How did we win?" Allen said. "But for free throws there's no one better (than me). But a free throw isn't guaranteed, you can't go into it thinking you'll make it for sure."

Houston had a chance to tie it with 5 seconds left, but Scott Padgett's 3-point attempt was short and Allen came up with the rebound.

Houston led throughout the game before a dunk by Allen with 38 seconds left put Seattle ahead 85-84.

Houston's Dikembe Mutombo, who came in after Yao Ming fouled out with 1:17 left, tied it with a free throw with 19.7 seconds left, but missed his second attempt.

David Wesley was called for a foul in the scramble for the rebound, sending Allen, who had 12 fourth-quarter points, to the line for the winning free throws.

"When you put a guy who is a great shooter on the line because of his hustle, you deserve to win," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "There are going to be nights when you don't shoot well, but if you're defending and hustling you can stay in the game until your offense comes around."

Seattle's shooting percentage was its lowest this season in a win.

Rashard Lewis added 23 points for Seattle, including seven in the final 5 minutes.

"You can't look at stats," Lewis said. "I know we didn't knock down a lot of shots, but you've just got to play defense and get in a rhythm."

"I think we kind of stole this one from them."

Yao led Houston with 30 points, and Wesley had 19, including four 3s.

Trailing by nine with 4:41 left, the Rockets scored eight straight points -- capped by a 3 by Vladimir Radmanovic -- to close to 80-79.

The Sonics got the win despite shooting 4-of-25 from 3-point range for a season-low 16 percent. Seattle dominated the boards, outrebounding Houston 50-37.

"I thought that they manhandled us," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "They were physical and they were the aggressors."

The Rockets were without starting point guard Bob Sura, sidelined by a sore back. Rod Strickland had five rebounds in 13 minutes in place of Sura.

Sura missed the first 14 games of the season after surgery to repair a herniated disc in his lower back Sept. 1. He was injured during an offseason workout.

"He gets us where we need to be," said Jon Barry of Sura. "There were times when we were out of sync on offense. That's where we really missed him." ^Notes:@ Seattle forward Danny Fortson didn't make the trip because of an illness in his family. ... Allen scored the Sonics' first eight points. ... Seattle's Lewis, a Houston native, had 70 family and friends at the game. "It was very nice to win in front of all my people," he said. "But not only that it was a big win for us as a team. ... Tracy McGrady had 17 points after scoring twice that in Houston's last game before the All-Star break.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 87 85
FGM-FGA 31-85 (.365) 33-76 (.434)
3PM-3PA 4-25 (.160) 7-18 (.389)
FTM-FTA 21-28 (.750) 12-18 (.667)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 17-50 10-37
Assists 18 23
Turnovers 15 15
Steals 9 12
Blocks 2 6
Fast Break Points 15 19
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 26 (0/1)
Largest Lead 2 10

Top Performers

Ray Allen Allen
Points: 29
Reb: 5
Ast: 2
Stl: 2
Blk: 0
Yao Ming Ming
Points: 30
Reb: 9
Ast: 2
Stl: 0
Blk: 3