<
>

Detroit drops back-to-back games on the road

SEATTLE (AP) -- Jerome James put up season highs with 16 points
and seven rebounds against Detroit's bruising front line, leading
the Seattle SuperSonics to a 95-87 victory over the Pistons on
Friday night.

Rashard Lewis led the Sonics with 18 points, and Ray Allen and
Luke Ridnour added 15 points each. With James leading the way
inside, Seattle survived a tough night on the perimeter -- with
Allen shooting 3-of-17 and Lewis 6-of-14.

The Pistons, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped
Thursday night in Phoenix, hadn't lost consecutive game since a
four-game losing streak from Jan. 18-24.

Richard Hamilton led Detroit with 15 points and Chauncey Billups
added 13. Ben Wallace scored 12 points and had 10 rebounds, and
Rasheed Wallace finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

There were 13 ties and 12 lead changes through going into the
fourth quarter, but that's when the Sonics picked up the pace.
Seattle used an 11-4 burst to build an 80-73 lead at the 6-minute
mark.

Included in the run were four straight buckets. Danny Fortson
muscled for one inside, Allen drove for another and Lewis posted up
Tayshaun Prince. Then Daniels drove the baseline, drew Ben
Wallace's fourth foul and finished a three-point play.

After a timeout Lewis added two free throws, and Seattle had its
biggest lead at 82-73 with 4:39 to go. Last month, the Sonics blew
an 11-point lead with 5 minutes remaining in a homecourt loss to
Dallas.

This time, they were just getting warmed up.

After Hamilton completed a three-point play to trim Detroit's
deficit to 82-76, Allen made one of two free throws and James made
a huge shot when he collected a loose ball and fired in an 8-footer
to beat the shot clock with 2:57 to play.

Billups missed a layup at the other end, and Lewis extended
Seattle's lead to 87-76 with a jumper from the left side.

Seattle's inside game was sure to be tested against Detroit's
front court, but James got off to a great start -- missing only one
of his first five attempts and blocking two shots in the opening
period.

He finished 8-of-10 from the floor and got a standing ovation
when he left with 35.3 seconds to play.

The Sonics, with the NBA's fourth-best record, had won five of
six since the All-Star break, but they faced a big test against the
defending champions in only their second home game during that
stretch.

Game notes
Sonics G Ronald "Flip" Murray didn't suit up because of a
sinus infection. ... The Pistons reacquired C Elden Campbell, who
was traded away in January and then waived by Utah and New Jersey.
... Former Seattle star Gus Williams, whose No. 1 jersey hangs from
the KeyArena rafters, had a courtside seat on the baseline.