"Just being around all those guys, observing them and taking in
every thing I could has helped me," said Lewis of his All-Star
The best advice though, came from Minnesota's Kevin Garnett.
"He told me a lot of things I could work on during the summer
to keep my body healthy and continue to play an 82-game season and
play 35 and 40 minutes a night," Lewis said. "It felt like he
took me under his wing like I was his little brother."
With the Sonics short-handed, Lewis had to play 40 minutes
despite painful tendinitis in his left knee that has bothered him
for half the season.
"It's something that I can't get rid of until the season is
over so I'm going to have to hobble my way through it," he said.
Playing without Ray Allen, who sprained his right ankle Sunday
night against the Lakers in Los Angeles, the Northwest
Division-leading Sonics won their third game in a row to improve
their record to 46-20.
Lewis needed some scoring help and Ridnour, Seattle's starting
point guard, shot 6-for-11 and had six assists.
"There's some guys down and we've just got to find ways to
win," said Ridnour, who averaged 19.7 points for Oregon in
2002-2003 before leaving for the NBA after his junior season. His
previous career scoring high was 19.
Sonics coach Nate McMillan gave Ridnour the starting job in his
second season because of Ridnour's quickness.
"The one thing that I wanted at the beginning of the season was
ball pressure and a fast tempo," he said. "I thought Luke could
bring that to the floor."
The Sonics are 3-0 since losing top reserve Vladimir Radmanovic,
who probably is lost for the remainder of the regular season
because of a stress fracture in his right leg.
Michael Redd scored 22 points and Desmond Mason had 21 for the
Bucks, the last-place team in the Central Division which beat the
Sonics by 26 in Milwaukee in February. The Bucks lost for the fifth
time in seven games.
Milwaukee lost its sixth in a row on the road and dropped to
0-12 on the road against Western Conference opponents this season.
"It helped that Ray didn't play, but at the same time we beat
them earlier with Ray in Milwaukee," Redd said. "Seattle has a
lot of weapons, a lot of firepower, a lot of shooters."
Terry Porter, Milwaukee's coach, was happy to see Allen on the
bench in a stylish suit instead of a Sonics uniform.
"If we had to play them 10 times, I'd rather play them without
Ray 10 times than with him," Porter said.
Ronald Murray replaced Allen, a five-time All-Star, at shooting
guard and had 13 points, but shot only 5-for-16.
The Sonics outscored the Bucks 11-5 in the final 2:28 and held
Milwaukee without a basket in the final 4:50 until Redd's
meaningless layup with 13.2 seconds to go. Lewis' seventh 3-pointer
of the game gave Seattle an 84-79 lead with 2:28 left and Antonio
Daniels added a basket after getting the ball on a scramble with
Murray hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the third quarter to
give Seattle a 68-63 lead and draw a large cheer from the crowd.
The Sonics led by 12 points twice in the second quarter and by
seven at halftime.
The Bucks took the lead at 59-58 on a jump shot by Joe Smith
with 3:06 left in the third quarter for their first lead since
being ahead 22-20 in the opening period.<
^Notes: @ Allen is day-to-day. McMillan said his ankle is not
swollen too badly so McMillan is hopeful he can play Thursday night
in Portland. ... The Bucks were without starting PG Maurice
Williams, who suffered a bruised left knee Sunday night at Denver.
Anthony Goldwire started in his place. Williams is day-to-day. ...
Sonics reserve PF Danny Fortson missed his third straight game
because of a sprained left ankle. ... Lewis tied his career high
with his seven 3-pointers. He's done it three times this season.