SEATTLE (AP) -- Memo to anybody who considers Damien Wilkins'
emergence a surprise: Check the bloodlines.
Ray Allen scored 19 points and Wilkins added 17 starting in
place of injured All-Star Rashard Lewis, leading the Seattle
SuperSonics to an 89-87 win over the scrappy Portland Trail Blazers
on Friday night.
It was the third straight game scoring in double figures for
Wilkins, a rookie from Georgia who is the son of former NBA player
Gerald Wilkins and nephew of former league superstar Dominique
Nothing big, Wilkins insisted. He's just filling in for Lewis.
"That's a testament to him and to coach for doing a great job
of making sure I'm ready," Wilkins said. "I've disciplined myself
and prepared as hard as I can to make sure when I'm called, when
that time comes, that I'd be ready."
"A lot of guys in this locker room don't understand what
winning 50 games means," Allen said. "You might not ever do it
again. It's a great milestone in the NBA. You could lose half your
games, so to win 50 is a great achievement."
If not for Denver's victory over San Antonio, the Sonics would
have clinched the Northwest Division title.
"Whenever we could do that would be great," Seattle coach Nate
McMillan said. "We're not going to wait on Denver. Those guys are
playing really well. Our plan is to continue to play."
The Blazers lost their ninth straight road game and lost for the
10th time in 11 games, but not before they took this one to the
Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 12 of his 21 points in the fourth
quarter. He had 10 in the final 5:01, helping Portland erase a
78-69 deficit at the 8-minute mark, but missed a 6-footer with 4.9
seconds to go.
"I felt good about it. It felt good when it left my hands,"
Daniels tied it for the Sonics, making the first of two free
throws, and Seattle's Jerome James grabbed the rebound on his miss
and threw down a dunk to put the Sonics up 85-83 with 2:03
Abdur-Rahim responded at the other end, tying it with 1:45 to
play, before Allen fought off Damon Stoudamire's blanketing defense
and hit a 3-pointer to put Seattle up for good at 88-85 with 1:22
"We are doing the unbelievable, but it's not producing wins,"
said Portland coach Kevin Pritchard. "I'm very proud of my guys.
Our guys competed the whole game."
Sebastian Telfair scored 18 points with eight assists for
Portland, while Miles had 13 points and Stoudamire 11. Joel
Przybilla added 13 rebounds -- his eighth straight game with at
least 10 rebounds.
Wilkins had fans on their feet midway through the fourth
quarter, when he came on Stoudamire's blind side for a steal.
Wilkins chased the loose ball across the backcourt, then swept in
for dunk that put Seattle up 80-72.
It was the second time Wilkins filled in for Lewis in the past
two weeks, as he scored a career-high 21 points when the Sonics won
at Portland on March 22. In that game, Lewis' knee was sore. Now,
he's out with a bruised right foot.
"In this league, everyone has a turn," Wilkins said. "You've
just got to seize the moment."
Miles bumped his left shoulder early in the second quarter
and went to the bench, grimacing in pain. He then went to locker
room to have it iced but returned for the second half. ... Double
technicals were assessed on Allen and Przybilla early in the second
half, when Przybilla was called for an illegal screen. Wilkins
jumped in and was whistled for another. ... Several Blazers didn't
make the trip: Ruben Patterson (flu), Derek Anderson (back spasms)
and Theo Ratliff (back spasms). ... The Sonics won the season
series 3-1, the first time since 1997-98.