Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 3)

Series starts 2/8

Game 1: Tuesday, February 8th
Hornets91Final
SuperSonics108
Game 2: Wednesday, February 23rd
SuperSonics103Final
Hornets85
Game 3: Friday, April 15th
Hornets72Final
SuperSonics97

Hornets 72

(18-61, 7-33 away)

SuperSonics 97

(51-28, 26-15 home)

    Coverage: COX

    7:30 PM ET, April 15, 2005

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    NO 23 16 17 1672
    SEA 25 28 20 2497

    Top Performers

    New Orleans: L. Nailon 15 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Seattle: R. Allen 32 Pts, 7 Ast, 2 Stl

    Allen's 32 help Sonics snap six-game skid

    SEATTLE (AP) -- Two weeks of frustration and anticipation finally ended for the Seattle SuperSonics with All-Stars Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen autographing their shoes and throwing them into the frenzied sellout crowd while coach Nate McMillan got doused with Gatorade.

    Expected to be among the worst teams in the NBA at the beginning of the season, the Sonics are headed to the playoffs as Northwest Division champs after a 97-72 win over the lowly New Orleans Hornets on Friday night.

    Allen scored 32 points as Seattle (51-28) snapped a six-game losing streak. Immediately after the game ended, the Sonics unveiled the Northwest Division banner in the rafters of KeyArena. It's the first division title for Seattle since winning the Pacific Division in 1998.

    "A lot of people doubted the team this year and that was OK. We went out and played the game the right way all season long," McMillan said. "And they finished this last home game the right way."

    Allen shot 12-of-19 in what may have been his final regular season home game with the Sonics. Allen will be a free agent in the offseason.

    "Being an All-Star doesn't mean anything, it's so individual and you really can't celebrate," Allen said. "But when you win the division, the conference or a championship, words can't describe it."

    Seattle had not won since April 1 against Portland. During their losing streak, the SuperSonics averaged just 93 points, allowed more than 107 and were hampered by injuries for the first time this season. Lewis, Antonio Daniels and Danny Fortson all missed time during the losing skid, Lewis missing eight games with a bone bruise in his right foot.

    Friday was the second game back for all three, and the SuperSonics regained some rhythm.

    "It's great to get the win here and not have to worry about somebody beating Denver," said Daniels, who added 13 points. "Guys were very focused and everybody in here realized how big of a game this was."

    Ahead 25-23 after one quarter, the SuperSonics started the second on an 11-0 run to build a 36-23 lead, highlighted by Daniels' driving three-point play and a dunk from Nick Collison. The Hornets (18-61) never got within 10 points.

    Seattle outscored New Orleans 28-16 in the second quarter as the Hornets missed their first six shots of the quarter and settled for 3-pointers and long jump shots.

    The Sonics led 53-39 at halftime and led by as many as 30 in the fourth quarter.

    "I knew they were going to come out like mad dogs and go right after us," Hornets coach Byron Scott said. "When we made subs, they just took advantage of it. They just ate us up then."

    Seattle was considered an afterthought before the season, playing in a division with last year's conference runner-up Minnesota, and teams in Denver and Utah that many felt had improved in the offseason.

    But the Sonics went 22-6 in the first two months of the season, and built a double-digit lead in the division that held up despite the recent skid and Denver winning 24 of its last 26.

    "We gave ourselves a big enough cushion," McMillan said. "We took advantage of players when they were playing well early in the season and it paid off for us at the end.

    While Seattle has wrapped up the division, home court in the first round is still to be decided. The Sonics need one more win or a Houston loss to clinch home court advantage against the Rockets. Seattle would own home court should it face Denver.

    The Hornets dressed just nine players as Chris Andersen, George Lynch and Jamaal Magloire all were sidelined with injuries. Former Gonzaga star Dan Dickau had missed Wednesday game at Denver with a strained left shoulder, but returned to score 8 points for the Hornets.

    "Seattle is a much better team than they have been playing the last couple of weeks," Dickau said. "They came out and hit jumper after jumper and it was too hard to get back in the game."

    Lee Nailon led New Orleans with 15 points and Bostjan Nachbar added 11. It was the sixth straight loss for the Hornets.

    "This is why we play the game right here, to celebrate at the end of the season," Allen said.

    Game notes


    Magloire (back spasms) and Andersen (right ankle sprain) each missed their fifth straight game, and Lynch (sore right knee) sat out his third. ... Seattle forward Vladimir Radmanovic is now out of a walking boot he was wearing on his injured right leg, but coach Nate McMillan is unsure of Radmanovic's availability for the start of the playoffs. Radmanovic has been on the injured list since March 18 with a stress fracture in his lower right leg. ... Dickau, a native of Vancouver, Wash., said that he had to get about 30 tickets for the game. ... Collison played without a face mask for the first time since breaking his nose March 6 against Phoenix.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

     
    NO
    SEA
    Points 72 97
    FGM-FGA 26-70 (.371) 34-78 (.436)
    3PM-3PA 4-10 (.400) 9-23 (.391)
    FTM-FTA 16-19 (.842) 20-25 (.800)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 7-31 11-44
    Assists 17 21
    Turnovers 16 11
    Steals 4 7
    Blocks 3 7
    Fast Break Points 4 24
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (1/0) 20 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 30

    Top Performers

    New Orleans
    Seattle
    Lee Nailon Nailon
    Points: 15
    Reb: 4
    Ast: 3
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 1
    Ray Allen Allen
    Points: 32
    Reb: 0
    Ast: 7
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0