Seattle wins series 4-1 (Game 1 of 5)

Seattle wins series 4-1

Game 1: Saturday, April 23rd
Game 2: Tuesday, April 26th
Game 3: Friday, April 29th
Game 4: Sunday, May 1st
Game 5: Tuesday, May 3rd

Kings 82

(50-32, 20-21 away)

SuperSonics 87


Coverage: FSSE

7:30 PM ET, April 23, 2005

Key Arena, Seattle, WA

1 2 3 4 T
SAC 22 18 24 1882
SEA 30 25 15 1787

Top Performers

Sac: P. Stojakovic 24 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Blk

Sea: R. Allen 28 Pts, 10 Reb, 3 Ast, 3 Stl

X-factor James adds 17 and 15 to lift Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) -- Looking way back, Jerome James was glad he was cut by Sacramento. And now that he plays for Seattle, he was glad to help the SuperSonics beat the Kings in their playoff opener.

Ray Allen scored 28 points, James added 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Reggie Evans had another 15 boards, leading Seattle to a 87-82 victory over the Kings in Game 1 of the first-round series Saturday night.

"Jerome was the key tonight," Sonics forward Rashard Lewis said. "He and Reggie Evans controlled the paint. Jerome was blocking shots all night. He was a big presence and he intimidated those guards when they went to the basket."

James played inspired. The center, who started his NBA career in Sacramento, has been inconsistent during his five seasons with the Sonics, but he had three blocked shots by halftime, and added two more early in the second half.

He finished with five blocks, and his work around the basket -- eight offensive rebounds for both James and Evans -- helped Seattle to a 51-44 rebounding advantage that proved to be huge.

But, no, James said he wasn't trying to prove a point.

"I have no ill will for the Sacramento Kings for cutting me in 1999," he said. "In fact, I'm thankful for it. They allowed me to grow as a player. It helped me gain the experience I needed in the NBA."

The Sonics blew a 21-point second-half lead but held on with big baskets in the closing seconds by Allen and James.

"Anytime you win I don't question it, especially in the playoffs," Allen said. "We did some things wrong. We'll watch and critique it tomorrow."

Cuttino Mobley scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half for the Kings. His jumper with 1:10 to play pulled Sacramento to 83-79, and he added a 3-pointer with 42.4 seconds to go to make it 83-82.

The Sonics answered, getting James open for a layup with 25 seconds to play after Antonio Daniels found him in the lane.

Sacramento went back to Mobley, who came off a screen by Greg Ostertag but missed a 3-point try from the right wing. Peja Stojakovic corralled the ball in the backcourt and fed Mike Bibby, but he put up an airball that ended Sacramento's chances.

"We have to do a better job and concentrate," Kings coach Rick Adelman said. "But our guys played hard down the stretch and we had a chance."

Allen added two late free throws, then threw the ball in the air after Bobby Jackson missed a 3-pointer with 3 seconds to go.

Stojakovic led Sacramento with 24 points, and Kenny Thomas added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Lewis scored 18 points for Seattle, and Daniels added 12.

Bibby, appearing in his 41st playoff game, looked as though he had a case of the rookie jitters. He shot 0-for-9 with two assists in the first half, missed his first two shots of the third quarter and finished with three points on 1-for-16 shooting.

"I figured I'd make more than one," Bibby said. "I kept shooting. My shot just felt bad. It won't happen again."

Seattle seemed safe, leading 63-41 early in the second half after a jumper by Allen, and it looked like another first-round blowout on a day where Detroit, Houston and Boston all coasted to easy wins.

The Kings had other ideas. Sacramento used a 14-3 run over the final 4:57 of the third quarter to pull to 70-64, trimming the margin on a basket by Stojakovic and a three-point play from Miller.

They also got two big baskets and three rebounds from Ostertag in the run. The Kings kept it going by opening the final quarter with a dunk by Ostertag and a bucket from Stojakovic, cutting the deficit to four at 72-68.

"Our effort was a lot better in the second half," Adelman said. "They started missing some opportunities and we got some momentum going. We had a chance to win."

The Sonics held. Allen ignored his 1-for-7 effort to start the second half and swished a 3-pointer to put Seattle up 75-68, then James had a huge rebound and putback and Lewis added another basket for a 79-70 lead with 5:32 to go.

"The shots didn't fall for us in the second half," Allen said. "The defense gets tighter."

Sacramento center Brad Miller, who missed the final 25 regular season games with a broken left leg, scored seven points in 8 minutes. He played 4 minutes in the first half and returned in the third quarter, taking part in the key run.

"Definitely don't have the wind when I was playing two months ago, but I felt comfortable getting out there," Miller said.<

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Seattle.

Game notes

Kings C Darius Songalia was assessed a flagrant foul midway through the second quarter when he reached across and flattened Daniels at midcourt. ... Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck watched from a seat on one baseline. ... Tempers flared when Reggie Evans rolled over Thomas after Thomas rebounded with 1:39 to play, but officials stepped in to cool things down. Evans had 15 rebounds, eight offensive. ... Sonics F Danny Fortson made his first playoff start after 402 NBA games, the third-longest stretch among active players. He scored three points.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

Points 82 87
FGM-FGA 34-88 (.386) 31-85 (.365)
3PM-3PA 5-24 (.208) 4-15 (.267)
FTM-FTA 9-15 (.600) 21-28 (.750)
Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 21-44 22-51
Assists 17 16
Turnovers 14 11
Steals 4 9
Blocks 9 5
Fast Break Points 3 5
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/1) 21 (1/0)
Largest Lead 0 21

Top Performers

Peja Stojakovic Stojakovic
Points: 24
Reb: 5
Ast: 1
Stl: 0
Blk: 1
Ray Allen Allen
Points: 28
Reb: 10
Ast: 3
Stl: 3
Blk: 0