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Phoenix 114, Seattle 113

SEATTLE (AP) -- New Seattle coach Bob Weiss gave credit where he
thought credit was due.

"They played a great game," Weiss said after the Phoenix Suns,
playing without Amare Stoudemire and Steve Nash, opened their
exhibition season by beating the SuperSonics 114-113 on Friday
night.

"They did a great job keeping us off the boards," Weiss said,
referring to the Suns' 42-36 rebounding advantage.

Raja Bell had 26 points and James Jones added 18 for the Suns,
who will be without Stoudemire for about four months after his
surgery for torn cartilage in his left knee. Nash, last season's
MVP, was left at home in Arizona because of a bad cold. He was
expected to play on Saturday when the Suns host the Los Angeles
Clippers.

Ray Allen, a five-time All-Star who signed an $85 million,
five-year contract with the Sonics during the offseason, had 28
points.

Rashard Lewis added 19 points and Luke Ridnour 18 for Seattle.

Lewis put Seattle ahead 110-109 with two free throws with 3:37
left. Jones then gave Phoenix back the lead with a three-point play
with 2:12 remaining. Kurt Thomas added two free throws after being
fouled by Reggie Evans with 1:04 left to give the Suns a 114-110
lead.

Allen hit a 3-pointer with 28.7 seconds left. After the Suns
failed to get off a shot and the Sonics got the ball back with 4.2
seconds left, Ridnour missed a shot at the buzzer.

Ridnour, who led his team with 10 assists and seven rebounds,
wasn't supposed to take the final shot, Weiss said.

"The first option was Rashard off a pick and Ray was the second
option," he said. "But the clock's burning down and Luke's got to
make a decision."

The Sonics led 66-52 at halftime, outscoring the Suns 18-8 in
the final 4:31, with Allen sinking two 3-pointers and Lewis one.
Allen's second 3-pointer with 1:36 left in the first half capped a
9-0 run by the Sonics.

In the third quarter, the Suns came back to tie the score at 76
and 78, before the Sonics, led by Ridnour with six points, went on
a 9-0 run and took a 94-87 lead going into the final period.

Bell was signed as a free agent by Phoenix on Aug. 3 after he
averaged 12.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 28.4 minutes,
all career highs, for Utah last season. He shot 11-for-16,
including 4-for-7 from 3-point range, in 37 minutes.

He gave all the credit to his new coach, Mike D'Antoni, who was
NBA Coach of the Year last season.

"It's just the rhythm and the beauty of this offense, I
guess," Bell said. "You wind up getting open eventually. I found
myself in some wide-open spots and my teammates made some great
passes."

Bell said he was surprised how hotly contested the exhibition
was.

"But you don't play in the NBA without being a competitor," he
said. "Even in a preseason game, people are going to get after it
and they're going to try to win."