SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle's defense wasn't stifling Wednesday
night, but it was better than their effort lately.
Statistically the worst defensive team in the league, Seattle
held Charlotte to just 36 percent shooting in the second half, and
the SuperSonics broke a three-game losing streak with a 104-94 win
over the Bobcats.
Seattle was allowing a 105.4 points per game, last in the
league. The SuperSonics spent the last two practices focusing on
defense, and it showed as Charlotte shot just 44 percent for the
game and turned the ball over 19 times.
Charlotte was just the fourth team Seattle held under 100
"We were just being really aggressive ... not just letting
nobody run freely and have a hand on somebody," Seattle forward
Reggie Evans said. "We had to touch somebody, as if they were our
girlfriend, and make sure we have a hand on a man all the time."
The All-Star duo of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis again carried
Seattle offensively. Allen scored 32 points and Lewis had 27 points
and 10 rebounds. Lewis was strong in the first half, scoring 18
points, and then turned it over to Allen, who had 20 in the second
Lewis' first half was filled with a mix of 3-pointers, mid-range
jumpers and a handful of dunks. Meanwhile, Allen did most of his
damage either on aggressive drives to the basket or 3-pointers.
Allen was 11 of 23 shooting, Lewis was 11 of 22. Lewis has
scored at least 20 points in each of the last four games.
"I'm playing pretty good right now, but it's a lot more
frustrating when your not winning ball games," Lewis said. "I'm
trying to do whatever I can to help us win."
Teams were shooting 48.6 percent against Seattle, next to last
in the league, and Charlotte shot 51 percent in the first half.
Seattle tightened in the second half, and the Bobcats struggled in
stretches and made just 13 of 36 shots.
Charlotte is now 0-10 when scoring fewer than 100 points, and
remained winless (0-6) against the Western Conference.
"They shot the ball well and did exactly what they are supposed
to do when you are sitting over here waiting for a team to come
in," Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "Their tempo and
was and every mistake we made, they made us pay for it."
Luke Ridnour had 14 points and 12 assists for Seattle, which
totaled 28 assists on 40 field goals and was extremely efficient
with the ball. Charlotte led the league forcing 20.1 turnovers per
game, but the Sonics had just 11, leading to only 11 points for the
Ahead by 10 at halftime, Seattle took a 63-58 lead with 7:37
left in the third quarter on Lewis' first basket of the second
half. Brezec scored at the other end, but the Sonics scored 13 of
the next 17 points, interrupted only by a pair of jumpers by
Nick Collison started the spurt with a dunk off a nice pass by
Lewis, Evans beat Emeka Okafor downcourt for another dunk, and
Allen capped the run with a jumper for a 76-64 lead with 4:18 left.
"They made shots and made runs at opportune times," Knight
said. "When we'd make runs to get back into the game, they'd
somehow come up with a quick six to eight points. They just never
let us get back into it."
Seattle stretched the lead to 18 early in the fourth quarter on
a 3-pointer by Allen for a 90-72 lead. Charlotte cut the lead to
94-85 with 4:41 left, but Allen made a fallaway 3-pointer over
Okafor as the shot-clock ran down to put Seattle back up 12. The
Bobcats got no closer than seven in the final seconds.
A night after his six-game streak of double-doubles was broken,
Okafor had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Leading scorer Gerald Wallace
had 12 points, five below his season average.
Charlotte C Jake Voskuhl sprained his right ankle in the
second quarter and did not return. ... Bobcats F Sean May missed
his third straight game with a sore right knee. He didn't play
Saturday night against Washington or Tuesday against Sacramento.
Bickerstaff said he wanted May to get a full practice before
returning to game action. May had arthroscopic surgery on his right
knee on Sept. 13 and missed part of the preseason. ... Knight was
ejected with 26 seconds left after picking up his second technical