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Sonics overcome Pierce's 43, top Celtics at home

SEATTLE (AP) -- The Seattle SuperSonics wish they could get the
same production every night from their bench.

Led by Ronald Murray's season-high 29 points, Seattle's bench
sparked a second-half rally and the SuperSonics beat the Boston
Celtics 118-111 on Monday night.

The Sonics' reserves outscored their own starters 63-55, and
held on in the closing moments despite 43 points from Boston's Paul
Pierce.

"I think we came out tonight more focused the last couple of
minutes," Murray said. "They made a run on us and took our lead
away, but we just came together toward the end."

Murray was outstanding in the second half, going 8-of-10 while
filling in for the ill Luke Ridnour. Murray scored 18 in the third
quarter and Nick Collison scored six of Seattle's last nine points
as the Sonics won at home for just the second time in their last
seven games.

The victory may have come at a cost for Seattle. Murray
dislocated a joint on the middle and ring finger of his shooting
hand in the closing minutes battling Boston's Ricky Davis for a
loose ball. X-rays were negative for a fracture and he will receive
further evaluation on Tuesday.

"I came off a lot of screen-and-rolls and they were collapsing
so much ... on the post that it left me open for some shots," said
Murray, who was in some pain in the locker room afterward.

With the game tied at 105, Murray converted a three-point play
with 3:40 left, followed by a free throw from Damien Wilkins and a
follow by Collison for a 111-105 Seattle lead.

Delonte West answered with consecutive 3-pointers for Boston,
sandwiched around Wilkins' free throw for a 112-111 Seattle lead.
Pierce missed a chance to give Boston the lead with 1:29 left and
Rashard Lewis made two free throws. West then missed a 3-pointer
with 58 seconds left and Collison was fouled on the rebound and
made both free throws.

Boston missed its final two shots and Pierce went scoreless over
the final 3:58 and took just two shots. He shot 13-of-25 and was
16-of-21 at the free throw line.

"It's a team game. Guys have to step up and understand that the
focus is on me. When I have it going you have to look for it,"
Pierce said. "I thought a couple of times we went out on our own
and wasted possessions."

Pierce tied his season high and was the first player to score 40
or more points against Seattle this season. Kobe Bryant was the
last, scoring 42 on April 8. Pierce finished five shy of his career
high.

Seattle put six players in double figures. Lewis was quiet after
scoring 10 in the first quarter and finished with 21. Ray Allen
added 18, but struggled through a 3-of-13 shooting performance.

Collison finished with 16 off the bench, Reggie Evans scored 14
and Danny Fortson added 12, all in the first half.

"It was a total team effort tonight, especially the bench. They
gave us the energy in the second half," Lewis said. "We need
consistently guys like that to come in, when the starters aren't
rolling or me and Ray aren't rolling, and give us a little bit of
help and keep us in the game."

Davis scored 20 for Boston, which fell to 2-9 on the road and
had a modest two-game win streak broken. Mark Blount scored 14, and
West and Marcus Banks both had 12.

Seattle put together a 24-5 run in the third quarter behind the
unlikely combination of Murray and Evans, as the Sonics scored a
season-high 40 points in the period.

Boston took its biggest lead at 66-58, but then Evans and Murray
scored 20 of the next 24 points. Murray hit Seattle's first
3-pointer with 7:54 left in the quarter, added another two minutes
later, and aggressively attacked the basket.

Evans scored on the low block and showed surprising range,
hitting a couple of 15-foot jumpers. While Seattle's offense
suddenly clicked, Boston missed eight of 10 shots during seven
minute stretch.

"We finished strong and that was the main thing," Evans said.

The Celtics didn't go away, going to a small, speedy lineup that
frustrated the Sonics. Boston rallied for a 97-96 lead with 7:57
left on Davis' 3-pointer, the Celtics first of the game.

Game notes
Celtics G Tony Allen was listed as questionable for making
his season debut before the game, but was inactive. He is
recovering from right knee surgery. ... Lewis and Evans scored 16
of Seattle's 17 first quarter points. ... Brian Scalabrine, a
native of Enumclaw, Wash., didn't check in until 57 seconds left
for Boston.