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Allen scores 35 as Sonics hold off Nets in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) -- Ray Allen came through with his usual clutch
shooting, and second-year center Robert Swift left his coach and
teammates impressed.

Allen scored 35 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and
Swift added 14 points and 12 rebounds as the Seattle SuperSonics
held off the New Jersey Nets 113-104 on Saturday night.

"I told him, 'What you did tonight, we expect that of you from
here on out," Allen said about his postgame conversation with
Swift.

Since Swift was inserted into the starting lineup last Sunday at
Phoenix, Seattle is 3-1 and Swift has averaged 10 points and nine
rebounds.

Meanwhile, the Nets are headed in the other direction. New
Jersey finished its road trip 0-4 and has lost seven of the last
eight on the road. The only win in that stretch came at
Philadelphia on Jan. 18.

Richard Jefferson led the Nets with a season-high 36 points, but
New Jersey couldn't rally from a big deficit for the second
straight night, despite Vince Carter's return from a sore back.

The Nets trailed Seattle by 15 in the third quarter and were
down 20 to Portland on Friday night before losing 88-83.

"We just couldn't put together any stop," Nets coach Lawrence
Frank said. "They scored on all their crucial possessions."

Luke Ridnour continued his outstanding play in coach Bob Hill's
system. Ridnour missed Thursday's game against Dallas with a
sprained left knee, but scored 20 points and handed out 13 assists
on Saturday, his sixth double-double of the season.

Ridnour was averaging 18 points in his last seven games and has
topped 20 points in four of the last eight.

"(Hill's) system has been better. We're getting the ball out
and running more and that always helps," Ridnour said.

The Nets were within 93-92 after two free throws from Carter
with 5:35 left. Johan Petro followed Ridnour's miss with a dunk and
Allen sandwiched a jumper and 3-pointer around Jefferson's miss for
a 100-94 Seattle lead.

New Jersey got within four, but Ridnour's three-point play with
2:42 left put Seattle back ahead 105-98. Carter scored six straight
trying to keep the Nets close, but Allen added a jumper and two
free throws, before Carter turned the ball over with 52 seconds
left and the Nets down 109-102.

Carter finished with 29 points on 11 of 19 shooting after
missing Friday's game with a sore back. Nenad Krstic had a
double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, but Jason Kidd
struggled, shooting 1-of-10 and finished with five points.

"I was just trying to be aggressive and get to the hole," said
Carter, who scored 10 in the fourth quarter.

Rashard Lewis scored 15 and Vladimir Radmanovic added 11 points
for Seattle. He missed Thursday's game with a sprained right foot.

It was the contributions from Petro and Swift that proved
important. The two combined for 22 points and 18 rebounds.

"That's by far the best our two 7-footers have played. When
they have 22 points and 18 rebounds we have to all be proud of that
kind of production," Hill said. "And that was against a good
team."

Carter hurt his lower back Monday in an 89-78 loss to Utah and
reaggravated it in a 90-77 loss Wednesday to the Los Angeles
Clippers.

He started and played very well in the first half. He scored on
his first attempt when Swift was called for goaltending. He then
made a fallaway 19-footer and shot 6-of-8 in the first half.

Against the Clippers, Carter hit just one shot from the field to
finish with a season-low three points. He left the game with 2:25
to go in the third quarter.

"The first two minutes were the toughest," Carter said. "I
was tired."

Seattle pushed its lead to 10 starting the second half, trying
to put away the fatigued Nets. Jefferson scored on a three-point
play with 8:46 left in the third, but Seattle went on a 10-2 run,
capped by Swift beating the Nets downcourt for a transition layup
and a 72-57 lead with 5:52 left in the third.

With Allen and Lewis resting, New Jersey made a run with its
starters on the floor. The Nets closed the quarter on a 14-7 spurt
to get within 83-76 after three.

Game notes
Seattle signed G Mateen Cleaves to a 10-day contract before
Saturday's game. Cleaves was released by the Sonics on Jan. 4. ...
New Jersey has lost five of its last six in Seattle. ... Swift was
called for goaltending twice, both times giving the Nets'
three-point play opportunities.