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Lewis leads four Sonics in double figs

SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle SuperSonics coach Nate McMillan wasn't
sure what to expect. With four full days off between games,
McMillan was concerned his team might have lost a bit of its edge.

The coach was happy to see otherwise.

Rashard Lewis scored 21 points to lead four SuperSonics in
double figures, and Seattle beat the Denver Nuggets 98-83 Wednesday
night.

"This was a game I was a little nervous about, in the sense of
just not knowing how we would come out," McMillan said. "It's a
different type of challenge, mentally, to have so many days off and
to prepare and work and see if you can come out and play a solid
game.

"It's been a long four days."

Seattle hadn't played since a 112-110 loss to Phoenix last
Friday. They don't play again until Dec. 27 at Utah.

There were other obstacles for the SuperSonics to overcome
besides time off.

Seattle was without third-leading scorer Antonio Daniels, out
with what the team said was tonsillitis. And leading scorer Ray
Allen was battling an upper respiratory infection.

Allen said he never felt that he could catch his wind, but still
played 41 minutes and scored 20 points. Vladimir Radmanovic added
19 off the bench as the SuperSonics improved to 19-5.

"I felt like I was two steps slow," Allen said. "I was trying
to get my second wind and never got it."

Andre Miller led the Nuggets with 20 points and Kenyon Martin
added 18, 16 in the second half. Denver (13-13) lost for the sixth
time in seven games and is at .500 for the first time since Nov. 26
when the Nuggets were 6-6.

Denver played without forward Carmelo Anthony, who missed his
third straight game after spraining his left ankle last Friday. The
Nuggets' offense struggled, especially in the first half, when they
managed just 38 points and turned the ball over 14 times.

Seattle is 2-0 against its Northwest Division foe, having won
108-88 in Denver on Nov. 9.

"Give their defense some credit, but give our team some
blame," Denver coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We just weren't strong
enough with the basketball."

Trailing by 15 at halftime, the Nuggets cut the lead to 64-56 on
a thunderous putback dunk by Martin with 4:15 left in the third
quarter.

Seattle led by 10 entering the fourth and started the quarter
with a 10-2 run to build the advantage to 89-71. Denver didn't get
closer than 15 points the rest of the way.

"I think a lot of us are forcing things, which isn't
characteristic of us," Martin said.

Daniels' play off the bench has been a major factor in Seattle's
strong start. He is averaging 12.2 points per game, while backing
up point guard Luke Ridnour.

But Radmanovic and Ronald Murray picked up the scoring slack.
Murray added 15 points as the Seattle bench outscored Denver's
43-34.

Seattle also outrebounded the Nuggets 48-35. Reggie Evans had 12
rebounds and Radmanovic added nine for the SuperSonics.

"It's wasn't a pretty game," Radmanovic said. "But we
scraped, outrebounded this team, played harder than they did and
got another one."

Rodney White added 17 points for Denver.

Seattle built an 11-point, first-quarter lead, but Denver cut
the deficit to 28-25 two minutes into the second quarter. From
there, Seattle went on a 18-3 run, and the lead grew to 18.

The Nuggets went more than six minutes with only one field goal,
missed seven shots and turned the ball over four times during the
stretch. Denver had 14 turnovers in the first half and trailed
53-38 at the break.

"It's frustrating playing all these good teams without all our
players," Denver's DerMarr Johnson said. "We knew we'd make a run
at some point, but we just dug too deep a hole."

The Nuggets have played eight of their last nine on the road,
but have two of their next three at home.

Game notes
Anthony didn't make the trip to Seattle, but did some
jogging and shooting Wednesday, Bzdelik said. No date has been set
for his return. ... Seattle's Danny Fortson played 10 minutes and
fouled out with 10:12 left in the fourth quarter. He was also
whistled for a technical foul in the first half.