Ray Allen tied his season high with 38 points, and the
shorthanded Sonics broke a three-game home losing streak with a
98-90 victory over Orlando on Friday night in Jent's debut as the
Magic's head coach.
Prior to the game, the Sonics learned they'll be without
Radmanovic (stress fracture in his leg) for 4-6 weeks. Although it
looked as through Allen was trying to carry his team, the five-time
All-Star guard insisted that wasn't the case as Seattle rebounded
from consecutive home defeats to Phoenix, Houston and Chicago.
"We played the way we want to play, the way we're capable of
playing," Allen said.
The Magic suffered their seventh consecutive defeat, a season
high, in their first game under their 35-year-old interim coach.
Jent took over after Johnny Davis was fired on Thursday.
A former first-year assistant on Davis' staff, Jent was critical
of himself after the game.
"I felt like I didn't prepare my team or adjust well enough,"
he said. "Just pointing out small details is not enough. We have
to do a better job than that. I failed them in that regard."
But the Magic players gave Jent an 'A' for effort.
"Chris is a good coach," rookie Dwight Howard said. "He's
learning how to lead a team. I could tell he was a little nervous.
We just got to sell out to him and know he's going to do the best
job he can to help us win. He's more like a player-coach because
he's so young."
Allen had three of his baskets and 12 points in the fourth
quarter and got some surprise help from little-used center Vitaly
Potapenko, who contributed three key field goals.
Potapenko put in a short hook shot to put the Sonics ahead 77-75
with 9:42 left. He hit an 11-foot shot with 7:07 left to put
Seattle in front 81-77 and made a 15-footer with 4:14 on the clock
to give the Sonics an 87-83 lead.
"We have a very deep team here and some guys have to come off
the bench," Potapenko said. "I practice those shots every day."
Potapenko thinks the Sonics will be able to survive the final
five weeks of their regular season without Radmanovic.
"He's a weapon, especially in 3-point shooting, he's a
weapon," he said. "His mobility on the court. But this is part of
the game. Everybody has injuries and we have to adjust."
Allen did say it was important to show that the Sonics aren't a
team in turmoil.
After a loss Wednesday night at Detroit, Sonics forward Rashard
Lewis told reporters that, "it seems like other guys are on
different agendas. Some guys were trying to win, some guys
Allen complained about his role in the offense and about playing
a season-low 28 minutes.
"We lost the game and we all took it hard," Allen said Friday
night. "We know how we feel about each other. We just had to come
out here and just play and do what we do. Play hard and play
together. We've showed that we're good when we play together and
that's what we did tonight."
Lewis, Allen's fellow All-Star, looked fatigued, but managed 13
points on 4-for-13 shooting. Allen shot 12-for-21 and was
12-for-12, including 6-for-6 in the final period, from the free
throw line. Nick Collison had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the
Steve Francis, who had 19 points for the Magic, appeared to kick
a courtside photographer during the fourth quarter.
"He threw my legs down, man. That was it," said Francis, who
denied kicking the man. "No. Uh, uh. I don't know what happened."
Orlando made only four free throws and took just 11 attempts.
"I'm the only starter who went to the free-throw line,"
Francis said. "So that's tough."
Without Radmanovic, the Sonics' bench was limited to 24 points,
led by Antonio Daniels' 10.<
^Notes: Allen's career high is 47 points. ... The Sonics started
Collison at center in place of James. It was Collison's third start
of the season. ... Rookie C Robert Swift played five minutes in the
first half for Seattle, only his 13th game of the season. He missed
two shots and committed two fouls. He did not return in the second