SEATTLE, Dec. 29 (Ticker) -- Vin Baker
scored 21 points and Gary Payton
added 18 and 11 assists as the Seattle SuperSonics moved above .500 for the first time this season with their sixth straight win, 101-75 over undermanned the Toronto Raptors.
Toronto struggled without All-Star guard Vince Carter,
who missed his first game of the season after straining his left shoulder late in the third quarter of Frirday's 89-86 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
"It's a day-to-day thing," Toronto coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We'll keep treating him. The best thing is that nothing's torn. X-rays were negative, so hopefully, it won't be a long time."
After Alvin Williams
got the Raptors within 28-24 with 10:55 left in the second quarter, the Sonics responded with a 21-6 that was capped by Rashard Lewis'
layup with 4:12 remaining. Seattle took a 57-36 halftime lead and was ahead by at least 21 points thereafter.
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Vin Baker made two-thirds of his shots to lead all scorers with 21 points.
Jeff Reinking /NBAE/Getty Images
"We're playing our best basketball of the season right now," Baker said. "Early in the season, we lost about seven or eight games that we should've won. But now we're starting to come together. The continuity is great. We're starting to pass the ball and our defense is playing much more physical on the defensive end of the floor. And it's making for big blowouts early in the first half."
The winning streak is the Sonics' longest since March 11-19.
Lewis made 8-of-9 shots for 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds for Seattle, which snapped a four-game slide against Toronto and improved to 16-15 overall and 11-5 at home.
collected 18 points and nine rebounds and Keon Clark
had 15 and 11 for Toronto, which also was without injured center Hakeem Olajuwon.
"We still had five guys on the floor," Clark said. "You have to play basketball regardless of if you are missing someone or not. It was one of those days, you know. They got us."
"The only good thing right now is that we have a couple of days off," Wilkens said. "Guys can get their legs back and get treatment, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Vince will be back by the next game."
The Sonics shot 51 percent (44-of-86) from the field while holding Toronto to 38 percent (32-of-84). They are 12-0 this season when scoring 100 points.
"They played well, they took advantage of us," Wilkens said. "We struggled, we didn't shoot the ball. It was like running in sand."
Neither team shot well from 3-point range. Toronto made just 4-of-21 from the arc and Seattle converted 3-of-13. But the Sonics dominated inside, outscoring the Raptors in the paint, 58-38. Seattle also dished out 30 assists to Toronto's 19.
"I like our defensive intensity and the tone that we're setting early in the game and, you know, extending our defense," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "Our guys are moving the ball and getting the ball to the open man and we're shooting the ball well. So I think we're just playing solid basketball on both ends of the floor."
"One game over .500 is not really where this team wants to settle," guard Brent Barry
added. "We know in January it's going to be tough, and we just have to regroup after the new year and take some aspirin after (January) 1st, and then get back on the practice court and then start to get ready for a tough month."