SEATTLE, March 18 (Ticker) --
The Seattle SuperSonics executed a simple
plan to cool off the red-hot Houston Rockets - just contain
, Cuttino Mobley
and Yao Ming
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scored 25 points and Ray
added 23 as the Seattle SuperSonics held on for a 100-94
victory over the Houston Rockets.
Seattle has won three of its last four games, and Lewis has been
the team's leading scorer in all of those games. The 6-10
forward hit a jumper with 3:29 left to give the Sonics their
biggest lead, 94-80.
The Rockets battled back, putting together a 13-3 surge during
the next three minutes. Glen Rice
nailed a 3-pointer with 28
seconds to play and pulled Houston within 97-93.
Lewis made a free throw before Allen hit a pair from the line
with six seconds remaining to seal the victory.
"We know we need to scrap in order to have an opportunity to
win," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "These guys came out and
scrapped tonight. They (the Rockets) are a tough team to
defend with all the players that they have that can isolate
Point guards Brent Barry
and Kevin Ollie
were charged with
containing the dynamic backcourt tandem of Francis and Mobley.
Francis collected 23 points, nine boards and 10 assists. But
the All-Star was held without a basket in the fourth as the
Rockets had their season-high five-game winning streak snapped
and fell into a tie with the Phoenix Suns for the final playoff
spot in the Western Conference.
"We made it tough for Steve going down the middle to penetrate,"
Allen said. "I think we had them frustrated offensively."
Francis and Mobley combined to commit eight turnovers.
"I think the unforced turnovers we had, the mental mistakes, the
throwing the ball away at inopportune times really cost us,"
Rockets assistant Larry Smith said.
The Rockets made the trip to Seattle without coach Rudy
Tomjanovich, who was diagnosed with a superficial bladder tumor
that will not require surgery.
"What coach went through had an effect on us," Francis said. "I
know coach and I know how he is. He would want guys focusing
on basketball today."
Barry and Ollie also managed to push the offense for Seattle.
Barry had eight assists, while Ollie scored 13 points on 6-of-8
shooting and added six assists in 26 minutes off the bench.
"The attention is given to Ray because he's the star player that
came over (in the deal with Milwaukee)," Barry said. "But
Kevin Ollie is the type of player that you want on your team 82
games a year. He's gonna come out and be a solid point. He
knows the offense and understands the game."
In the paint, the Sonics used 6-11 center Predrag Drobnjak
6-10 forward Vladimir Radmanovic
to limit the 7-5 Yao to eight
points - recording just eight attempts from the floor - and
seven rebounds with four turnovers.
"We wanted to bump him early and force him off the block,"
McMillan said. "If he did get deep post position, we send a
double team. Peja did a very good job of keeping him out of
post position, where he could score. When we did double team,
our traps were solid."
"They didn't have a post-up game," Radmanovic said. "Yao was
out of the game, and Steve Francis and Cuttino Mobley tried to
penetrate and pass, but our defense was good enough to prevent
Seattle moved four games behind Houston and Phoenix in the
playoff race with 16 to play.