CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 31 (Ticker) -- Rashard Lewis
teamed up to keep the Seattle SuperSonics
perfect on their road trip.
NBA TV highlights from |
Lewis scored 27 points and Radmanovic matched a season high with
21 as the SuperSonics posted a 103-97 victory over the
It marked the first meeting between the clubs and gave Bobcats
coach Bernie Bickerstaff a shot at the team he coached from
1985-90, including McMillan.
"We knew this team would be scrappy," said McMillan, who played
for Bickerstaff for four years with the Sonics and was facing
him as coach for the first time. "Any team that Bernie is
coaching will come out and play hard and will be disciplined
when they're on the floor. I knew that, I played for him."
Unfortunately for Charlotte, Bickerstaff had no answer for Lewis
and Radmanovic. The tandem combined for 26 points in the first
half to help Seattle build a 57-45 lead.
"We know that there is going to be somebody each and every night
to step up and tonight it was me," said Radmanovic, who shot
8-of-12. "We don't care about scoring points; the most important
thing is winning. We've been playing good basketball, stopping
other teams and getting wide open shots."
After the Bobcats rallied behind Emeka Okafor
and Primoz Brezec
to tie the game after three quarters, the Sonics turned to their
shooters in the fourth.
Radmanovic hit back-to-back 3-pointers to start the period and
had a key offensive rebound two minutes later, leading to a
basket by Lewis and an 88-81 lead. The duo combined for 14
points in the fourth, including 10 during a 13-4 run to start
"Charlotte had gained the momentum," Lewis said. "But
(Radmanovic) came down with two big three's that really took the
momentum from them. I think that really helped us from getting
in a hole."
Radmanovic was 3-of-19 with just 10 points in his last two
outings, including an 0-of-5 effort inside the arc.
Bickerstaff was visibly frustrated with the officials throughout
the night, especially in the fourth when the Sonics were
8-of-10 from the line while the Bobcats did not attempt a free
"I may be biased, but in my opinion, the 12 guys in that room
that suited up tonight deserve better than what they got,"
Bickerstaff said. "They played against a great basketball team
and they played well. But it appears when we got back in the
game, that every play, whether it was a defensive play or an
offensive play, (Seattle) got a second chance."
The Sonics have won the first two of five straight games on the
road. Their next contest is January 3 against the Miami Heat,
who have won 13 in a row.
"We definitely wanted to get off to a good start coming on this
road trip," Lewis said. "It's going to help us be successful,
knowing that we have to go to Miami, Orlando and Washington.
It's always good to get your first two."
Okafor continued an impressive streak with a career-high 27
points and 10 rebounds, recording his 18th consecutive
double-double. The standout rookie shot 12-of-16, had two
blocks and did not commit a turnover.
Despite his strong play, Okafor was quick to credit his
"They shoot the crap out of the ball," Okafor said. "Everybody
on the floor. You think you have them, they swing it and swing
it and then swoosh. They have good rebounders to gather the
misses. Sometimes you're like, 'Man they must have the cheat
code or something.' But we hung in there."
Brezec scored eight of his 22 points in the third quarter for
Charlotte, which lost its third straight at home following a
five-game winning streak at the Charlotte Coliseum.