SEATTLE, April 26 (Ticker)
-- The Seattle SuperSonics are getting
contributions from a number of key players. For the second
straight game, the Sacramento Kings saw one of their pivotal
contributors all but disappear.
scored 26 points and had a pair of critical plays in
the final 67 seconds as the SuperSonics throttled Peja Stojakovic
and held off the Kings, 105-93, to take a 2-0 lead in
their Western Conference first-round series.
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After enduring Mike Bibby
's woeful three-point, 1-of-16 effort
in the series opener Saturday, Sacramento saw Stojakovic - who
did not play in the final quarter - score just nine points on
"I don't know what happened to us," Stojakovic said. "No
defense, no offense. ... We need to go home and play with a lot
more energy and passion."
With their leading scorer mired in a funk, Sacramento found
itself trailing, 88-62, at the end of three quarters. However,
the Kings' reserves, led by Bobby Jackson, staged a furious
comeback that got them within 95-85 with 4:58 left.
That is when Allen buried a long 3-pointer to temporarily stem
the tide. Jackson kept firing away and Sacramento was within
100-92 with 67 seconds to go when Allen found Jerome James
jumper. Allen added a three-point play 26 seconds later and
the Sonics cruised from there.
"I'm a scorer," Allen said. "There is not much that teams can
do to stop me, especially when our team is playing well. In the
fourth quarter, I just try to pick and choose my spots."
Seattle, which has not won a playoff series since 1998, got a
playoff career-high 19 points and nine rebounds from James. The
fourth-year center has been one of the differences in the
series with 36 points and 24 rebounds after averaging just 4.9
points and 3.0 rebounds during the regular season.
"I'm finally coming into my own," said James, who had
back-to-back double-digit scoring performances just once in the
regular season. "That is what (my team) has been expecting from
me from day one. It is just nice to finally give it to them."
"He is moving quicker, block to block," Sonics coach Nate McMillan
said. "He's running the floor, he's clogging the paint
and he's given us a defensive presence."
Jackson scored 17 points and Bibby added 16 on 7-of-14 shooting
for Sacramento, which has not lost in the first round since
With his team showing little fire, Kings coach Rick Adelman
played the entire fourth quarter with his second unit.
"My group in the fourth quarter competed," Adelman said. "They
got after it on both ends of the court. They pushed it up and
got us back in the game."
When pressed on why he didn't insert the starters back into the
game, Adelman got even more aggressive.
"They weren't going back in," he said. "I mean, why should I?
That other group was doing all the work."
Game Three is Friday in Sacramento.
If Seattle needs an omen, it has taken a 2-0 lead in a
best-of-seven series on six prior occasions and went on to win
each time. The last time Sacramento trailed a best-of-seven
series, 2-0, it was swept by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1996
Western Conference semifinals.
"I think most people said we were the underdogs because of lack
of experience," Allen said. "I've watched Sacramento play
basketball in the playoffs for as long as I have been in the NBA
and I think when it comes down to seeding, it doesn't matter.
You look at our records, we won two more games than they did.
"That lack of experience did make us the underdog, but when you
lace it up, there is no telling who is going to do what on who's
floor and where."
Seattle led, 63-51, three minutes into the second half when a
10-footer by James sparked a 23-9 burst. The Sonics made
11-of-19 shots and 10-of-11 free throws in the quarter and held
the Kings to 8-of-22 shooting.
"We played quick in that quarter defensively. I think (that)
was the biggest thing," Seattle guard Antonio Daniels
cut down on their easy looks and when we had an opportunity to
push the ball and run out, we did it."
"It's really frustrating," Stojakovic said. "I really didn't
bring any energy in the third quarter. They pressed us,
starting on the defensive end. Then they started something
different on offense and it just didn't work."