SEATTLE, May 3 (Ticker) -- Rashard Lewis
flashed his All-Star form at
just the right time for the Seattle SuperSonics.
Lewis scored seven of his 24 points in a critical 80-second span
of the fourth quarter as the SuperSonics advanced to the
Western Conference semifinals for the first time in seven years
with a 122-118 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
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The third-seeded SuperSonics had seven players in double figures
as they closed out the sixth-seeded Kings in five games and
continued their surprising season. They await the winner of the
San Antonio-Denver series.
Playing in his first postseason, Lewis had been inconsistent
throughout the series. After making 8-of-13 shots in the
opener, he made just 9-of-34 in the next three games, refusing
to talk to the media after Seattle's lone loss.
The SuperSonics appeared to be headed for another loss, falling
behind by 10 points in the third quarter before narrowing the
deficit to 93-90 entering the final period. A 7-0 spurt fueled
by Nick Collison
- who had 15 points and nine rebounds off the
bench - gave Seattle the lead for good.
A free throw and layup by Mike Bibby
, who had 35 points and 10
assists, pulled the Kings within 106-104 before Lewis went to
The 6-11 forward threw in a baseline hook, sank two free throws
and hit a 3-pointer for a 113-104 lead with 3:29 to play. Lewis
had made just 2-of-10 from the arc in the first four games but
drilled 3-of-5 in the clincher.
The Kings continued to battle and closed to 120-118 with 36
seconds to play on a 3-pointer by Peja Stojakovic, who scored 38
points. The Sonics went to All-Star Ray Allen
, who drove past
and through a pair of big men for the clinching
layup with 12 seconds remaining.
Allen scored 30 points and Antonio Daniels
added 14 off the
bench for Seattle, which shot 56 percent (42-of-75) from the
had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings, who
were eliminated in the opening round for the first time since
Sacramento lost guard Cuttino Mobley
to a sprained ankle in the
first half but got a big effort from Evans, who scored 13 points
on 5-of-5 shooting and did his best in defending Allen.