SEATTLE, May 15 (Ticker) --
never had a chance going
and Luke Ridnour
helped offset a huge game by Duncan
as the Seattle SuperSonics pulled away for a 101-89 victory over
the San Antonio Spurs that evened their Western Conference
semifinal at 2-2.
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A major surprise during the regular season, the SuperSonics
looked to be in over their heads against the Spurs after being
thoroughly beaten in the first two games of the series. However,
they bounced back with a 92-91 triumph in Game 3 on
Thursday, a contest in which Allen went scoreless in the fourth
Allen, who suffered a sprained right ankle in Game 1, again
played like an All-Star in this one, scoring 32 points on
"There were a lot of guys who stepped up and played well," Allen
said. "It's great any time you can win collectively. This
game was definitely great."
Ridnour managed just 23 points in the first three games but
proved to be the latest surprise for the Sonics, who never
trailed in their best game of the series.
Ridnour caught fire in the third quarter, making all seven of
his shots and scoring 15 points in the period as the Sonics took
control of the game.
"It's been open but I haven't looked for it," Ridnour said of
his shot. "Tonight I just came out and had some good looks, and
was able to hit some layups and get going. That definitely
helped. The main thing is that I came out aggressive."
"I've heard so many people saying to replace him in the lineup
after the first two games," Sonics coach Nate McMillan
"Luke is the future for this franchise as far as running the
point guard. He is a competitor and competes every single
night, that's the one thing I love about him."
In the third quarter, Ridnour and Allen combined for 28 of the
Sonics' 36 points as they opened a commanding 82-66 lead.
Ridnour hit two jumpers and a 3-pointer in the final 60 seconds
of the period.
Ridnour finished with 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting and also
handed out six assists.
"That's what Luke has in him," Allen said. "It was just an
All-Star coming out. He started doing what he is capable of
doing. I've told him all year to play like he used to play at
The performances by Allen and Ridnour could not have come at a
better time for the Sonics, who played without All-Star forward
due to a sprained toe. Lewis was injured late in
"It's a coach's nightmare usually when somebody sits out," Spurs
coach Gregg Popovich
said. "You worry about a team playing
inspired basketball knowing that they are up against it."
With Lewis out, McMillan went to a three-guard lineup and
inserted former Spur Antonio Daniels
in the starting lineup.
Daniels scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting while also handing
out seven assists.
"We wanted to push the ball and I felt like we could tonight,
with three guards being in the lineup," McMillan said. "Antonio
did a nice job tonight. By having Ray, Luke and Antonio in the
game, we wanted to keep pressure on their defense."
"We've been without guys throughout the course of the season, so
that's not anything different," Daniels said. "When guys go
down, other guys need to step up and be ready to play. I'm just
going to be myself. I'm not going to try and be Rashard, and
I'm not going to do something I'm not accustomed to doing."
Duncan also played like his superstar self, collecting 35 points
and 10 rebounds. He made 10-of-19 shots and went 14-of-17 at
However, Duncan received little help from his supporting cast.
The other four starters combined for just 19 points on 8-of-24
"I thought Seattle played a great game tonight," Popovich said.
"They played like it was a playoff game and I thought Tim
Duncan played like it was a playoff game. He looked around and
couldn't find anyone to help him."
added 15 points and Tony Parker 12 for the Spurs,
who find themselves in a familiar position. It marks the third
straight season they have squandered 2-0 lead in the conference
"It's very disappointing to be in a position to go up 3-1 and
then go back and see such unaggressive, sloppy, uninspired
play," Popovich said.
Game 5 is back in San Antonio on Tuesday.
The Spurs never led, but pulled even at 54-54 with 7:41 left in
third quarter on Duncan's short jumper. Allen answered six
seconds later with a jumper of his own to give Seattle back the
lead for good and trigger a 12-1 burst.
After Duncan and Reggie Evans
each split a pair of free throws,
Allen drilled a jumper and 3-pointer around a basket by Ridnour,
who capped the surge with a 10-footer for a 66-55 lead with
4:18 left in the period.
The Spurs managed to pull within 70-62 with 2:42 left in the
period before Ridnour led a closing spurt that rebuilt the lead
to double digits.
With Ridnour and Allen leading the way, the Sonics shot 64
in the third quarter. They shot 50 percent (39-of-78) overall.
Seattle also received a surprising effort from rookie
, who scored 15 points and had five steals in 32 minutes.
He had scored a total of five points on 2-of-11 shooting in
his first four playoff game.
"He's worked hard all season long," McMillan said. "We talk
about opportunities and he came in and played big. He had five
steals on the defensive end that led to some easy baskets."
The Spurs shot 42 percent (30-of-72) and hurt themselves with 20
turnovers. San Antonio went 24-of-30 at the free-throw line, a
marked improvement from a 19-of-34 effort in Game 3.
Allen scored 17 points and Daniels 11 in the first half, helping
the Sonics to a 46-40 lead at the break. Duncan scored 20
points in the half for the Spurs.