Murray Lifts Sonics Past James, Cavs
Seattle 115, Cleveland 108
SEATTLE, Dec. 2 (Ticker) -- On a night when Ray Allen didn't have his patented shooting touch, Ronald "Flip" Murray delivered for the Seattle SuperSonics.
Murray scored 12 of his season-high 24 points in the fourth quarter and Allen drilled a key 3-pointer in the waning minutes as the SuperSonics held on for a 115-108 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
"It made us feel like we weren't an NBA team, and we didn't want them coming here and beating us," forward Rashard Lewis said. "It's our home court, it's not their home court."
Allen scored 28 points in that game, but the Cavaliers did a good job of containing the sharpshooter Friday.
Despite scoring 21 points, Allen went just 8-for-22 from the floor and struggled to find his offensive rhythm until the fourth quarter. Murray picked up the scoring slack, taking advantage of countless late opportunities provided to him by a sagging Cleveland defense.
"I thought this was (Murray's best game) without a doubt in the last two years," said Seattle coach Bob Weiss, who opted to play Murray in the fourth quarter over starter Luke Ridnour. "He's been getting stronger and stronger, so tonight was terrific."
"It took a lot of pressure off me and Rashard scoring," Allen added. "Flip seized the moment, took advantage of the openings he had and made some big plays."
Seattle ran a number of pick-and-rolls for Murray, who decimated the Cavaliers by drawing fouls via penetration or hitting open jumpers.
"I just tried to make some plays happen," said Murray, who shot 7-for-11 from the floor and made 10-of-12 free throws. "During that fourth-quarter stretch, we tried to run a lot of 1-and-3 pick-and-rolls with Rashard. I'm sure the coaching staff already knew what I could do, I just had an opportunity to come out here and play tonight."
Weiss was impressed with the playmaking poise displayed by Murray, who is generally known as more of a scorer.
"He did a great job at point guard keeping us in sets, delivering the ball and making some big plays," Weiss said.
The Sonics owned a 104-100 lead with under two minutes to play when Murray rolled off a screen into the left corner and drilled an open jumper to give Seattle a six-point cushion.
Cleveland answered when James penetrated and found Damon Jones in the right corner for a 3-pointer, but Allen responded with a huge shot from the arc on the other end to give Seattle a 109-103 advantage.
Jones drilled another 3-pointer with just over a minute left to cut the deficit to 109-106, but Murray scored the Sonics' next four points and Vladimir Radmanovic capped the contest with a steal and dunk to give Seattle a 115-108 lead with 13 seconds left.
Lewis scored 26 points and Radmanovic added 14 off the bench for the Sonics, who shot 52 percent (44-for-85).
Cleveland has dropped three of its last four and fell to 3-4 on the road this season.
"I told our guys time and time again that if we are going to be a good team, we are going to have to figure out how to win on the road," Cavs coach Mike Brown said. "And we are not going to win giving up 115 points on 52 percent shooting from the field."
Cleveland got another outstanding effort from James, who collected 34 points and eight assists. However, the Cavs were outrebounded, 38-30, and went just 8-for-25 from the arc.
"That's a good team," said James, who went 14-for-27 from the floor. "We were just one play from getting over the hump and we couldn't do it."
Larry Hughes made a pair of free throws with just over four minutes left to even the score at 98-98, but Seattle took the lead for good on the ensuing possession when Allen rebounded his own miss and hit a running jumper in the lane with 3:36 remaining.
Hughes collected 21 points and six assists, Jones scored 16 points and fellow reserve Donyell Marshall added 14 for Cleveland, which lost the first leg of its three-game road trip.