Hill Successful in First Game as Sonics’ Coach
Seattle 101, Chicago 97
CHICAGO, Jan. 4 (Ticker) -- Bob Hill made his debut for the Seattle SuperSonics in glorious fashion.
Rashard Lewis scored 21 points and Ray Allen added 20 for their new coach as the SuperSonics posted a 101-97 triumph over the reeling Chicago Bulls, who have dropped eight straight games.
"I thought under the circumstances of having only 1 1/2 to two practices and changing the system, we were pretty good out there," Hill said. "Overall, I was really pleased. I'm glad to get (that first win). However, it's not about me. The guys were the ones who deserved it."
"I don't know too much about Bob yet, but he's a lot more talkative," Lewis said. "He makes you play hard with a lot of energy. It's like we've got a new beginning now."
Last in the NBA in defense, the SuperSonics quickly responded to the change, racing to a 51-40 halftime lead as Allen scored 17 points. They still held a 77-68 advantage entering the final period and a 99-91 bulge after Luke Ridnour's two free throws with 42 seconds remaining.
But Darius Songaila made a 3-pointer, Ridnour committed a turnover and Ben Gordon drilled a deep 3-pointer as the Bulls closed the gap at 99-97 with 33 seconds left.
Ridnour missed a jumper with 14 seconds left and Lewis and Othella Harrington both came down with the rebound for a jump ball. The tip was knocked toward the sideline and Gordon could not corral it, allowing it to go out of bounds.
Ridnour nailed two free throws to seal the win, ending a two-game slide for Seattle (14-17).
"The defense played well tonight, and we continued to play hard," Lewis said. "We apparently didn't think we would give up those two big threes and let them get back into the game. But in the end, it was the defense that got it done for us".
Ridnour scored 15 points and Vladimir Radmanovic and Flip Murray added 14 apiece for Seattle, which shot 41 percent (32-of-77) from the field and won its eighth straight visit here.
Gordon scored 21 points and Songaila added 20 off the bench for the Bulls, who shot 40 percent (33-of-81), including 9-of-25 from the arc.
"We had a lot of energy to start the game, but then we just leveled off," Gordon said. "We fought all the way to the end, but just couldn't get the win."
The Bulls are mired in their deepest funk since starting last season with nine losses.
"It's frustrating, but what are you going to do?" Gordon said. "There's no doubt about it in my mind, we can turn it around. We have a great bunch of guys. We just need to continue to grind it out."