Lewis, Allen Lift Sonics Over Jazz
Seattle 113, Utah 81
SEATTLE, March 5 (Ticker) -- Perhaps the Seattle SuperSonics gained some confidence from a loss.
Rashard Lewis scored 22 points as the SuperSonics played arguably their best game of the season in a 113-81 rout of the Utah Jazz.
Ray Allen added 20 points and eight assists for the Sonics (23-37), who posted their most lopsided victory in what has been a disappointing season.
"It's amazing what a little chemistry will do for you," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "This group likes one another. They practice hard and they play hard. Our game plan was good and we got terrific play from both Luke (Ridnour) and Earl (Watson) at the point guard position."
Lewis and Allen scored 16 points apiece in the first half, helping the Sonics build a 61-47 lead.
In the third quarter, the Sonics put the game out of reach as they made 14-of-21 shots and increased their advantage to 91-68. They led by as many as 33 points in the final period.
Despite the explosion, Allen believes the key to the win was defense.
"It's definitely the energy, but it's also a couple of things we have been doing defensively," Allen said. "There are some things that Bob Hill has had us in that produces accountability. It's just like an offensive game plan where you have plays. Defensively, we are being held accountable."
Damien Wilkins collected 14 points and seven steals and Ridnour - who was named a Team USA invitee earlier Sunday - handed out nine assists for Seattle, which held a commanding 38-9 advantage in fast-break points.
Watson, playing in just his third game since coming over from Denver in a four-team deal, had 10 points and seven assists in 23 minutes off the bench.
"When you are a good team, you've got to pass the ball well and share the ball and that makes it hard for teams to defend," Watson said. "Our defense created our offense. We got a lot of points in transition. You're going to shoot a high percentage when you play a good defense."
Seattle had 28 assists and a season-high 17 team steals as beat Utah for the third straight time and won the season series, 3-1.
Carlos Boozer scored 14 points and rookie Deron Williams 12 for Utah (28-32), which fell 2 1/2 games behind the Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference's final playoff berth.
"They pretty much manhandled us all the way around," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "We didn't have much of any kind of effort to stop them."
Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur - Utah's best frontcourt players - managed just eight and seven points, respectively. Sloan hinted there were some "issues" the players.
"They didn't look like they had any energy and I think they were upset with me more than anything else," Sloan said. "They had a little bit of an attitude about what's going on out there. It's kind of disappointing that those things would crop up now when you have an opportunity to get into the playoffs."