Wilcox Has Big Game, Sonics Top Rockets
Seattle 104, Houston 87
SEATTLE, April 4 (Ticker) -- In what has been a disappointing season, the Seattle SuperSonics may have found one positive going forward.
Chris Wilcox had 26 points and 24 rebounds as the SuperSonics coasted to a 104-87 victory over the Houston Rockets.
But Wilcox helped end those struggles with one of the best games since being drafted eighth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1992. The 6-10 power forward has played well for Sonics since being acquired near the trade deadline in February.
Wilcox dominated from the outset in becoming the first Sonic to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same game since Shawn Kemp on Nov. 15, 1995.
Wilcox sees similarities between himself and Kemp.
"It's a great comparison because Shawn Kemp was a great player," Wilcox said. "He's explosive and brings a lot of energy. That's the kind of player I am. But I want to make a name for myself."
"Chris was all over the floor," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "He was above everyone tonight. As good as he played, he has a lot more potential. His upside is huge."
Wilcox's rebound total was the most by a Sonic since Jack Sikma grabbed 25 at Utah on Feb. 10, 1983.
In the first half, Wilcox collected 16 points and 13 rebounds as the Sonics raced to a 56-41 lead. They never were threatened thereafter.
Houston forward Juwan Howard took the blame for letting Wilcox get off to a great start.
"I point the finger at myself early on," Howard said. "We allowed Wilcox to get very comfortable out there at the start of the game. It got his confidence going. We allowed him to dominate the paint inside."
Wilcox made 9-of-13 shots and Allen 11-of-22 for Seattle (31-43), which has been all but eliminated from playoff contention a season after winning the Northwest Division and advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.
"We played very soft, a non-contact game," Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy said. "We had Wilcox jumping over us the whole game with no block out, drives with nobody putting a body in front, taking soft fouls and unnecessary fouls. I was just very disappointed."
Yao Ming had 22 and 10 rebounds before fouling out and Howard 13 and 10 for the Rockets (32-42), who also have slim postseason hopes.
Allen made three 3-pointers, giving him 1,719 in his career to tie Dale Ellis for second place on the all-time list.