Sonics Beat Pacers at Buzzer
Posted Dec 2 2006 2:35AM
Seattle 105, Indiana 103
Seattle, Dec. 1 (AP) -- Luke Ridnour shocked his teammates when two free throws with 19 seconds left failed to drop.
Moments later, the Ridnour was given another opportunity and this time stunned the Indiana Pacers.
Ridnour split two defenders and made a high-arching 6-footer over the outstretched arms of Danny Granger as time expired to give the Seattle SuperSonics a 105-103 win over the Pacers on Friday night.
``He's got a knack for making those crazy shots,'' Seattle's Nick Collison said.
Instead, the Pacers switched their defense, leaving Ridnour to improvise and make an extremely difficult shot over the 6-foot-9 Granger.
``I thought I had it. He made a hell of a shot,'' Granger said. ``Off-foot, falling back, hand in his face; I give it to him. It was a tough shot.''
Ridnour was hoping for another opportunity after missing two free throws that could have given Seattle a four-point lead with less than 20 seconds remaining. But the 80.5 percent free-throw shooter failed on both attempts and Jermaine O'Neal made a 17-footer with 6.3 seconds left to draw Indiana even at 103.
``I don't know how I missed those two but thank the Lord I got another chance,'' Ridnour said.
Ridnour scored 17 points, including Seattle's only 3-pointer with 43 seconds left for a 101-99 Seattle lead.
But it was Collison that was the most significant contributor. Newly inserted into the starting lineup, Collison responded with a career-high 21 points, helping Seattle snap a three-game home losing streak.
Collison replaced Johan Petro and the move was an immediate success. Collison was 8-of-11 from the floor and 5-for-5 at the free throw line, and his follow dunk of Allen's missed drive with 1:59 left gave Seattle a 98-95 lead.
``We've all had our fingers crossed, knocking on wood and praying,'' coach Bob Hill said. ``Nick contributes every night that he plays. We desperately need him to start scoring the ball.''
Allen and Lewis both finished with 18 for Seattle. It was just the second time this season someone other than Allen or Lewis has led Seattle in scoring.
Al Harrington led the Pacers with 28 points. O'Neal finished with 13, but battled a sore left hamstring all night. Granger scored 18 off the bench for Indiana, who had won its last two.
O'Neal left in the first quarter with the same sore hamstring that caused him to miss two preseason games. He returned and played 21 minutes in the second half. Coach Rick Carlisle said the concern in the first quarter was possibly tearing the muscle.
``He was able to go in the second half and gave us great minutes considering the fact he wasn't 100 percent,'' Carlisle said.
Seattle missed its first 12 3-point attempts before Ridnour's make. Stephen Jackson, who won the game against Golden State on Wednesday night with a 3 with 1 second left in a 108-106 win, missed two open 3-point attempts on the Pacers' next possession.
Lewis corralled the rebound on Jackson's second miss, was fouled and made both free throws for a 103-99 lead with 25 seconds left. Jamaal Tinsley easily scored again before Ridnour's two misses.
``You're just disappointed, but there was time left,'' Ridnour said. ``To be able to come down and hit that it was good for our team. We needed it.''
O'Neal didn't make his first field goal until the 3:39 mark of the third quarter, but his baseline runner over Collison brought the Pacers even at 93-all with 5:47 left. Ninety seconds later, Harrington sprinted the length of the floor, was fed by Tinsley and scored to give Indiana a 95-94 advantage, its first lead since 58-56 late in the first half.
Seattle's offense was struggling before Friday, failing to score 100 points in six of the last eight games, and was held to 78 and 84 points in its last two.
The Sonics built an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter on Damien Wilkins' jumper and Petro's two free throws.
Tinsley finished with 14 points and Jackson added 13 for Indiana, which turned the ball over 20 times.
Notes: Seattle's 62 first-half points was the most in a first half this season. ... Seattle hasn't lost four straight at home since the 2003-04 season. ... Indiana has lost four of its last five against Seattle.
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