Sonics Look To Build Momentum Against Jazz
Posted Dec 2 2006 12:49PM
NBA.com Daily Confidential
The Seattle SuperSonics snapped their latest skid in dramatic fashion. Now if only they could build on that momentum.
A day after Luke Ridnour's buzzer beater ended the SuperSonics' three-game losing streak, they try for a repeat performance when they visit the Utah Jazz.
Seattle (7-10) was on the verge of a winless four-game homestand, but Ridnour hit a high-arching 6-footer over Danny Granger Friday to give the Sonics a 105-103 win over Indiana, just their third at home this season.
The shot capped a 17-point performance for Ridnour and atoned for two missed free throws with 20 seconds remaining that would have given his team a four-point lead.
``I don't know how I missed those two but thank the Lord I got another chance,'' Ridnour said.
Nick Collison got his first chance in the starting lineup Friday and responded with a season-high 21 points, making 8 of 11 field-goal attempts and going 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.
``We've all had our fingers crossed, knocking on wood and praying,'' Sonics coach Bob Hill said after his team won for just the third time in nine games. ``Nick contributes every night that he plays. We desperately need him to start scoring the ball.''
The Sonics have fared better on the road than at home this season. After dropping three straight on the road to open 2006-07, the Sonics have won four of their last five there. They will try to move above .500 away from home on Saturday.
Seattle has won three of its last four games in Utah and seven of the last 10 overall meetings between the teams, despite a 118-109 loss to the Jazz on Nov. 17.
Following a 12-1 start, Utah (13-4) has dropped three of its last four, including a 132-102 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. The Jazz got their offense back on track - led by Carlos Boozer's 26 points - after being held to 83 points or fewer in their previous three games, but their defense gave up a season high in points.
Kobe Bryant finished with 52 points as Utah couldn't stop him.
``He caught the ball and got on a roll; he just made whatever he caught,'' said Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, who was named the Western Conference coach of the month for November. ``Players like that, they get on a roll and I don't think there's much you can do.
``We're having a difficult time trying to guard that position.''
The Jazz will have to find a way to slow Sonics guard Ray Allen on Saturday. Allen scored 32 points in the first meeting between the teams this season, and is averaging 25.1 points in 25 career games against Utah - tied for his third-best mark against any opponent.
Utah is 8-1 this season at home, where it plays three of its next four games.
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