Daily Confidential

Just as their leading scorer returned, the Seattle SuperSonics lost another key player. They'll get no sympathy from the New Orleans Hornets.

With Rashard Lewis out for a while, the SuperSonics hope to keep getting a lift from Ray Allen and a better balance on offense as they host the injury-riddled Hornets on Tuesday.

Allen returned Saturday after missing nine games with a bone contusion in his right foot, and helped Seattle snap a season-high six-game losing streak with a 110-97 victory over Toronto.

The All-Star guard had 28 points and was one of six Sonics to score in double digits.

``We had six guys in double figures so the ball moved,'' coach Bob Hill said. ``It was good to see Ray back out there. I thought overall he played very well.''

It was Seattle's first game after losing Lewis to a hand injury that is expected to sideline him for up to two months. Lewis is averaging 21.9 points and 6.8 rebounds.

``With Rashard out of the lineup, we miss a lot,'' Allen said. ``Between him and I scoring 20-plus points a night, there's no one that's going to replace him. I'm not going to score the points that he's not going to score.

``Somebody else has to step up. Sometimes it might be three guys. It may change on a nightly basis, from game to game.''

Luke Ridnour has been trying to pick up the slack, averaging 19.0 points and 7.5 assists over the last four games since being held to a season-low two points in a Dec. 15 loss at Cleveland.

The Hornets (11-15) also need their role players to step up with many of their best players sidelined. Peja Stojakovic (back surgery) and David West (right elbow surgery) are out of action indefinitely, and top reserve Bobby Jackson (cracked left rib) might not return before the new year.

The absences are taking their toll on New Orleans, which has lost 12 of 15 since an 8-3 start to the season.

The Hornets were routed 112-77 by San Antonio on Saturday for their fifth loss in six games.

``I didn't think we got into it at all,'' Hornets coach Byron Scott said. ``I thought that we would be a lot more ready than we were tonight.''

New Orleans has lost five of six in Seattle, including a 94-74 defeat on Dec. 8 in the only meeting of the season between the teams.

The Sonics have won five of six overall at KeyArena.

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