Seattle 102, Minnesota 100

Seattle, Jan. 26 (AP) -- With Ray Allen drawing all the attention, Mickael Gelabale never hesitated.

Then again, Gelabale isn't a typical rookie - not with five years of professional experience in Europe and half a season of tutelage from Allen.

Gelabale scored three of Seattle's last four points, including a critical 16-foot jumper with 29 seconds left, and the SuperSonics rallied for a 102-100 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

"Day after day I feel more comfortable,'' the 23-year-old Gelabale said. "I just hoped that I could hit the shot because it's my job.''

Gelabale finished with 17 points, combining with Allen's 36-point outburst to give Seattle its fourth win in five games.

New Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman fell to 0-2. Even more disappointing for Minnesota was squandering two five-point leads in the final three minutes of its sixth straight loss.

"They came out and put together three minutes of good basketball and we never recovered from that,'' Kevin Garnett said. "We've got to finish games off better.''

Minnesota rookie Craig Smith scored a career-high 26 points off the bench but committed a youthful mistake in the closing seconds that helped give Seattle the lead.

With the Sonics down 100-95 with 1:11 left, Allen hit a 3-pointer out of a timeout - his fourth of the night - and then stole Randy Foye's pass that was intended for Ricky Davis.

With Minnesota's defense flocking to Allen, Gelabale found himself open on the right wing. Seeing that his man was picked, Gelabale had no hesitation and knocked down the 16-footer to pull Seattle even at 100-all with 29 seconds left.

"I always tell (Gelabale) go out there, be aggressive, do your job, and there are opportunities for you to score. So don't be afraid to go out there and do it,'' Allen said.

On their next possession, the Timberwolves went to Garnett, trying to give Wittman his first victory since April 16, 2001 - his next-to-last game during a two-year stint as Cleveland's head coach.

But Garnett missed a one-handed 10-footer, and Smith fouled Gelabale on the rebound. Gelabale made the first of two free throws, giving Minnesota one final opportunity.

Garnett was forced to pass and Trenton Hassell missed an open 18-footer with 3 seconds left. Earl Watson was fouled with 0.3 seconds left and made the second free throw for the final margin.

"We're playing with a lot of effort, we just got to learn to finish the games off,'' Garnett said.

Allen overcame a slow start, scoring 25 in the second half after a 44-point performance earlier this week against Denver. Chris Wilcox and Nick Collison posted double-doubles - Wilcox finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Collison added 14 points and 12 boards. It was Collison's sixth double-double in his last seven games. Gelabale also grabbed eight rebounds.

"I'm sure Ray is happy to get some help,'' Seattle coach Bob Hill said.

Smith was outstanding, slipping into gaps and winning battles with taller Seattle defenders. He made 11 of 16 shots and grabbed eight rebounds, providing the spark Minnesota needed on a night when Garnett and Davis struggled.

Garnett finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Davis scored 13, but the pair shot a combined 10-for-27. Mark Blount added 13 points as well.

Minnesota led 96-91 with 3:57 left and then 100-95 with 1:11 to go. Seattle had pulled to 96-95, but Smith slipped between two Sonics to rebound Garnett's miss and scored for a 98-95 lead. After Luke Ridnour airballed a 3-pointer, Garnett threw a perfect downcourt strike, just out of Allen's reach, to hit Smith for an uncontested dunk and a 100-95 lead with 1:11 left.

Smith was absent from double figures for almost a month, his last double-digit game coming against the Sonics on Dec. 29 with 10 points. But he became a weapon against Seattle's zone defense, making seven of eight shots in the first half and keeping the Timberwolves close.

"Craig is a crafty guy at finding seams and then he gets on the offensive boards,'' Wittman said. "That's one of his strengths.''

Notes: Seattle recalled rookie C Mouhamed Sene from Idaho of the NBA Developmental League. Sene averaged 7.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in eight games. ... Minnesota closes out its five-game road trip Saturday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. ... Seattle assistant Gordon Chiesa was back on the bench after missing Tuesday's game against Denver with an illness.


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