Seattle opened the season with a 30-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, but came from behind to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 118-113 on Sunday for its sixth straight win since that defeat. The Sonics are averaging 106.8 points during the streak while giving up 90.8 a contest.
Ray Allen scored a season-high 34 points Sunday as the Sonics overcame a 21-point deficit late in the third quarter.
“It’s a 48-minute game and we’ve talked about that,” Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. “We just wanted to get slowly back into the game, get a stop and score, get a stop and score. That’s exactly what we did.”
Allen scored 11 points in the final quarter, when Seattle erased a 100-84 deficit. Antonio Daniels had 28 points, including 11 in the last quarter, for the Sonics.
Seattle missed the playoffs for the second straight year last season with 37 wins. The Sonics were last in the NBA in rebounding in 2003-04, but outrebounded the Grizzlies 33-27 and are averaging 8.1 more rebounds than their opponents this season.
“We can’t prevent that,” McMillan said when asked about the perception that the Sonics are a soft team. “But the past is the past and this is a new year.”
Seattle will look to continue its early season success in Philadelphia, where it has won three straight and eight of 10 since the 1993-94 season.
The Sixers, however, are looking to improve to 4-0 on their five-game homestand after beating the Orlando Magic 96-87 on Sunday behind Iverson’s 29 points and 12 assists.
Philadelphia coach Jim O’Brien and Iverson decided during the summer a position switch from shooting guard to point guard was necessary to turn the Sixers into more of an up-tempo, wide-open offense—while keeping the five-time All-Star a scoring threat.
“I’m going to score, that’s what I do,” said Iverson, who was fourth in the NBA in scoring with 26.4 points a game entering Monday’s action. “I’d be taking something away from my team if I didn’t look to score.”
O’Brien said he doesn’t want Iverson to lose his aggressiveness with the shift to the point.
“I don’t want him to have a set-up point guard mentality,” O’Brien said. “You can’t tell a guy like Allen to go away from what’s instinctive.”