SuperSonics 118, Grizzlies 113
SEATTLE (AP)—The Seattle SuperSonics insist they’re not going to quit when they get far behind this season.
“It’s a 48-minute game and we’ve talked about that,” coach Nate McMillan said after watching his team outscore the Grizzlies 34-13 in the final period. “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.”
The Sonics won their sixth consecutive game after an opening-night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The loss dropped the Grizzlies, a 50-victory playoff team last season, to 2-5.
The Sonics came back to win after trailing 94-73 with 3:50 left in the third period.
Allen scored 11 of his points in the final quarter, when Seattle erased a 100-84 deficit.
The Sonics missed the playoffs for the second straight year last season with 37 wins. They were last in the NBA in rebounding last season. They outrebounded the Grizzlies 33-27 and are averaging 8.1 more rebounds than their opponents this season.
They still don’t have a dominant inside player.
“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.”
The Sonics tied the score at 107 on an 18-footer by Daniels with 3:33 left before Mike Miller made an 18-footer to give Memphis the lead. His free throw with 2:43 remaining gave his team a 110-107 lead.
Allen tied it again with a 3-pointer with 2:11 left, then Gasol gave the Grizzlies their last lead at 111-110 with a free throw with 1:52 remaining.
Allen drove into the key and made an 8-footer to put Seattle ahead for good at 112-111. The Sonics went 6-for-6 from the foul line in the final seconds to ice it.
Allen, a four-time All-Star, shook his head at the Sonics’ comeback.
“I don’t know, you guys tell me how we won that game,” he told reporters. “I’m still asking myself that question.”
Allen modestly gave the credit for Seattle’s victory to Daniels, whose short jumper with 7.2 seconds left gave the Sonics a one-point win over Toronto on Friday night.
“A.D. hit a lot of big shots for us,” Allen said. “He’s just been playing great for us down the stretch in games.”
Seattle grabbed a 10-point lead at 16-6 on an alley-oop dunk by Allen before Memphis came back, taking a 27-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Brian Cardinal in the final minute of the first quarter.
The Grizzlies led by 13 points five times in the second period and were ahead 71-61 at halftime.
Memphis coach Hubie Brown said his team let a victory get away.
“We should have won the game,” he said. “But you’ve got to give them credit. They scored on 22 out of their last 29 possessions. They executed and made their foul shots.”
Lorenzen Wright of the Grizzlies said the Memphis players were to blame for the loss.
“We have to play hard for all four quarters,” he said. “In the fourth quarter, everything went haywire for us.”
Memphis set a franchise record by scoring 42 points in the second quarter. Its previous high for a quarter was 41 against the Chicago Bulls in the first quarter March 12, 2003.
The Sonics played without F Danny Fortson, who was suspended for one game without pay by the NBA on Sunday after a foul in Friday night’s game against Toronto was upgraded to a flagrant. Fortson threw an elbow to the head of F Chris Bosh. McMillan said Fortson, who has played a key role in his first season with the Sonics with his physical play, would have to be more aware that the league was watching him. “We want him to play aggressive basketball, but we want him to be smart,” McMillan said. “Danny has to know.” Fortson is averaging 9.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in his eighth NBA season.