Trail Blazers 100, SuperSonics 94
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP)—Shareef Abdur-Rahim methodically stayed with his game and didn’t let the theatrics get to him.
The Sonics, who entered with a league-best 13-2 record and a four-game winning streak, but unraveled after taking a 13-point lead in the second half. Trash talk, technicals and a couple of key flagrant fouls aided the disintegration, and Danny Fortson was ejected.
All the while, Abdur-Rahim kept his cool.
“He wasn’t saying I’m going to fight you or I’m going to hurt you,” Abdur-Rahim said of Fortson, who has been under the close watch of officials all season. “To me I think the referees were making too much out of it. I was telling them to let us play.
“I think in light of everything going on around the league they are cracking down or whatever.”
The Sonics, who have lost five straight visits to the Rose Garden, were led by Rashard Lewis with 29 points.
The Sonics got into trouble when Fortson was ejected in the fourth quarter after a flagrant foul and his second technical foul.
Abdur-Rahim made all three foul shots, narrowing the score to 74-72, and the Blazers kept it close until Randolph hit a jumper to put Portland ahead 78-77.
The Blazers stretched it to 87-81 on Abdur-Rahim’s layup and a pair of free throws. But Lewis answered with a 3-pointer with 4:50 left to close the gap.
Still, the Blazers tenaciously held on to the lead, going up 96-91 on Randolph’s free throw. Seattle’s Vladimir Radmanovic hit a 3-pointer to make it 96-94 before Randolph’s 18-footer, and Abdur-Rahim sealed it with a pair of free throws. He was 10-for-10 from the free throw line.
Seattle’s Nick Collison was also called for a flagrant foul during the game.
“We can’t do that as a team,” guard Ray Allen said. “We gave them eight or nine free throws and they got the ball every time … And we were playing so well up to that point. It just defeated everything we tried to do. That was a big turning point in the game.”
The Sonics led by as many as seven points in the first quarter, but the Blazers went ahead 35-34 on Miles’ driving layup midway through the second quarter.
Portland extended the lead to 39-34 on Abdur-Rahim’s 17-foot jumper, then held on for a 45-42 advantage at the half.
Seattle came back with a 11-2 run to open the second half and had a 53-47 lead on Jerome James’ dunk.
Once the Sonics found their pace, they went up 66-53 on Lewis’ three-pointer and a dunk, with a pair of assists going to Luke Ridnour.
Ridnour, who went to the University of Oregon, was greeted with warm applause at the start and cheered throughout the game. He finished with 11 points and 10 assists.
“We had the game,” Ridnour said. “Little things that we didn’t do, we kind of let it get away.”
Ray Allen scored 21 points while Reggie Evans had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Sonics, who were coming off a victory over shorthanded Indiana 103-95 on Sunday.
Portland, which has won two straight, was coming off a sloppy 83-71 win over struggling New Jersey on Sunday. The Blazers led the Nets 30-25 at the half, which matched the NBA record for the lowest first-half combined point total.
Seattle guard Ronald Murray, who has missed 14 games with a left quadriceps strain, has returned to practice, but probably won’t play until Dec. 8 at San Antonio. … Allen’s jumper midway through the third quarter was incorrectly recorded as a 3-pointer, drawing the ire of Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks. … Seattle has not won at the Rose Garden since 2002.