SuperSonics 96, Trail Blazers 91
Allen returned from an ankle injury and scored 19 points, and Wilkins filled in admirably after Lewis left with an injury in the Seattle SuperSonics’ 96-91 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
Wilkins, a rookie out of Georgia, had 21 points.
“He shot it like he knew it was going to make it,” Allen said of his young teammate. “He shot it like he had been there a million times before.”
It was Seattle’s fourth straight victory, but it wasn’t easy. The Sonics had to overcome a furious fourth-quarter Trail Blazers rally without forward Lewis, who left early with left knee tendinitis.
Portland has lost seven straight and 11 of 12 since firing head coach Maurice Cheeks and replacing him with Kevin Pritchard.
The Sonics erased a first-half deficit with an inspired 18-3 run in the third quarter, and Wilkins’ dunk gave the Sonics their biggest lead of the game — 72-61. But the Blazers came back with three straight 3-pointers—two from Damon Stoudamire and another from Derek Anderson—to close the gap to 72-70, and Stoudamire hit two more 3s to give Portland a 79-77 lead.
Wilkins’ 3-pointer put the Sonics up 92-91 with 1:09 left, and he added a pair of free throws and had a one-handed dunk to finish off the scoring.
“The thing about Wilkins is he’s paid his dues,” Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. “He’s in the gym every day. He works hard. And he hit a big three at the end there. That’s a good shot for him because he’s open.”
Lewis left the game after just 10 minutes, but his tendinitis is not believed to be serious. He said afterward that it has been a lingering issue through the second half of the season and Thursday night the knee never loosened up.
“They might want to hold me out because we play again within 24 hours,” Lewis said about his chances for starting against the New York Knicks in Seattle Friday night.
Stoudamire made five straight 3-pointers during the Blazers’ late run and had 19 points. Pritchard, who has said the Blazers are going to focus on evaluating young talent as the season winds down, leaned harder on his veterans against northwest rival Seattle.
“It’s tough,” said Darius Miles, who finished with 17 points. “But it’s good for progress. We looked good out there. We looked like a team.”
The Sonics trailed by as many as seven points but went on an 8-0 run midway through the second quarter to take a 33-31 lead on Wilkins’ running jumper and a free throw.
The Blazers responded with a 15-5 run, capped by Shareef Abdur-Rahim’s short jumper, for a 46-38 lead. Portland led 48-40 at the half.
Blazers forward Ruben Patterson was activated from the injured list Thursday after he missed 11 games with a sore left knee.
Patterson was averaging 10.7 points and 4.1 assists when he was placed on the injured list on March 3. Against Seattle he had 13 points off the bench.
The Blazers were without center Theo Ratliff, who did not dress with a sore right shoulder. … When Ridnour first scored for the Sonics in the second quarter, many in the crowd exclaimed “Luuuuuuuke!” Despite the northwest rivalry with the Sonics, Ridnour is a fan favorite, having attended the University of Oregon. … Remaining on the Blazers’ injured list are guard Nick Van Exel, who has an arthritic left knee, and forward Zach Randolph, who is expected to have surgery on his right knee and is out for the rest of the season.