SEATTLE (AP)—Seattle’s defense wasn’t stifling Wednesday night, but it was better than their effort lately.
Statistically the worst defensive team in the league, Seattle held Charlotte to just 36 percent shooting in the second half, and the SuperSonics broke a three-game losing streak with a 104-94 win over the Bobcats.
Seattle was allowing a 105.4 points per game, last in the league. The SuperSonics spent the last two practices focusing on defense, and it showed as Charlotte shot just 44 percent for the game and turned the ball over 19 times.
Charlotte was just the fourth team Seattle held under 100 points.
“We were just being really aggressive … not just letting nobody run freely and have a hand on somebody,” Seattle forward Reggie Evans said. “We had to touch somebody, as if they were our girlfriend, and make sure we have a hand on a man all the time.”
The All-Star duo of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis again carried Seattle offensively. Allen scored 32 points and Lewis had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Lewis was strong in the first half, scoring 18 points, and then turned it over to Allen, who had 20 in the second half.
Lewis’ first half was filled with a mix of 3-pointers, mid-range jumpers and a handful of dunks. Meanwhile, Allen did most of his damage either on aggressive drives to the basket or 3-pointers.
Allen was 11 of 23 shooting, Lewis was 11 of 22. Lewis has scored at least 20 points in each of the last four games.
“I’m playing pretty good right now, but it’s a lot more frustrating when your not winning ball games,” Lewis said. “I’m trying to do whatever I can to help us win.”
Teams were shooting 48.6 percent against Seattle, next to last in the league, and Charlotte shot 51 percent in the first half. Seattle tightened in the second half, and the Bobcats struggled in stretches and made just 13 of 36 shots.
Charlotte is now 0-10 when scoring fewer than 100 points, and remained winless (0-6) against the Western Conference.
“They shot the ball well and did exactly what they are supposed to do when you are sitting over here waiting for a team to come in,” Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. “Their tempo and was and every mistake we made, they made us pay for it.”
Luke Ridnour had 14 points and 12 assists for Seattle, which totaled 28 assists on 40 field goals and was extremely efficient with the ball. Charlotte led the league forcing 20.1 turnovers per game, but the Sonics had just 11, leading to only 11 points for the Bobcats.
Ahead by 10 at halftime, Seattle took a 63-58 lead with 7:37 left in the third quarter on Lewis’ first basket of the second half. Brezec scored at the other end, but the Sonics scored 13 of the next 17 points, interrupted only by a pair of jumpers by Knight.
“They made shots and made runs at opportune times,” Knight said. “When we’d make runs to get back into the game, they’d somehow come up with a quick six to eight points. They just never let us get back into it.”
Seattle stretched the lead to 18 early in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by Allen for a 90-72 lead. Charlotte cut the lead to 94-85 with 4:41 left, but Allen made a fallaway 3-pointer over Okafor as the shot-clock ran down to put Seattle back up 12. The Bobcats got no closer than seven in the final seconds.
A night after his six-game streak of double-doubles was broken, Okafor had 10 points and 13 rebounds. Leading scorer Gerald Wallace had 12 points, five below his season average.
Charlotte C Jake Voskuhl sprained his right ankle in the second quarter and did not return. … Bobcats F Sean May missed his third straight game with a sore right knee. He didn’t play Saturday night against Washington or Tuesday against Sacramento. Bickerstaff said he wanted May to get a full practice before returning to game action. May had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Sept. 13 and missed part of the preseason. … Knight was ejected with 26 seconds left after picking up his second technical foul.