SuperSonics 111, Warriors 107
SEATTLE (AP)—For one night, the Seattle SuperSonics had something to brag about on defense.
The Sonics—the NBA’s worst defensive team—limited Golden State to a pair of baskets in the third quarter and came back in the second half to beat the Warriors 111-107 on Wednesday night.
Getting 32 points from Ray Allen and 26 from Rashard Lewis, the Sonics came into the game allowing opponents to average 106.7 points per game. They only stopped the Warriors in one quarter, but that was enough.
“We gave them different shots,” Sonics coach Bob Hill said. “Early on, we were coming from the interior defense. So we changed and kept the bigs at home. They didn’t shoot as well, but those were the shots we wanted them to take versus what they took the first half.”
The disappointing Sonics, the defending Northwest Division champs who won 52 regular-season games a year ago, are only 19-26 for the season, but they’re 12-3 in games when they score at least 110 points.
The Warriors shot only 2-for-21 in the third quarter—getting baskets by Derek Fisher and Baron Davis—and Golden State had a season-low nine points in the period to fall behind 85-71. The Sonics had runs of 12-0 and 10-0 in the quarter.
“That was no small lapse,” said Davis, who was 1-for-7 in the third period.
“We forced them to take shots on the perimeter,” Allen said. “We kind of took what they were trying to do away from them.”
Golden State’s Mike Montgomery, who received the first ejection of his 28-year coaching career, blamed his team for its dismal third quarter.
“We just settled on shooting 3s,” he said. “We got stagnant and the ball wasn’t going down. It’s one of those deals where we’ve got to drive the ball instead of settling for the 3.”
Allen put the Sonics ahead to stay at 64-63 with a driving layup with 4:11 gone in the second half. The Sonics led by as many as 15 in the third period and were up by 18 in the fourth.
Davis led the Warriors with a season-high 35 points.
Hill, who replaced the fired Bob Weiss as Sonics coach on Jan. 3 and has led the team to a 6-9 record, said he loved the way Allen, the team’s five-time All-Star guard, played.
“Ray was on a mission,” Hill said. “He had that proverbial scowl on his face.”
The Sonics maintained their lead in the final quarter, although the Warriors closed within 105-101 on a 3-pointer by Mickael Pietrus with 2:23 left, a layup by Fisher with 2:02 on the clock and two free throws by Davis with 1:29 to go.
Golden State’s Troy Murphy hit the side of the backboard with a long shot attempt and the 24-second clock expired, giving the Sonics the ball.
Allen was fouled by Fisher with 23.5 seconds left and Montgomery received his second technical for arguing too strongly on the play, forcing his ejection. Allen sank three free throws to put Seattle ahead 108-101.
Davis made a 3-pointer with 17 seconds remaining and Luke Ridnour countered with two free throws with 15 seconds for the Sonics.
Davis sank another 3-pointer—his fourth of the game and third of the final quarter—to cut the Sonics’ lead to 110-107 with 12 seconds left. Fisher fouled Ridnour, who missed his first attempt, but made the second with 6.9 seconds to play. Fisher missed a 3-point attempt and Allen rebounded to end the game.
The Sonics improved to 11-13 at home this season.
“Our track record hasn’t been good,” Allen said. “We’ve lost so many close games in this building this season. We’re learning some things about ourselves.”
The Warriors led 62-56 at halftime, with Andris Biedrins scoring 10 of his career-high 16 first-half points in the second quarter and Murphy 12 in the half. They made 23 of 43 shots in the first half.
Golden State’s biggest lead in the first half was 12 points, twice in the second quarter.
The Sonics used Mateen Cleaves for 5:22 in the first half as their backup point guard to give Ridnour some rest. Cleaves, a five-year NBA veteran, was signed to a 10-day contract by the Sonics on Saturday. He was released by the team on Jan. 4. Sonics coach Bob Hill is hopeful the team trades for a backup point guard before the Feb. 23 trading deadline. “There’s a bunch of them out there,” Hill said before the game. “Getting one of them is something else.”