SuperSonics 113, Jazz 81
With its new lineup, the Seattle SuperSonics are having fun for the first time this season.
Lewis led six Seattle players in double figures with 22 points in just three quarters, and the SuperSonics rolled past the Utah Jazz 113-81 Sunday night.
Ray Allen added 20 points and eight assists, as Seattle continued a string of solid play on its current homestand. The Sonics beat New Orleans last Tuesday, and lost to Detroit 98-96 on Friday on a basket by Richard Hamilton with less than 1 second remaining.
“Since the trading deadline this team has come together just like that,” Seattle coach Bob Hill said, snapping his fingers. “We’ve had five really good performances in terms of togetherness and effort and caring about one another.
The Sonics shot 57 percent, with Luke Ridnour adding 12 points and nine assists. Watson had his best game since being acquired in a trade-deadline deal with Denver, scoring 10 points with seven assists and five rebounds.
Watson was especially good in the open floor, as the Sonics scored 38 fast break points. He found both Lewis and Allen open on the wings for transition 3-pointers, along with Wilcox and Robert Swift on the inside for dunks.
Seattle had 28 assists on 47 baskets.
“The passion for winning in this locker room is so strong,” Watson said. “The transition game is fun with this team, because everyone runs. Every play in transition, I’ve got like two or three options. … You have so many options, you get to pick how you want to get the crowd going.”
Utah was lethargic and continued its frustrating stretch of alternating wins and losses its last six games, and looked nothing like a team chasing Denver atop the mediocre Northwest Division. Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 14 points, but Utah led only once—at 2-0.
Afterward, coach Jerry Sloan seemed to indicate there may be some internal strife with the Jazz.
“They showed a little bit of an attitude about what’s going on out there. When you play that way, it kind of gets back at you sometimes,” Sloan said. “It’s kind of upsetting that those things crop up when we still have a chance to get to the playoffs.”
Already leading by 14 at halftime, Seattle pushed the lead to 21 midway through the third quarter with a quick 8-2 burst.
Robert Swift dunked in transition, followed by two baskets from Allen—a driving layup and 22-foot jumper. Ridnour added a nifty drive through the lane for a 75-54 lead, forcing Sloan to call timeout.
It didn’t help. Seattle continued to shred Utah’s defense and had 91 points after three quarters. The Sonics scored the first eight points of the fourth quarter for a 99-68 lead, leaving Sloan sitting stunned on the Jazz bench. Seattle’s lead got as high as 33.
“They ran us off the floor,” Sloan said.
It wasn’t just at the offensive end for Seattle. The Sonics played solid defense, holding their opponent under 100 points in consecutive games for just the second time this season.
Damien Wilkins jumped into the stands and dove on the floor for loose balls. Watson’s quick hands frustrated Utah guards Deron Williams and Milt Palacio. Seattle forced 23 turnovers and scored 33 points off those turnovers.
“Defensively, we’re being held accountable,” Allen said. “Everyone knows where they should be and if they’re not we know who’s at fault. Everyone is making sure that they’re doing their job.”
Wilkins added 14 points and Wilcox scored 10 for Seattle.
Seattle F Nick Collison injured his left foot in the first half and did not return. He played 12 minutes and scored five points. Collison is scheduled for an MRI on Monday and left the arena wearing a protective boot on the foot. … Boozer had eight rebounds leaving him one short of 2,000 for his career. … Shaun Alexander’s re-signing with the Seattle Seahawks was flashed on the scoreboard late in the fourth quarter, drawing a load ovation from the crowd.