The surprising Sonics built a big first-half lead Wednesday
night against San Antonio, and then they got clutch scoring from
Ray Allen down the stretch to hold on for a 102-96 victory over the
"They're a very good team," said Duncan, who scored a
season-high 39 points while leading a San Antonio comeback that
petered out in the final minutes.
"Very well-coached -- they execute well," Duncan said. "We
have respect for them."
Seattle's victory ended San Antonio's 21-game home winning
streak and gave the Sonics at least a share of the NBA's best
record at 16-3. Phoenix (15-3) was playing late Wednesday night
against the Los Angeles Lakers.
It was also the Sonics' second win this season against San
Antonio in as many tries, and both times they topped 100 points.
The best anyone else has managed against the Spurs, now 16-4, is 96
Despite the two wins, Allen called San Antonio the league's best
team and said the Sonics are still taking shape.
"Right now, we're just one of the teams with the best
records," said Allen, who finished with 29 points, including a
pair of 3-pointers late in the game after San Antonio pulled to
within a basket. "We've got to beat teams consistently to be
talked about as one of the best teams."
Seattle looked like a runaway winner early, using 58 percent
shooting from the floor to build a 19-point lead at the half.
"I think we came out more ready than they thought we would
be," said Rashard Lewis, who scored 16 points for the Sonics. "We
jumped on them early and everybody was making shots."
Seattle's defensive strategy of crowding Duncan inside and
forcing the ball to the perimeter also worked in the first half.
San Antonio shot 38.5 percent before the break.
"It was really bad out there tonight for us," the Spurs' Manu
Ginobili said. "The first half was awful."
But the Spurs came out running after the break, and eventually
whittled Seattle's lead to 83-81 on a reverse layup by Malik Rose
with 6:36 remaining. Allen followed with a 3-pointer and Danny
Fortson made two free throws and a layup to make it 90-81.
After Rose made a jumper, Allen answered with a 3-pointer off
the backboard to put Seattle up 93-83.
Antonio Daniels and Fortson each had 14 points for the Sonics.
The winning streak ended one game short of the team record of 22
straight in 1999.
Down 60-41 at the half, the Spurs went on a 23-8 run to open the
third to pull to 68-64 with three minutes left in the period.
Duncan accounted for 12 of San Antonio's points during the run.
His four baskets in the quarter were one more than the entire
Seattle team (3-for-12).
Leading 31-29 after one period, the SuperSonics got their
advantage into double digits with a 14-2 run to start the second.
Later in the period, Seattle used an 11-2 spurt to build a 56-37
lead with less than three minutes left in the half.
San Antonio made only five of its 16 shots in the second and
scored only one fast-break basket in the half.
San Antonio's current home winning streak began with a
88-84 victory over Seattle on March 3. ... The Sonics are 9-0 at
home and 7-3 on the road. They have won seven of their last eight
games... Brent Barry, who played for Seattle for the past five
seasons, was scoreless in six minutes for the Spurs.
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