The supply of chicken sandwiches and French fries inside the visiting locker room at Philips Arena was severely diminished because the two Sonics with the largest appetites got...
ATLANTA — The supply of chicken sandwiches and french fries inside the visiting locker room at Philips Arena was severely diminished because the two Sonics with the largest appetites got first dibs at the postgame spread.
While their teammates finished off the Atlanta Hawks in an efficient 94-79 victory yesterday, center Jerome James and forward Danny Fortson showered, dressed and snacked before everyone else after they were ejected in the second half by official Bob Delaney.
Still, the meal didn’t satiate the angry emotions that each felt after what they believed were disputable offenses.
James pleaded innocence, but offered little evidence to support his claim.
The 7-foot-1 center had been assessed a pair of fouls earlier in the game for setting illegal screens, and his frustrations reached a breaking point after he collected another foul on a similar play with 7:14 remaining in the third quarter.
He walked toward Delaney, leaned over the official and barked an insult in his face, bringing the ejection.
Delaney then had choice words for James after the center took a seat on the bench.
The Sonics knew Delaney wasn’t in a good mood after he chided Hawks coach Mike Woodson, who crossed midcourt to dispute a call in the second quarter.
“Hey, get back,” Delaney said, his voice echoing through the half-empty arena. “Get over there.”
“I knew after he went after their coach what type of game it was,” Fortson said. “Still, what I did, c’mon. I shouldn’t have gotten thrown out for that.”
Fortson seemed to have a reason to complain after he reacted to a hard foul against him from Tyronn Lue by placing his hand on the point guard’s chest.
Delaney quickly intervened, gave Fortson a technical and sent him to the locker room.
Afterward, coach Nate McMillan said both ejections were indefensible, believing that Fortson had received an earlier technical.
“Will somebody please help me out here,” Fortson said afterward. “These guys are looking at me, just itching to throw me out, and for what? Stuff I did in the past. Please. Let that go.”
The second All-Star balloting returns are in, and Ray Allen is the only Sonic among the top 10 at his position in the Western Conference. He has 476,857 votes from fans, fewer than half the votes for Tracy McGrady and Kobe Bryant. Allen also trails Steve Nash by 63,290 votes.
Despite averaging 21.3 points, Rashard Lewis still has not made a significant impression among fans, whose deadline for voting is Jan. 23. It’s unlikely that Lewis will start in the Feb. 20 game, but he could be added to the West team by head coaches.
Lewis is also a candidate to participate in the three-point-shooting contest, but said “I promised myself that I wouldn’t go back there unless I could play on Sunday (in the All-Star Game).”
If asked, he said he’ll nominate Vladimir Radmanovic, who is shooting 39.4 percent on threes. Lewis, Seattle’s second-leading three-point shooter at 40.5 percent, has twice participated in the event.
• Radmanovic has battled with bouts of inconsistency since arriving to the NBA in 2001, so his recent two-game stretch in which he’s made just 3 of 19 shots isn’t causing anyone to panic yet.
• Musician Bruce Hornsby, a friend of Sonics CEO Wally Walker, is traveling with the Sonics for the first three games of their five-game trip.