In another life, Nate McMillan said he'd earn a living in the medical profession. But for now, the Sonics coach has to struggle to make sense of his players' health. The latest ailment is...

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In another life, Nate McMillan said he’d earn a living in the medical profession. But for now, the Sonics coach has to struggle to make sense of his players’ health.


The latest ailment is acute tonsillitis, which forced Antonio Daniels to miss last night’s game against Denver. McMillan was unsure if his backup point guard would undergo surgery to have his tonsils removed or if he’d be available for Monday’s game at Utah.


“He won’t be here tonight and he won’t be here tomorrow,” McMillan said. “We’re going to have to figure out what that is.”


Without Daniels, the Sonics’ third-leading scorer at 12.2 points per game, Seattle turned to reserve Ronald “Flip” Murray.


Murray had played just two games since returning from a left-quadriceps injury and McMillan was looking for a way to get him more minutes.


Last night, Murray scored 15 points.
















Player of the game: Rashard Lewis scored a game-high 21 points. He sank seven of 15 shots and pulled down four rebounds.


Play of the game: Late in the third quarter, Denver’s Marcus Camby missed a short hook shot, but Kenyon Martin leaped between Reggie Evans and Lewis, corralled the loose ball and rammed home a thunderous dunk.


Key statistic: Led by Vladimir Radmanovic (19 points) and Ronald Murray (15), the Sonics’ bench scored 43 points.


Key matchup: Danny Fortson played just 10 minutes, but he battled with Nene beneath the basket on every possession. Fortson finished with six fouls, three points and three rebounds. Nene had seven points and three rebounds in 26 minutes.


Up next: At Utah, 6 p.m. Monday.

Allen overcomes


Trainer Mike Shimensky sent Ray Allen, suffering from an upper respiratory infection, home after the morning workout. The Sonics guard, who also missed practice on Tuesday, normally arrives to the arena three hours before game time for a shooting workout, but skipped the workout yesterday.


McMillan didn’t know if he would have his All-Star guard until minutes before the game.


Allen appeared slow and missed his first (four) shots before draining an open three-pointer with less than 3:30 remaining in the first quarter. He finished with 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting, five rebounds and four turnovers.


Midway through the third quarter, Allen didn’t have enough lift in his legs to elevate for a dunk, and his attempt never made it above the rim.


“No legs,” he said. “No legs.”


Renewed animosity


It took just a few seconds for Danny Fortson and Denver’s Nene to engage in their first battle of elbows. The Sonics forward took exception with Nene, who lodged his hands in the small of his back. The two exchanged elbows late in the first quarter before being cautioned by game officials.


Early in the second quarter, both were accessed a technical foul for excessive shoving, but their battle continued.


In the third, Nene wrestled Fortson to the floor and they were each given fouls for the rough play. With 10:12 remaining in the fourth quarter, Fortson comitted an offensive foul, his sixth, to end his night. Nene played until the end, but he managed just seven points. Fortson scored six.




Notes


* Ibrahim Kutluay made his NBA debut with 1:40 remaining. He didn’t attempt a shot and finished with a turnover.


* The Sonics’ wives and girlfriends will provide a “Day of Beauty” at Bellevue’s Obadiah Salon this afternoon for parents of families staying at Seattle’s Ronald McDonald House and parents who have kids being treated at Children’s Hospital.


A limousine will take the parents to the salon, where skin care, waxing, facials, hairstyling and massage therapy will be available. Starbucks will serve pastries, tea and coffee while City Flowers will present gifts to each of the parents.


* Mariners pitcher Eddie Guardado attended last night’s game.