Sonics guard Antonio Daniels returned to the lineup last night against Philadelphia after missing the past two games with acute tonsillitis. Daniels, the team's third-leading scorer...

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Sonics guard Antonio Daniels returned to the lineup last night against Philadelphia after missing the past two games with acute tonsillitis. Daniels, the team’s third-leading scorer, said he was feeling better, though he still has a slight cough and is taking antibiotics.



His Christmas dinner was the first meal he was able to retain.



“I’m ready to go,” he said. “I miss them (teammates). There’s such a bond with your teammates when you’re on the bus and on the plane, but I enjoyed being with my wife also.”



While at home recuperating, Daniels learned his wife is expecting the couple’s first child in late August.



The Sonics haven’t had all of their key players from last season healthy until Daniels’ return. And with everyone making a contribution to the team’s surprising 20-6 start, continuing to spread minutes around a deep roster will be tricky for Sonics coach Nate McMillan.



Center Nick Collison played his most minutes of the season in Daniels’ place the past two games. But Collison most likely will not see similar playing time.



















Player of the game: Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson must carve the turkey at holiday dinners because it takes skills to slice past Sonics forward Danny Fortson and still make the basket like he did last night with 4:22 left in the game. Iverson finished with 34 points.



Reserve of the game: Sixers center Marc Jackson tussled with Fortson and although the battle was a draw, Jackson’s team earned the victory. He finished with 13 points.



Digits: Last night’s loss was the Sonics’ first in the second game of a back-to-back.



Next: at Atlanta tomorrow, 11 a.m., Philips Arena.

Reserve guard Ronald Murray also has played well since missing 19 games with a strained left quadriceps muscle, scoring in double figures the past two games. But now he falls into a four-guard rotation.



“One thing about the team is they haven’t got caught up in all of that,” McMillan said. “(But) we haven’t had those guys here for a month to see (how they’ll react to minutes distribution), so I don’t know. I’m hoping they go with me and my rotation, and it’s not about trying to get minutes. You just can’t play 10 to 11 guys.”



He used 11 players last night.





Note



* The Sonics are on pace to surpass their road-win total (16) from last season and could eclipse their number of wins (seven) against the East on their five-game trip. The Sonics are 9-3 on the road, 3-1 against the East.