Ray Allen for MVP? Perhaps, but don't expect the Sonics guard to lobby on his own behalf. When asked who's deserving of early consideration, Allen mentioned Dirk Nowitzki, Tim...

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Ray Allen for MVP?


Perhaps, but don’t expect the Sonics guard to lobby on his own behalf.


When asked who’s deserving of early consideration, Allen mentioned Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Dwyane Wade.


“I don’t put myself in that category because it’s a respect thing,” he said. “Somebody else has to do that. One of those guys or the guys who do the voting. That’s not for me to say.”


Allen is having the best season of his nine-year career, increasing his scoring average to 24.2 points, which is sixth best in the NBA and 4.2 higher than his career average.


Boston coach Doc Rivers said Allen is deserving of early consideration and also mentioned Steve Nash and LeBron James.
















Yesterday’s game at a glance



Player of the game: Paul Pierce led all scorers with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting. He also collected six rebounds.





Play of the game:
Pierce raced down a loose ball late in the fourth quarter, drove past Luke Ridnour and powered in a dunk over Vladimir Radmanovic, who was a step slow rotating from the opposite side of the court. The basket gave Boston an 87-80 lead.




Key matchup:
Ridnour was no match for Gary Payton, who finished with a season-high 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting. Payton also had a team-high five assists. Ridnour finished with a season-low two points on 1-for-11 shooting.




Key statistic:
The Sonics converted a season-low 32.6 percent of their field goals.


Next: Los Angeles Lakers, 7 p.m. Tuesday, KeyArena


Kevin Garnett, the reigning MVP, and two-time winner Duncan, are also perennial candidates.


“It hasn’t shaken itself out yet and it won’t but you’re seeing some guys putting themselves in that discussion,” Rivers said. “What Ray Allen is doing for them is just being a leader with his offense. … And you can’t discount their record, so yeah, I think you have to think about him and the MVP award right now.”


Roster moves


The Sonics placed center Robert Swift on the injured list with a right hip sprain and moved guard/forward Damien Wilkins (right knee patella tendinitis) to the IL to make room on the active roster for guard Ronald Murray and center Vitaly Potapenko.


Coach Nate McMillan said he has no plans of changing the starters or tinkering with the nine-man rotation.


“I talked to Ron and Vitaly and they both know this team is playing good basketball,” he said. “They have to be patient.”


McMillan had planned to find minutes for Murray by instituting a four-guard rotation.


“We will eventually get to that (a four-guard lineup),” McMillan said. “Will that be tonight? I don’t know. Will it be Tuesday night? I don’t know.”


Potapenko was slated to start the season and McMillan said he believes in the idea of starters not losing their jobs when it’s obvious that they were going to start.


Potapenko was battling with Jerome James for the spot.


























































































































BOSTON
min fgm-a ftm-a or-t a pf pts
LaFrentz 22 4-5 0-0 0-7 1 4 9
Welsch 29 3-9 3-3 1-4 6 3 9
Blount 37 5-8 1-2 1-8 3 4 11
Payton 37 10-16 1-3 0-4 5 2 21
Pierce 35 7-13 6-7 1-6 1 4 22
Davis 35 4-9 1-3 0-3 3 0 9
TAllen 23 4-9 4-7 2-6 0 5 12
Banks 13 1-2 0-0 0-1 4 3 2
Jefferson 4 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 1 0
McCarty 5 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 3
Totals 39-72 16-25 5-40 24 27 98
Percentages: FG .542, FT .640. Three-point goals: 4-15, .267 (Pierce 2-5, McCarty 1-1, LaFrentz 1-2, Davis 0-1, T.Allen 0-1, Payton 0-2, Welsch 0-3). Team rebounds: 14. Team turnovers: 18 (12 PTS). Blocked shots: 3 (Blount, Davis, T.Allen). Turnovers: 18 (Blount 6, Pierce 4, Welsch 2, Davis 2, T.Allen 2, LaFrentz, Payton). Steals: 5 (Davis 3, Pierce, Payton). Technical fouls: None.

















































































































SEATTLE
min fgm-a ftm-a or-t a pf pts
Evans 17 1-3 0-0 5-10 0 2 2
Lewis 42 7-16 3-6 1-6 0 4 19
James 14 2-4 0-0 0-3 0 2 4
RAllen 42 5-23 6-6 1-5 6 2 16
Ridnour 32 1-11 0-0 1-3 4 3 2
Radmanovic 34 5-11 1-2 0-4 2 5 13
Daniels 26 3-10 4-5 0-0 2 2 11
Fortson 24 4-7 8-12 6-11 0 6 16
Collison 9 0-1 1-2 1-2 0 2 1
Totals 28-86 23-33 15-44 14 28 84
Percentages: FG .326, FT .697. Three-point goals: 5-26, .192 (Radmanovic 2-5, Lewis 2-6, Daniels 1-3, Ridnour 0-2, R.Allen 0-10). Team rebounds: 12. Team turnovers: 13 (3 PTS). Blocked shots: 2 (Lewis, James). Turnovers: 13 (Ridnour 3, Lewis 2, Evans 2, R.Allen 2, Fortson 2, James, Daniels). Steals: 9 (Lewis 5, Radmanovic 3, R.Allen). Technical fouls: None.






















Boston 25 26 24 23 — 98
Seattle 23 33 13 15 — 84
Attendance: 17,072 (17,072). Time: 2:19. Officials: Tim Donaghy, Tommy Nunez Jr., Jack Nies.


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