The last time Seattle and Utah played, Ray Allen carried the Sonics to an overtime win with one of his best games of the season. Last night, the Jazz found a way to stop him but...
SALT LAKE CITY — The last time Seattle and Utah played, Ray Allen carried the Sonics to an overtime win with one of his best games of the season.
Last night, the Jazz found a way to stop him but suffered the same result as the Sonics snapped an eight-game losing streak at the Delta Center with a 98-88 victory.
Allen, who dropped 38 points on the Jazz in Seattle’s 129-119 home win on Dec. 1, had a big first quarter against Utah last night, scoring 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting. But Utah’s defensive combination of Raja Bell and Kirk Snyder, plus the lasting effects of a respiratory illness, virtually shut Allen down for the rest of the game as he hit only 3 of 14 in the final three quarters to finish with 19 points.
Rather than the Jazz coming out with a win, though, the Sonics merely proved they aren’t a one- or two-star team. Seattle, whose 20-5 record has made them one of the biggest surprises in the NBA this season, got key plays from virtually every player.
Rashard Lewis finished with 22 points, while Luke Ridnour (11), Ronald Murray (10) and Danny Fortson (10) joined them in double figures. Seattle’s bench players outscored Utah’s 34-21 and outrebounded them 16-8.
“That is what has helped us this year,” Lewis said. “Ray has played big for us, but most definitely it is a total team effort. Vladimir (Radmanovic) came in and made some big plays, and we had other guys who came in and made some big rebounds.”
Utah was led by Matt Harpring with 22 points, and Carlos Boozer and Bell had 16 apiece.
Seattle, which has won six of its last eight games, led by 10 in the first half before the Jazz rallied to tie the score at halftime on a basket by Mehmet Okur.
Bell scored on a fast break and Boozer followed with a dunk to give Utah a 66-58 lead with 6:02 left in the third. That was Utah’s biggest advantage of the night, and it didn’t last long.
Ronald Murray subbed in for Allen, and got a steal and two free throws, and point guard Luke Ridnour made two baskets to lead a 13-0 Seattle run that put the Sonics ahead 71-66 with 2:47 left in the third period.
“We wanted to keep playing aggressively,” Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. “Our bench has been playing really well for us. Nick Collison came in and rebounded well in the second half, and Danny Fortson made some big plays.
“That has been the key for us. Ray and Rashard are the leaders, but everyone is contributing.”
Utah cut the lead to 73-72 on a free throw and dunk by Snyder at the end of the quarter, punctuated by Snyder shaking his fist as he swung from the rim.
That little bit of ineffectiveness was all Seattle needed to close out the Jazz.
“Playing here has always been a tough challenge for us,” McMillan said. “We’ve had some up-and-down games here, but we were solid tonight. We executed better, and we keep finding different ways to win on different nights.”
For the Jazz, which has lost eight of its last 11 games, last night was yet another disheartening result for a team that started with so much promise but has floundered through the last two months of play.
“Whenever we had things going our way I thought we just kind of fell apart,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “We couldn’t sustain energy to continue to do what we wanted to do. We were really lost with what we were trying to do.”
* Antonio Daniels, Seattle’s leading scorer off the bench with a 12.2 average, didn’t make the trip due to acute tonsillitis.
* Carlos Arroyo, formerly Utah’s starting point guard, has played less and less since an on-court argument with Sloan and didn’t get into the game until late in the third quarter. He went scoreless.
* The Sonics had lost 11 of 12 at Utah. Seattle last beat the Jazz in Utah on Feb. 1, 2000.
* The Jazz is 3-11 since Andrei Kirilenko (sprained knee) was injured.
* Boozer had 14 rebounds but committed eight turnovers for the Jazz, which is 6-7 at home.
* Utah hit only 6 of 23 shots in the fourth quarter.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.