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Bench lifts Sonics


Seattle's Danny Fortson drives to the basket against Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Seattle's Danny Fortson drives to the basket against Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – When the Indiana Pacers stopped Seattle’s transition game, the SuperSonics showed their ability and efficiency running a half-court offense.

Ray Allen scored 25 points and was one of four SuperSonics in double figures as Seattle won its third straight game, 107-102 over Indiana on Sunday night.

“Our execution has come in a lot better this year. We’re learning to score in more ways,” Seattle coach Bob Weiss said.

For the second straight game, Seattle’s subs provided a needed lift. Allen and Rashard Lewis managed just two points for the first 10 minutes of the fourth quarter, but backup guard Ronald Murray picked up the slack, scoring eight of his 18 in the fourth.

Murray again provided scoring and energy in a reserve role. After scoring a season-high 24 on Friday against Cleveland, Murray scored 14 points in the second half, and Seattle’s reserves outscored Indiana 36-13.

“It’s made the biggest difference. There’s not a lot of teams in the NBA that can come with guys off their bench that can produce on both ends of the floor,” Allen said. “That’s definitely been the difference in this team when we win and when we lose.”

Ron Artest tied his season-high with 30 points and Jermaine O’Neal added 22 for the Pacers, who looked lethargic at times as they wrapped up a five-game, eight-day road trip. Afterward, Artest said the long road trip had no effect on Indiana’s performance.

“Our energy wasn’t what theirs was and that had a lot to do with it,” Indiana coach Rick Carlisle said.

The SuperSonics picked up a second straight win over a Central Division opponent. They beat Cleveland 115-108 on Friday. In that game, Seattle’s subs outscored the Cavaliers’ 51-30.

“We’re just trying help the starters continue what they were doing,” Murray said. “We’re just trying to bring a whole lot energy, and keep the rhythm going and the pace going.”

The Sonics appeared to put the tiring Pacers away with a quick burst at the start of the fourth quarter. Seattle went ahead 90-77 with 8:58 left on an ally-oop from Lewis to Vladimir Radmanovic, forcing Carlisle to call timeout.

Seattle extended its lead to 16 before the Pacers made a final run.

Steven Jackson scored, and Artest followed with a 3-pointer and fastbreak layup to get Indiana within 98-89 with 3:48 left.

Artest made two free throws with 1:33 left and the Pacers were within 100-93. Allen made his second basket of the quarter with 1:12 left. Artest answered, but missed a 3-pointer with 35 seconds.

Lewis shot 4 for 5 from the line in the final minute to help seal the win for the Sonics. Seattle outscored Indiana 26-13 at the line.

Artest was defended by a host of Sonics, mostly power forward Reggie Evans, reserve Damien Wilkins and occasionally Lewis. He tied a season-high with 11 field goals, and noticed that Seattle did not give Lewis the defensive assignment.

“For some reason, he didn’t seem to want to guard me,” Artest said. “But, whatever, they’re a good team.”

Lewis finished with 23 points on 6-for-17 shooting, the sixth straight game in which the forward scored at least 20 points.

Sarunas Jasikevicius added 16 points and nine assists in his second start for the Pacers, and Jackson finished with 15. The Pacers shot 53 percent, but were outrebounded 37-28.

Indiana wrapped up its longest road-trip of the season 3-2, falling in Phoenix and beating the Clippers, Utah and Portland.

SuperSonics 107, Pacers 102

FGFTReb
INDIANAMinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS
Artest 39:5811-215-73-42330
Pollard 20:163-30-01-4026
O’Neal 40:4410-171-10-42422
Jackson 41:397-140-00-02515
Jasikevicius 30:145-82-20-79316
Johnson 23:353-60-01-2626
Foster 19:151-12-51-3024
Jones 16:040-43-40-2133
Granger 8:150-10-00-2030
Totals 240:0040-7513-196-282227102

Percentages: FG .533, FT .684.

3-Point Goals: 9-23, .391 (Jasikevicius 4-5, Artest 3-8, O’Neal 1-1, Jackson 1-4, Johnson 0-1, Jones 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 10. Team Turnovers: 15 (15 PTS).

Blocked Shots: 5 (O’Neal 2, Artest, Pollard, Jackson).

Turnovers: 15 (Artest 4, O’Neal 4, Jasikevicius 3, Jackson 2, Jones, Johnson).

Steals: 8 (Artest 2, Pollard 2, Jasikevicius 2, Johnson, Jackson).

Technical Fouls: None.

FGFTReb
SEATTLEMinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS
Evans 25:514-50-03-6138
Lewis 37:246-179-101-63323
Collison 22:251-50-02-6232
Allen 41:5810-262-22-62125
Ridnour 33:144-74-40-37113
Fortson 18:533-43-30-4069
Murray 24:176-96-80-12218
Radmanovic 18:272-42-20-3017
Wilkins 17:311-20-02-2302
Totals 240:0037-7926-2910-372020107

Percentages: FG .468, FT .897.

3-Point Goals: 7-18, .389 (Allen 3-9, Lewis 2-5, Radmanovic 1-1, Ridnour 1-3).

Team Rebounds: 11. Team Turnovers: 12 (18 PTS).

Blocked Shots: 2 (Collison, Ridnour).

Turnovers: 11 (Allen 3, Ridnour 2, Fortson 2, Lewis, Evans, Murray, Collison).

Steals: 10 (Lewis 3, Allen 3, Ridnour 2, Murray, Wilkins).

Technical Fouls: Defensive Three Second, 7:38 first.

Indiana 28182729—102
Seattle 27223325—107

A—15,761 (17,072). T—2:15.

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