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Sonics tame James’ gang


Cavaliers' LeBron James scores over SuperSonics' Vladimir Radmanovic.
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Cavaliers' LeBron James scores over SuperSonics' Vladimir Radmanovic. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Jim Cour Associated Press

SEATTLE – Even the absence of Rashard Lewis isn’t slowing down the Seattle SuperSonics.

Ray Allen scored 27 points and Vladimir Radmanovic added 23 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Sonics to a 105-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night at KeyArena.

The Sonics won their second straight game without Lewis, their second-leading scorer who is sidelined with tendinitis in his left knee.

Allen said the play of Radmanovic – one of Seattle’s primary reserves – was the key to the Sonics’ win, their fourth in five games.

“Vlade has a focus about him that he knows he’s being counted on,” Allen said. “He knows he’s going to get shots. He’s a big weapon for us.”

LeBron James, making his second trip to Seattle, had 35 points and 11 assists. James, who ranks sixth in the league in scoring, shot 14 for 30 from the field.

James agreed with Allen.

“They got a great contribution off the bench from Vladimir,” he said. “I’ve been watching what he’s been doing all year, and we knew he can shoot the ball real well. He’s a threat to any team that comes in here.”

Allen, the league’s No. 7 scorer, had seven points in the fourth quarter to help hold off the Cavaliers and James.

Allen drove the baseline and hit a 5-footer with 1:38 remaining, giving Seattle a 94-88 lead, then equaled James’ 3-pointer with one of his own with 1:12 left to put the Sonics up 97-91.

“The fourth quarter is my time, I feel,” Allen said. “Whether I make a shot or not, I’m going to do something. I’m going to be heard or seen in the fourth quarter.”

James had a dunk with 30.8 seconds to go, cutting Seattle’s lead to 97-93, but the Sonics’ Luke Ridnour made six free throws and Antonio Daniels added a pair from the line in the final 28.4 seconds.

“Any time at the end of the game you want to convert on free throws,” Ridnour said. “You want to knock them down from the line just to maintain that lead.”

Drew Gooden finished with 27 points for Cleveland.

Ridnour had a career-high 18 points for Seattle, while Antonio Daniels added 15.

The Northwest Division-leading Sonics improved to 27-9, while the Cavs, who dropped into a first-place tie with the Detroit Pistons in the Central Division, fell to 22-14. Cleveland lost for just the second time in seven games.

In the third quarter, the Cavs grabbed a 72-63 lead with 3:17 remaining, but Danny Fortson scored on a fastbreak layup to tie the score at 74-all with 33.9 seconds left. Seattle outscored Cleveland 13-3 in the final 3 minutes to take a 76-75 lead after three periods.

Fortson, a key player off the bench in his first season in Seattle, had a hunch the Cavs would run out of gas because they played Saturday night in Utah.

“Obviously, they got tired,” said Fortson, who had seven points and five rebounds before fouling out in 16 minutes.

Sonics coach Nate McMillan was happy with the win and the Sonics’ 50-31 advantage on the boards. But he was unhappy with his team’s 23 turnovers, including six by Allen.

“I think we’re playing in traffic,” McMillan said. “I think we’re doing too much pounding, too much dribbling as opposed to moving the ball. Teams like that have good defenders on the ball.”

Cavs coach Paul Silas was unhappy with the lack of rebounding from Gooden and starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, who combined for just seven.

“They have to pick it up,” Silas said. “Seven rebounds between them in 30 minutes is unacceptable.”

Notes

Seattle ended a three-game losing streak against the Cavaliers. … The Sonics don’t know when Lewis will return. Lewis, who’s averaging 20.6 points, tested his left knee in a workout before the game, but it was still too sore to play.

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