Seattle snaps losing streak

Boozer scores 16 points in losing cause for Utah

Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2004

SALT LAKE CITY - Rashard Lewis and the Seattle SuperSonics are having a lot of fun this season playing with their up-tempo offense.

Lewis scored 22 points, Ray Allen added 19 and the Seattle SuperSonics picked up the pace in the fourth quarter to end an eight-game losing streak at Utah with a 98-88 victory over the Jazz on Monday night.

"I thought we were playing slow. We were playing at their tempo and we allowed it to become a half-court game," Seattle coach Nate McMillan said. "But we eventually turned it around."

A study in contrasts, the Sonics are usually best when they are able to freelance while the Jazz run a set play on nearly every possession and rely on precise execution. But Utah's offense repeatedly sputtered down the stretch as it shot 6-of-23 in the final period and stretched its streak of sub-.500 shooting games to 11.

Clinging to a 73-72 lead going into the fourth period, the Sonics went on a 14-5 run capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Lewis and Vladimir Radmanovic.

"We don't make the same mistakes now. Everybody knows their job and they just go out and do it," said Lewis, whose job seemed to be spotting up for 3-pointers and beating the Jazz down the court.

While the Sonics scored from long range, the Jazz forced up shots to beat the clock or gave the ball away. The Jazz had a season-high 25 turnovers which Seattle turned into 23 points.

"Some of the turnovers, we just almost handed them the basketball without any kind of pressure on us," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.

The Sonics went 13-of-14 from the line in the fourth quarter to clinch the win, which came after losing 11 of 12 at Utah. Seattle last beat the Jazz in Utah on Feb. 1, 2000, a 104-96 victory.

"To beat them here at home, mentally it is a challenge," McMillan said. "I thought our guys kept their composure and played through the aggressive play. In the second half, I thought we got stronger."

Luke Ridnour scored 11 points, while Ronald Murray and Danny Fortson each had 10 for Seattle.

Matt Harpring scored 22 points and Juneau-Douglas High School graduate Carlos Boozer had 16 points for the Jazz. Boozer had 14 rebounds but committed eight turnovers for the Jazz, who lost four of five games on their pre-Christmas road trip and are 6-7 at home this season.

"We just didn't take care of the ball - those are mental errors and they cost you ballgames," said Raja Bell, who had 16 points for Utah.

After the game was tied at 52 at halftime, Boozer's dunk punctuated a 12-1 run that gave Utah a 66-58 lead.

The Sonics came right back and reclaimed the lead by scoring 13 straight points, including Ridnour's 3-pointer that made it 71-66 with three minutes left in the third quarter.

"Whenever we had things going our way, I thought we fell apart," Sloan said. "We couldn't sustain any energy."

The Sonics, who started a stretch of four games in five nights, haven't run out of energy all season when it counted. Seattle is 10-1 in back-to-back games after going 17-27 last season.

"Four games in five nights sounds tough and it is tough on the body, but we take one game at a time," Allen said. "By doing that, we've done some big things this season."



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