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Sonics not regretting trading for Allen yet

SEATTLE (AP) -- Four games after the Gary Payton trade, things
are looking pretty good for Ray Allen and the Seattle SuperSonics.

Allen, the key player Seattle received from Milwaukee in the
Payton trade, scored 21 points in the Sonics' 93-76 victory over
the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

The Sonics have won three of four since the blockbuster trade.
Allen has played in three of those games, providing Seattle with
plenty of offense by averaging 23.3 points.

Kevin Ollie, who also came to Seattle in the deal, said he's not
surprised by Seattle's recent success.

"Seattle got a great player in Ray Allen, and I'm trying to
provide a little leadership and defense,'' said Ollie, who scored
six of his eight points in a runaway fourth quarter. "We didn't
come in here thinking the season was over. We wanted to come in and
win, and we're doing it.''

Atlanta, in the fifth game of a season-long seven-game road
trip, was hurt by its usual turnover problems (20) and Seattle's
ability to score from long range.

"We were tentative with the ball,'' said Hawks head coach Terry
Stotts. "I thought it was a game of two halves. The first half was
up and down and we just couldn't keep the tempo going.''

Seattle was 10-of-19 from beyond the arc. It's the third time
the Sonics have made at least 10 3-pointers, but the first time
since Nov. 9.

"The game started slow, but we were able to open it up a little
by knocking down some threes,'' said Rashard Lewis, who was one of
five Sonics who scored in double figures. Lewis and Vladimir
Radmanovic scored 15 apiece. Predrag Drobnjak had 13 and Jerome
James added 11.

"When guys like me and Ray are not getting the offense going,
somebody else can also step up and hit the threes to get the
momentum going for this team.''

Allen's shooting was nothing special as he went 5-of-15 from the
field, but he made four 3-pointers and had nine assists.

Shareef Abdur-Rahim led the Hawks with 19 points. Jason Terry,
who played his high school ball in Seattle, had 14. Glenn Robinson
had 15, and Theo Ratliff added 11.

"I don't know exactly what the problem is, but we're going to
have to figure out a way to turn it around,'' said Terry. "We
turned the ball over too many times again. It's getting old.''

The game was decided during a nine-minute stretch at the end of
the third quarter and the start of the fourth when the Hawks were
held without a field goal.

Allen felt defense was the key to the win.

"We played defense, and it kept us in the game,'' said Allen.
"We only scored 13 points in the third quarter. The defense
continued to come through and it allowed us to win the game.''

The Sonics had five players reach double-figure scoring.

Allen opened the second quarter with a 25-footer and a pair of
free throws that pushed the Sonics' advantage to 28-18.

The Hawks snapped out of a four-minute scoreless drought when
Dion Glover and Robinson hit back-to-back 3-pointers, followed by
an open 20-foot jumper from Abdur-Rahim that cut the Seattle lead
to 30-26 with 7:12 to play in the half.

The Sonics expanded their lead to 55-41 at halftime. They hit
five 3-pointers over the final 4:24 of the half, and were 8-of-12
from beyond the arc over the first 24 minutes.

"This team right now has a lot of confidence,'' said Allen.
"Whoever out there that we are playing against is going to have a
good test.''

Game notes
The first 5,000 fans in attendance received a Gary Payton
doll. Although Payton is no longer with the team, the organization
went ahead with the promotional giveaway. Two other future
promotional giveaways that related to Payton and Desmond Mason, who
was included in the trade, have been called off. ... Atlanta had
won its previous three games in Seattle. ... G Dan Dickau, who
played two collegiate seasons in Seattle at the University of
Washington before transferring to Gonzaga, was 2-for-6. He did not
score until 5:24 left in the game. ... Each team scored only 13
points in the third quarter.

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