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Grizzlies (0-15) still winless in Seattle

3/29/2003

SEATTLE (AP) -- Rashard Lewis was on the bench in street clothes,
though the Seattle SuperSonics played so well his absence wasn't an
issue.

Ray Allen scored 10 of his 25 points in the third quarter as the
Sonics played with out their second-leading scorer but still beat
the Memphis Grizzlies 95-71 Friday night.

"We've got a good group,'' said Vladimir Radmanovic, who started for Lewis and had 21 points and 10 rebounds. "We cannot depend on one guy. Rashard is a great player and he means a lot to this team, but we can't have Rashard out and let that be an excuse.''

Lewis, who's averaging 18 points a game, saved himself for
Sunday, when he's expected to play against the Los Angeles Lakers.
He hurt his right knee, right elbow and right wrist in Wednesday's
loss to Washington.

"It was an opportunity for other guys to step up,'' coach Nate McMillan said. "Radmanovic was ready. Calvin Booth came off the bench after he hadn't played in a while and gave us good minutes. The guys played well tonight. They started out well, but it started on the defensive end.''

Allen shot 11-of-18 and Brent Barry barely missed his first career triple-double with 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.

"You've got to have a little respect for the game,'' Barry said. "We were up by 25 points. I was on the court, but I didn't want to play selfishly. If it comes to you, you take it. But there will be another chance.''

Pau Gasol led Memphis with 13 points and Lorenzen Wright had 15
rebounds for the Grizzlies, who fell to 0-15 at KeyArena. They're
the only NBA team that has never won in Seattle.

Memphis opened a three-game road trip looking nothing like the
improving squad that went 13-10 since the All-Star break. Instead,
they resembled the Grizzlies of old, unable to organize a charge
after committing eight first-quarter turnovers.

"We were playing at a good level, and this was a step back,'' Gasol said. "We didn't come out ready to play. We let them push us around. That's something you can't do out there.''

The outcome was decided by halftime, when Seattle led 50-32. But
the Sonics put it out of reach when Allen scored eight points in the last 4:09 of the third period, stretching a 61-46 lead to 73-49 entering the fourth quarter.

"I was just the recipient of good passes,'' Allen said.

Seattle kept the momentum going, opening the final period with a 6-2 run that was highlighted by Kevin Ollie's jumper and a basket inside by Booth, extending the margin to 79-51 with 9:08 remaining.

"When you shoot 32 percent and you get only seven offensive rebounds? Come on,'' said Memphis coach Hubie Brown. "The shooting wasn't there.''

The only drama in the fourth quarter was learning whether the Sonics would set an NBA record for fewest free throws in a game. They put up only one until Jerome James went 1-of-2 with 3:38 to play.

"When your shots are going down, you don't have to go to the line,'' James said. "It's when your shots aren't falling that you have to charge the basket and try to make something happen.''

The record for fewest foul shots in a game is two, by Cleveland
against Golden State on Nov. 26, 1994. Seattle finished 5-of-8 at
the line.

Game notes
With Phoenix winning at Detroit, the Sonics remained 3½ games behind the Suns for the eighth Western Conference playoff spot. ... Seattle won the season series against Memphis 3-1. ...
The Sonics played without seldom-used G Joseph Forte, suspended for
one game after an altercation in the locker room Wednesday. ... Grizzlies F Stromile Swift, listed as questionable with a sprained right thumb, scored six points in 22 minutes.