Regular Season Series (Game 4 of 4)

Series starts 11/28

Game 1: Friday, November 28th
Game 2: Tuesday, February 24th
Game 3: Wednesday, February 25th
Game 4: Wednesday, March 24th

Jazz 77


SuperSonics 84

(33-38, 18-18 home)

    Coverage: KJZZ

    7:00 PM ET, March 24, 2004

    Key Arena, Seattle, WA

    1 2 3 4 T
    UTAH 13 15 24 2577
    SEA 14 27 22 2184

    Top Performers

    Utah: T. Gugliotta 4 Pts, 10 Reb, 5 Ast, 1 Blk

    Seattle: R. Allen 26 Pts, 2 Reb, 2 Ast, 1 Stl

    Jazz fall half-game behind Nuggets for eighth spot

    SEATTLE (AP) -- If Utah makes the playoffs for the 21st straight season, a young Jazz team will have to fight its way in.

    At least it's a learning experience.

    Ray Allen scored 18 of his 26 points in the third quarter, then hit two free throws with 24 seconds to play, and the Seattle SuperSonics beat Utah 84-77 on Wednesday night.

    The Sonics extended their season-high winning streak to six games and dealt a setback to the Jazz, who fell a half-game behind Denver in the chase for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

    "We're not in the playoffs yet," said Utah's Andrei Kirilenko, who scored 16 points, but shot 5-of-15. "It will be exciting. I think it's a good experience for the young team to step up."

    Utah erased most of a 22-point third-quarter deficit with a fourth-quarter comeback, cutting the margin to 80-77 with 24.6 seconds to play after Kirilenko made three free throws on a questionable foul against Seattle's Brent Barry.

    "Games like this one against Seattle are good," Kirilenko said. "We were back 22 points and we got it to three. But it's bad that we let them get the score to 22. It's a good experience for us. We're growing up."

    The Sonics iced it with free throws, ending Utah's three-game winning streak. It also denied Utah's bid for its second-ever season sweep of Seattle.

    Allen was fouled on the ensuing inbounds play and hit two free throws and, after Kirilenko missed a 3-point try, Antonio Daniels hit another two from the line to put Seattle up 84-77 with 13.9 seconds to go.

    "A 20-point lead is never safe in this league unless you get to that three-minute mark," Barry said. "I think we just lost a bit of composure ... and let them chip away."

    Rashard Lewis had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Daniels scored 15 points and Vladimir Radmanovic added 10. The Sonics trail Denver by four games, and Seattle is more of a longshot to make the postseason.

    "It doesn't get any easier. I just hope a lot of these teams are on vacation," Allen said. "If we don't make the playoffs, we'd still want to be sitting at home knowing we gave it our best shot."

    Mo Williams scored 15 and Sasha Pavlovic had 11, but the Jazz struggled against Seattle's zone defense and finished at 34.9 percent from the floor.

    "I think that we can't make shots," Kirilenko said. "We just can't score and we didn't make layups. Sometimes, we played a little bit stupid basketball. We'd take a shot, and we'd take a bad shot."

    Allen, who scored 40 points in a loss to Utah on Feb. 25, hit 8-of-10 from the floor in the third quarter after scoring only two points on 1-of-3 shooting in the first half.

    "They tried to come out and establish a tone where they weren't going to give me open looks," Allen said. "That was fine, because we softened them up a little bit and hit them again in the third quarter."

    Kirilenko missed his first six shots and had five points on 1-of-7 shooting at halftime, when Seattle led 41-28. It was Utah's lowest-scoring half all season -- coming just when the Jazz most need some energy.

    The Jazz slumped through the first 34 minutes, but rallied in the third quarter with a 12-2 run that closed the margin to 63-52 going into the fourth.

    "Finally we got going a little bit," Utah coach Jerry Sloan said.<

    Notes: Jazz C Curtis Borchardt, on the injured list after surgery in December on his right wrist, grew up in the Seattle area and made the trip. ... Seattle C Vitaly Potapenko scored three points, ending his streak of five games in double figures. ... Utah is 13-24 on the road. Seattle improved to 3-8 at home against the Midwest Division. ... The Sonics face 10 more games against teams with winning records.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 77 84
    FGM-FGA 29-83 (.349) 26-63 (.413)
    3PM-3PA 4-14 (.286) 6-21 (.286)
    FTM-FTA 15-20 (.750) 26-28 (.929)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 19-39 9-36
    Assists 19 16
    Turnovers 10 15
    Steals 6 4
    Blocks 4 8
    Fast Break Points 4 4
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (1/1) 20 (1/0)

    Top Performers

    Tom Gugliotta Gugliotta
    Points: 4
    Reb: 10
    Ast: 5
    Stl: 0
    Blk: 1
    Ray Allen Allen
    Points: 26
    Reb: 2
    Ast: 2
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 0