PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- While Rashard Lewis probably didn't
realize his play on words, his comments after Seattle beat Portland
couldn't have been more appropriate.
"The first quarter we really came out blazin'," he said.
Lewis scored 37 points, 20 in the first quarter, and the
SuperSonics beat the Trail Blazers and former coach Nate McMillan
111-99 Friday night.
It was the first time McMillan had faced his former team in the
regular season, and it got bad quickly with the Blazers trailing by
as many as 33 points in the first half.
Ray Allen had 24 points for Seattle, which snapped a three-game
losing streak that included a 104-98 loss at home to Houston the
Portland managed to narrow the margin to 104-96 on Steve Blake's
3-pointer with 1:17 left in the game, but the rally didn't last.
The Blazers had a long closed-door meeting after the game.
"It was me talking to this team, not only about this game but
where we stand as an organization," McMillan said.
The Blazers, who have lost nine of their last 10 games, were
without starting point guard Sebastian Telfair, who has a sprained
ligament in his right thumb. Blake took his place in the starting
lineup and finished with 19 points and 13 assists.
The Sonics led 37-16 at the end of the first quarter. Lewis'
3-pointer put the Sonics up 57-27 midway through the second quarter
and Seattle led 67-46 at the half.
It was the most points the Sonics have scored in the first half
this season, and the most points Portland has given up.
"I really was feeling like I was in a rhythm and every time I
shot the ball it was going to go in," Lewis said.
McMillan wore a frown throughout the game.
He spent 19 seasons with the Sonics as a player, assistant and
head coach. He was so popular he earned the nickname Mr. Sonic and
his jersey hangs in the rafters of Key Arena.
McMillan was hired by the northwest rival Trail Blazers in the
offseason after he failed to agree to a contract extension with the
Seattle replaced him with Bob Weiss, who spent 11 seasons as an
assistant with the Sonics under George Karl, Paul Westphal and
McMillan replaced Maurice Cheeks, who was fired last March and
replaced in the interim by director of player personnel Kevin
Pritchard. The Blazers finished last season 27-55.
Last season McMillan led the Sonics to 52 wins and the Western
Allen said it wasn't that strange to play against McMillan
rather than for him.
"For us to come here it's not that big a deal, but when he
comes into our building he's going to get a big standing ovation,"
The Blazers were clearly going to give him new challenges this
season. The young team has won just six games.
Portland also was struggling without forward Darius Miles, who
has been on the inactive list since Dec. 4 with cartilage damage in
his right knee and had arthroscopic surgery on Friday. There was no
timetable for his return.
The Blazers were led by Zach Randolph's 23 points and eight
Sonics guard Luke Ridnour got elbowed in a pregame huddle
and had to have three stitches in his head, but he still started.
He fidgeted with a headband he wore during the game to protect the
gash. "He looked like a little kid out there going to school and
his mom put something on him that we didn't want to wear," Allen
joked. Ridnour bumped into center Vitaly Potapenko. ... Ridnour,
who played for the University of Oregon, was greeted by shouts of
"Luke!" when he was introduced. ... Lewis' season high was 41
points at Toronto on Nov. 13. ... Portland's largest margin of
defeat this season was 45 points. The Suns beat the Blazers 130-85
in Phoenix on Dec. 6.
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