Allen, Lewis lead Sonics past depleted Nuggets

DENVER (AP) -- Denver's altitude and the Nuggets' fast pace
suited Seattle guard Ray Allen just fine.

Allen made eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 39 points
and Rashard Lewis added 27 in Seattle's 112-105 victory over the
short-handed Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.

"The shots were there for me tonight," Allen said. "Damien
(Wilkins) did a pretty good job of letting the play develop. All we
did was try to take what their defense gave us. A couple of times
they left me open and I took the shot. A lot of times Rashard was
left open."

Allen said the old-fashioned, back-and-forth game that featured
21 lead changes was pure fun.

"It was a little more tiring because of the altitude here," he
said. "We all felt it a little bit, but it definitely gets you in

Allen logged a game-high 44 minutes and ran the Nuggets ragged
at their own game.

"Ray was in his zone. I've been on the good side of that and
tonight I was on the bad side," said Nuggets coach George Karl,
who used to coach Allen in Milwaukee. "He had a special rhythm
going and I know many shots he just shot over the top of us."

Allen shot 8-of-14 from beyond the arc.

"I've never seen anybody shoot like that," Carmelo Anthony
said. "There is really nothing you can do about it."

The Nuggets got 32 points from Anthony, but he managed just two
-- on free throws -- in the final 18 minutes after Wilkins started
guarding him.

"I played Carmelo the same way I played LeBron or Paul Pierce.
I wore them down," Wilkins said. "I knew I wasn't in foul trouble
so I played him tight. I denied him the ball and kept my body on
him as much as I could. Didn't let him freelance and try and test
his endurance. It took his toll the end of the game."

Before Wilkins shut him down, Anthony was well on his way to his
fourth 40-point game this month.

"We never could get Carmelo back in the game tonight," Karl
said. "They were switching and crowding him, really double-teaming
him. Never could punish them with a 3 or weakside basketball."

Denver was handicapped without forward Marcus Camby, who
underwent surgery Thursday on his broken right pinkie. The league's
leading rebounder will be sidelined indefinitely. They did get
Kenyon Martin back from a two-game absence with a bruised thigh,
but his 11-point, seven-rebound performance wasn't nearly enough to
keep the Nuggets from blowing a fourth-quarter lead and losing for
the ninth time this season.

"What you're seeing in the fourth quarter is a team that
doesn't have confidence to finish up the game," Karl said. "Last
year we were a great fourth-quarter defensive team and I think that
was our confidence. This year we don't have that."

Anthony had no answers for the fourth-quarter follies: "We just
lose our composure and get out of sync."

The SuperSonics played without two players, Luke Ridnour and
Danny Fortson. Ridnour was sore after taking a shot to the chest
Friday night from Dallas' Jerry Stackhouse, and Fortson began a
two-game suspension for berating a referee Wednesday night at
Minnesota and failing to promptly leave the game after being

Thanks to Allen, their absences weren't felt.

Allen's 3-pointer tied it at 96 and Wilkins' steal and dunk gave
Seattle the lead for good with 6:40 left, the SuperSonics' first
lead since the first half.

Anthony scored 23 points in the first half, which ended with
Denver ahead 61-58.

That pace didn't appear to favor the SuperSonics, who were
playing their third game in four nights and against a Denver team
that leads the league with 22 fastbreak points a game, including 26
at the Pepsi Center.

The Nuggets managed 29 fastbreak points Thursday night, but only
four came after halftime.

Before tip-off, Karl said he wasn't going to change his team's
running style just because it's been beset by injuries, saying, "I
think that's our forte, especially here in Denver."

On this night, Allen proved otherwise.

Game notes
The Nuggets were outrebounded 48-36. ... Fortson will also
sit out Saturday night against Memphis. ... Nuggets G Andre Miller,
averaging 14.3 points, didn't score until 8 minutes were left.