Allen's 38 leads Sonics past Timberwolves

SEATTLE (AP) -- With a shot at the playoffs all but gone, Ray
Allen and his teammates had their pride and professionalism
challenged at halftime.

The Seattle SuperSonics responded with an impressive second half
that added to Minnesota's road woes.

Allen scored 38 points, his best performance in more than a
month, and the SuperSonics used a strong finish to beat the
Timberwolves 107-96 on Friday night.

Allen made 13 of 26 shots and scored 21 in the second half after
the Sonics were chastised by coach Bob Hill at halftime.

"We started the first half tonight with that same muddy
approach. We were lethargic and didn't have much enthusiasm,"
Allen said. "The attitude was there in the second half."

Allen, who scored a season-high 42 in a double-overtime win over
Phoenix on Jan. 22, ignited the Sonics in the final 6½ minutes as
Seattle outscored Minnesota 23-8.

Earl Watson had his best game since being acquired from Denver
at the trade deadline. Watson scored 12 points and added 10 assists
as Seattle's bench outscored Minnesota's 33-15.

Rashard Lewis shot just 3-for-11, but added 15 points and eight
rebounds for the Sonics, who finished a five-game homestand 3-2.

"At halftime I kind of let them have it for the whole
halftime," Hill said. "We didn't really change anything ... the
second half was about forcing their will on the game."

Mark Blount was outstanding for the Timberwolves, scoring 23
points and shooting 10-of-12. Kevin Garnett added 21 points and 10
rebounds, but his 22-footer with 4:44 left was Minnesota's only
field goal in the last 6 minutes.

The Timberwolves haven't won a road game since Feb. 6 at Phoenix
and have dropped 17 of the last 20.

"We did a good job in the first half, but in the second half I
thought we were a little lax," Minnesota coach Dwane Casey said.
"Putting together 48 minutes is our goal from here on out ... that
has been the story of our whole year."

Leading only twice all night, Seattle finally took control
midway through the fourth quarter. Allen made a 17-footer and was
fouled by Ricky Davis. The three-point play brought Seattle within
88-87. Blount then missed for just the second time, and Watson made
a 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 1 second on the shot clock
for a 90-88 lead with 5:33 left.

Watson scored again, but four points from Garnett tied the score
at 92.

Watson then found Allen for a 3-pointer and a 95-92 Seattle
lead, its biggest to that point. Marcus Banks made two free throws,
but Allen lofted an alley-oop dunk to Chris Wilcox and Robert Swift
scored for the Sonics.

Banks missed a pair of open jumpers for Minnesota -- the second
an airball as the shot-clock expired -- and Allen hit another
3-pointer to put Seattle up 102-94 with 2:29 left.

"Young guys go through tough times all the time. He's had some
great games and he's had some tough games," Garnett said of Banks.
"He's going to struggle, but the expectations he's put on himself
are high and they should be."

Wilcox had 11 points for the Sonics and Swift scored all nine of
his points in the second half. The second-year center played just
14 minutes, but helped Seattle hold a 52-28 advantage on points in
the paint.

"We needed Robert to have a good game," Hill said. "The team
needed Robert to have a good game, the fans probably needed Robert
to have a good game, so the second half was great."

Banks had 15 points and nine assists, but scored just two
points, handed out one assist and missed all four shot attempts in
the second half. Davis added 16 points.

Game notes
The worst defensive team in the league, Seattle has held
four straight opponents under 100 points. ... Allen is now three
points shy of 15,000 for his career. Allen would be the 97th player
in league history to eclipse the mark. ... Minnesota plays at
Phoenix on Saturday, then spends four days in Los Angeles playing
the Clippers and Lakers.


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