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Bulls cruise past Sonics behind Wallace's big night

CHICAGO (AP) -- Ben Wallace is starting to fit in with the
Chicago Bulls.

The former Detroit star had a season-high 15 points and 20
rebounds to lead the Bulls to a 99-84 victory over the Seattle
SuperSonics on Wednesday night.

Ben Gordon added 27 points and Andres Nocioni had 20 in
Chicago's ninth victory in its last 10 games. Wallace also had five
blocked shots, tying his season high.

"Anytime you leave a situation like I was in, coming to
something new, I was in Detroit for six years and to take on a new
challenge at this point in my career there is always going to be a
little bit of an adjustment," said Wallace, who was benched
earlier during a game for disobeying team rules and wearing a
headband. "For the most part I think the transition has gone
pretty smooth."

Bulls coach Scott Skiles wants Wallace to be part of the
offense.

"We throw Ben the ball quite a bit in the course of games,"
Skiles said. "Tonight, he saw some openings and took them and
scored. It is silly to say he had a big game, he had 20 rebounds,
but that was a big time performance."

The Sonics played without Ray Allen and Earl Watson. Allen, who
was not with the team, missed his fifth straight game because of a
bone bruise in his right foot, while Earl Watson suited up but
didn't play because of a lower back contusion.

Chicago jumped out to a 28-12 lead, with Nocioni scoring seven
points and Luol Deng adding eight. Wallace had five points, seven
rebounds and three blocks in the quarter.

The Bulls beat the Sonics at home for the first time since
1997-98, when they won their sixth championship in Michael Jordan's
final season with the team. Prior to Wednesday night, Chicago had
dropped eight straight to the Sonics at the United Center.

Rashard Lewis scored 18 points for the Sonics, and Damien
Wilkins added 16.

"Our bigs were foul trouble. Our bigs didn't really play that
much tonight," Lewis said. "With Ben Wallace out there, it's hard
to keep him off the glass."

Deng finished with 13 points, and Kirk Hinrich had 14 points and
eight assists.
^Notes:@ The Bulls played without P.J. Brown, sidelined by a right
foot injury. He's listed as day-to-day. ... Chicago is 2-7 against
Western Conference teams. ... Alfonso Soriano, who agreed to a $136
million, eight-year contract with the Chicago Cubs, attended the
game and got a loud ovation from the fans when he was shown on the
video board as did Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. But the biggest
ovation of the night went to Devin Hester, the star returner for
the Chicago Bears. ... Sonics F Johan Petro finished with 16 points
and 10 rebounds.

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