West, Smith lead Hornets past Sonics
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) – David West had 21 points to lead a balanced
attack, as New Orleans/Oklahoma City downed Seattle, 105-99, at KeyArena.
J.R. Smith added 19 while Chris Paul had 17 points, 10 assists and seven
rebounds for the Hornets, who have won two straight and four of their last
five games. Speedy Claxton and Desmond Mason each chipped in 14 points in the
“Winning four out of our last five is all about confidence,” Paul said. “We’re
going into every game knowing we have a chance. If we go in with confidence,
then we can just keep on doing what we are doing, and I think that will be
Rashard Lewis scored 21 while Ray Allen contributed 15 for the SuperSonics,
who have dropped three straight following a three-game winning streak.
Vladimir Radmanovic ended with 14 points in the loss.
“It’s frustrating,” Allen said of the loss. “I’m not worried about the
offense. We have some talented players, but the effort defensively, whether
we’re in the right place, or on the same page, that’s got to change.”
New Orleans/Oklahoma City led 77-70 after 36 minutes and increased the gap to
nine on Smith’s jumper with 7:25 left in the game. Seattle never really got
going in the fourth period, and after Allen fouled out with 4:29 remaining,
the Hornets increased the gap to 93-82.
The Sonics did pull within eight on a pair of free throws by Luke Ridnour with
3:38 to go, but P.J. Brown hit a quick jumper and West’s two free throws
moments later extended the New Orleans/Oklahoma City lead to 100-88.
Seattle, though, would not go away without a fight as eight straight points,
capped by Ridnour’s jumper, trimmed the gap to 100-96 with 38.5 seconds
remaining. Lewis hit a three-pointer while Nick Collison also added three
points during the quick 8-0 flurry.
Paul then hit 1-of-2 free throws with 19.5 seconds to go, and after Radmanovic
missed a three-point attempt, Brown increased the gap to 103-96 as he hit a
pair from the line.
Damien Wilkins then drained a three-pointer to trim the gap to four, but Paul
sealed the win with two foul shots in the final seconds.
The teams were deadlocked at 29 apiece after the first quarter, but New
Orleans/Oklahoma City gained the upperhand in the second period.
The Hornets took a 33-32 lead early in the quarter and led for the rest of the
half. Mason’s three-point play with around 6 1/2 minutes left made it 43-36
and Paul then widened the gap to nine points moments later.
New Orleans/Oklahoma City eventually led 55-47 at the intermission.
New Orleans/Oklahoma City made 34-of-41 foul shots, compared to just 12-of-18
shooting from the charity stripe by the Sonics…Brown had 10 points…Ronald
Murray and Collison both scored 13 while Ridnour added 12 points.