Allen’s 54 is a Sonic boom


SEATTLE (AP) – The last time Ray Allen went on a scoring binge like this, he was portraying a fictional high school kid named Jesus Shuttlesworth.

But there Allen was on Friday night backpedaling downcourt with a grin on his face, his arms pumping and even talking a little smack after swishing yet another 3-pointer. This, however, had nothing to do with “He Got Game,” the 1998 Spike Lee movie in which Allen starred.

It was all part of a career-high 54-point performance by the six-time All-Star in Seattle’s 122-114 overtime win over Utah that provided a needed jolt of excitement to a season that’s been mostly dismal for the Sonics.

“To do it at home and give the people in the building and the people in the city something to cheer about, I feel great to be a part of that,” Allen said.

Allen’s total was the second-highest in franchise history and he became just the fifth Seattle player to eclipse the 50-point mark. Fred Brown holds the team record with 58 points on March 23, 1974, in a 139-137 victory at Golden State.

Allen had approached the 50 only once. During the 2002 season while still in Milwaukee he scored 47 against Charlotte. He was slowed by tendinitis in his knee during that stretch of the season, forcing him to be exact with every release on every shot, not trying to put excessive strain on his knee.

The shots didn’t come easily against the Jazz, none more than his 3-pointer with eight seconds left in regulation that tied the game at 106. Allen rubbed off a pair of screens and slightly altered his shot as 6-foot-9 Utah forward Carlos Boozer came charging with a hand in Allen’s face.

Allen ignored the distraction and swished a 27-footer, capping an 18-point fourth quarter, 15 in the final five minutes. Seattle overcame a 102-93 deficit with 2:37 remaining, then outscored the Jazz 16-8 in overtime.

His previous high with the Sonics came in the 2005 playoffs when he scored 45 at Sacramento.

“He might have had another one in his career that’s close, but I can’t imagine one being better than that,” Seattle’s Nick Collison said. “He hit a lot of unbelievable shots and we needed them all, too.”

Allen scored 35 points after halftime, and no defensive scheme by Utah coach Jerry Sloan worked. He used Gordon Giricek, Derek Fisher and even Andrei Kirilenko to guard Allen. They could do little to slow him.

“Ray’s a phenomenal player,” Fisher said. “There is going to be nights where he gets it going that way.”

Allen finished with a season-high eight 3-pointers, made 17 of 32 shots overall and was 12-for-12 at the line. He also pulled down 10 rebounds and joined an exclusive group of guards to have a 50-10 game. According to Elias Sports Bureau, over the last 35 years only four other guards recorded such a game – Michael Jordan (eight times), Tracy McGrady (twice), LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

“I’ve never seen a better performance,” Seattle coach Bob Hill said. “He’s truly amazing.”

Coincidentally, Utah has given up three 50-point performances to shooting guards this season. Milwaukee’s Michael Redd scored 57 on Nov. 11 and Bryant had 52 points – in just 34 minutes – on Nov. 30.

AP-ES-01-13-07 1551EST