Weary Celtics no match for Sonics

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SEATTLE (AP) – Chris Wilcox scored a season-high 24 points, Damien Wilkins added 20 points and the Seattle SuperSonics held off the road-weary and injury-depleted Boston Celtics 101-95 on Sunday night.

Ray Allen, Seattle’s leading scorer, was 7-of-20 from the floor for just 15 points after having a season-low 14 in Friday’s 101-82 loss to Minnesota. Allen, who averages 24.7 points, may be a little tired this week after the birth of his second son, Walker Allen.

Tony Allen had 23 points for the Celtics (10-19), losers of seven straight. Al Jefferson had 21 points and 10 rebounds for his seventh straight double-double.

Boston trailed by 17 at the end of the third period, but cut the lead to 86-80 on a free throw by Allen with 4:33 left. Earl Watson drilled a 3-pointer on the Sonics’ next possession then stole the ball and laid in another basket to get the lead to 91-80 lead with 3:21 left.

Celtics’ coach Doc Rivers called a timeout, but without his go-to scorer, Paul Pierce (foot injury), his team fell short. They managed to get within 93-87 before Rajon Rondo missed a wide-open 3-point attempt with 50 seconds left. The Sonics made all eight of their free throws in the final minute.

The Sonics, leading 48-39 at halftime, had their margin reduced to 57-51 with 7:10 left in the third. Then they went on an 11-0 run, punctuated by a pair of basket-shaking dunks by Wilcox. His second included a free throw as he helped the Sonics build a 68-51 lead. It was 76-59 at the buzzer.

The Sonics opened the game by shooting 81.3 percent (13 of 16) in the first period but led by just nine. The Celtics, who went nearly 4 minutes without scoring, shot just 30 percent. Allen kept them close with 11 of his 23 points in the period.

The Sonics, who shot a season-low 31.4 percent in Friday’s loss, went flat again in the second period, making just seven of 23 attempts to let the Celtics’ back into it. Boston worked the deficit down to four points before falling behind by 15 at intermission.

The Sonics, who have lost eight of their last 11 games, have won seven of their last eight home games.

This is the Celtics’ fourth stop in a five-game road trip. They are 0-4. They are without Pierce, who re-aggravated a left foot injury Dec. 20 against Golden State. He was averaging 26.6 points. The Celtics are 0-6 without him.

Notes: Danny Fortson started his third game of the season as the Sonics center after missing the previous two games with knee soreness. … The Celtics have three key players hampered by injuries, including Pierce, who may not be back for another couple weeks. In addition, Wally Szczerbiak is slowed by a right ankle sprain and Delonte West is limited by back spasms.

AP-ES-01-01-07 0043EST

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