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SuperSonics conclude road trip with impressive win

Nov 14, 2006 - 3:07 AM EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Ticker) -- Luke Ridnour had a lot to do with the Seattle SuperSonics closing a five-game road trip in impressive fashion.

Ridnour scored a career-high 32 points as the SuperSonics raced to a big lead en route to a 119-113 victory over the New Jersey Nets.

Rashard Lewis added 27 points and Chris Wilcox and Ray Allen had 22 apiece for the Sonics, who won the final three games of their road trip after opening with losses to Miami and Orlando.

Ridnour, who outplayed Jason Kidd, scored 21 of his points in a second half in which the Sonics never trailed. However, it was the start that proved to be the key.

"It was good for us to get that big lead," Ridnour said. "We knew they were going to make that push because they're a good team. Thankfully, we were able to hold on until the end."

Allen scored 10 points in the first quarter, helping the Sonics open a 35-17 lead. They led by as many as 28 points in the second quarter before settling for a 60-42 advantage at the break.

Vince Carter scored a season-high 38 points for New Jersey, which was coming off Sunday's 105-93 overtime victory at Washington. His 3-pointer in the waning seconds of regulation forced the extra session.

"I explained to them before the game that periodically throughout a season opportunities like this come along and good teams take advantage of it no matter what it takes," Sonics coach Bob Hill said. "They played last night and had to go to overtime and Richard Jefferson is not playing. One of their best players is out so they're wounded. You have to go for the throat and that's what we did."

After building their halftime cushion, the Sonics led by double digits the entire third quarter, which ended with them holding a 96-80 advantage.

"Everyone had a hand in scoring the basketball and defensively we were pretty good," Allen said. "We knew they were tired. We tried to take advantage of them playing back-to-back games."

Ridnour, who scored 13 points in the third quarter, made 11-of-18 shots and also handed out seven assists.

"I kept calling pick and rolls for him and he kept getting in the paint and hitting those floaters," Hill said. "That in-between game is so important for him; he put on a clinic tonight."

"We tried to do different things against him, but nothing really worked," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said. "We started drawing fouls and tried to blitz him. We tried different things, but nothing really worked."

The Nets did attempt to rally, using a 12-4 surge to open the fourth quarter to pull within 100-92 with 8:53 remaining. Reserve Mikki Moore capped the run with back-to-back dunks.

But the 6-10 Wilcox restored order, powering his way to an offensive rebound and putting home a layup while drawing a foul. He completed the three-point play.

The Sonics, who shot 48 percent (44-of-91), had 26 second-chance points.

"In the first half we gave up 19 points on second chances," Kidd said. "With that you're not going to beat anybody in this league. So we will have to address that as a group. We have to rebound the ball so we can have a chance to get out and run. Once you give a team multiple shots you will find yourself down in a hurry."

Lewis then took an inbound pass on the Sonics' ensuing possession and converted a layup while the Nets were caught napping to make it 105-92 with 7:08 left.

Nenad Krstic scored 21 points and Kidd finished with 20 and 12 assists for the Nets, whose 51 percent (41-of-81) shooting was overshadowed a poor effort on the glass. Seattle held a 46-34 rebounding advantage, grabbing 20 offensive boards.

"Their energy level was very high, we couldn't match their energy," Frank said. "Our guys showed heart in fighting back. Every time momentum seemed like it was going to swing, we couldn't come up with a loose ball or we would foul, but that's what happens when you are down, your margin of error is less."

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