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Smith carries Bulls to rare West Coast road win

Feb 5, 2008 - 7:07 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- It has been a while, but the Chicago Bulls finally had some success on the West Coast.

Joe Smith had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Ben Gordon scored 20 off the bench as the Bulls posted a 118-108 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics on Monday night.

It was Chicago's first road win against a Western Conference opponent since defeating the Los Angeles Clippers by 19 points on November 17 at the Staples Center - a span of six games.

"It was a total team effort," Bulls interim coach Jim Boylan said. "We had some unbelievable performances, especially on the offensive boards. We had 26 second-chance points, and Ben Wallace was all over the offensive glass."

The Bulls held an impressive 50-35 edge on the boards with 23 coming on the offensive glass. "It seemed like every time a shot went up we had three or four guys crashing the offensive boards," Boylan said.

Monday's win also gave the Bulls the first triumph on their current six-game tour of the West Coast which concludes at Portland, Golden State and Utah.

"I think we've actually had some better games on the road than we've had at home," Boylan said. "I think our guys respond when we get out there."

Kirk Hinrich netted 15 points and Wallace chipped in 10 boards, seven assists and three steals for Chicago, which shot 45 percent (44-of-96) from the floor.

Hinrich suffered bruised left ribs with 6:10 remaining, and remained in Seattle overnight for some tests.

Seattle went ahead for the first time on Luke Ridnour's jumper with 10:08 left in the second quarter to make it 30-29. But the Bulls battled back as Smith scored six of his 14 first-half points to forge a 56-49 at the break.

Wally Szczerbiak, who had missed the last two games with a bad ankle, came off the bench to contribute 14 points through the first two periods. He finished with 21 on 6-of-12 shooting.

The Sonics scored five quick points to open the second half to close within two, but the Bulls responded with a 13-5 run that was highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers by Andres Nocioni to create a 69-59 edge with 6:57 left in the third.

Gordon's three-point play helped Chicago extend its lead to 88-75 with 10:41 remaining to cool off Seattle, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

"For whatever reason, they took it to us," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "They executed on offense and annihilated us on the boards. We got outplayed at every position. They out-quicked us."

No. 2 overall pick Kevin Durant collected 20 points and three steals for the Sonics, who had six players in double figures in scoring.

"Rebounding was the deciding factor in the game," Durant said. "A couple of times when the shot clock was running down we played great 'D,' but they got the rebound. Things like that hurt you."

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