Kevin Durant scored 17 points, despite sitting the entire fourth quarter, and the Seattle SuperSonics never trailed in a 99-87 win over the ragged Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
A night after staging a second half rally and nearly shocking the Blazers in Portland, the Sonics left no question. Seattle got its usual performance from Durant, who mysteriously never saw the court in the final quarter, and some unlikely, needed contributions for a team adjusting to the loss of veterans Kurt Thomas and Wally Szczerbiak, both dealt before the trade deadline.
Chris Wilcox had 14 points, including four dunks, but it was points from Mickael Gelabale, Luke Ridnour and Damien Wilkins that made the difference.
Gelabale and Wilkins, likely to get a greater chunk of playing time with Szczerbiak in Cleveland, combined for 25 off the bench, while Ridnour scored seven of his 11 in the first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter as the Sonics turned away a brief Portland challenge.
Portland never seemed into this one, a possible hangover from Thursday night when the Blazers beat Seattle 92-88 but went the final 6 minutes without a field goal. LaMarcus Aldridge scored eight of Portland's first 10 points and finished with 23, but got little help otherwise. Travis Outlaw scored 18 of his 26 in the second half and Brandon Roy had 11 of his 19 in the fourth quarter, but those efforts were mostly for naught as Portland only briefly got within single-digits in the second half.
The Blazers have lost six of seven.
Perhaps most disappointed in the Blazers' effort was Roy, playing in his home town for the first time this year. Roy never got going until the fourth quarter, missing 13 of his 19 shots.
Blazers' coach Nate McMillan got so uninterested in his team's performance during the third quarter he spent a few moments chatting courtside with former Seattle teammate Steve Scheffler.
It was mostly Seattle's reserves that broke the game open in the second quarter, using a 15-6 run at the start of the period to take a 44-25 lead on Gelabale's two free throws, part of eight surprising points during the run from the seldom-used swingman.
The lead remained double-figures until the opening moments of the fourth when Outlaw capped a 13-3 spurt to pull the Blazers within nine points, at 71-62. But Jeff Green bullied the smaller Steve Blake for a basket, Gelabale added a short jumper over Joel Pryzbilla and a few jumpers from Ridnour pushed the Sonics' lead comfortably back to 18 with 7 minutes left.
Gelabale finished with 12 points and Wilkins had 13 for Seattle.
An MRI on the injured right knee of Seattle C Robert Swift revealed a torn meniscus. Swift sprained his right knee in Thursday's loss in Portland. Before learning the results, coach P.J. Carlesimo didn't sound optimistic. "I don't like to hear people say they heard something pop," he said. ... Newly acquired C Francisco Elson had — points in 11 minutes for Seattle.
Sonics topples Blazers