Allen: Free throw king?

  • Friday, March 26, 2004 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Portland Trail Blazers

When: 7 p.m.

Where: The Rose Garden, Portland, Ore.

TV: KONG (Ch. 6/16)

Radio: KJR (950 AM)

Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Rashard Lewis (6 feet, 10 inches) and Reggie Evans (6-8), center Vitaly Potapenko (6-10), guards Brent Barry (6-6) and Ray Allen (6-5). For Portland – forwards Darius Miles (6-9) and Zach Randolph (6-9), center Theo Ratliff (6-10), guards Derek Anderson (6-5) and Damon Stoudamire (5-10).

Next game: Seattle at Denver, 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Among Ray Allen’s career goals is this one – he wants to lead the NBA in free throw percentage for a season.

“No question about it,” said Allen, who has never been a free throw league leader, though he came close last season. Allen shadowed New York’s Alan Houston for most of the season before finishing second at .916 to Houston’s .919.

This season, Allen is at .905 (heading into Friday’s game) and is fourth in the league to Sacramento’s Peja Stojakovic (.920), Dallas’ Steve Nash (.916) and Houston (.913).

Allen knows exactly where he ranks and he figures the others do, too.

“And as much as I’m paying attention to it, Alan Houston is watching the stats, Steve Nash is watching the stats and Peja Stojakovic is watching the stats,” Allen said. “We know when each other misses a free throw. I remember one time when (Portland’s) Derek Anderson was No. 1 when I was in Milwaukee, and he missed three in a row and I was behind him going, ‘Yes!’ Because then I moved on top.”

Allen would also like to finish in the NBA’s all-time top 10 for career free throw percentage, which means he just has to hold his current spot. Allen is seventh at .884 percent, trailing Mark Price (.904), Rick Barry (.900), Calvin Murphy (.892), Scott Skiles (.889), Reggie Miller (.886) and Larry Bird (.886). Aside from Allen, only Miller is still active.

Right blend: Sonics coach Nate McMillan has used 17 different starting lineups this season, searching for a competitive opening lineup. With Seattle taking a six-game winning streak into Friday’s game, he thinks he has found the right five.

“Those guys have a lineup they can trust,” he said. “All those guys have come together and played well at both ends of the floor.”

Heading into Friday’s game, the lineup of guards Allen and Brent Barry, center Vitaly Potapenko, and forwards Rashard Lewis and Reggie Evans had not started together until a March 13 game in Orlando, the start of the winning streak.

Rich Myhre

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