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Friday, February 20, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Sonics
Notebook: Ex-teammate Thomas threatens to choke Allen

By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter

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What is it about Ray Allen that provokes his former teammates into making violent threats against the Sonics' guard?

First it was Glenn Robinson, with whom he shared the court in Milwaukee, who threatened bodily harm after comments Allen made years ago.

The two squashed their apparent feud, as evidenced by last night's embrace at half court before the game against Philadelphia.

But halfway across the country, Tim Thomas, another former Allen teammate in Milwaukee, told reporters in New York that he would choke Allen when he saw him again.

Apparently, the newest Knick is bothered by comments Allen made at the All-Star Game. Reporters asked Allen why Thomas didn't thrive in Milwaukee.

Allen candidly responded, which caused Thomas to return the verbal assault.

"The years when we first got in the playoffs in Indiana, those guys were lost," Thomas told the reporters. "Sam (Cassell) and Glenn, too. Those guys were nowhere to be found. And that's why I got paid — bottom line.

"They were supposed to be the Big Three, but they didn't exactly turn into the Big Three when the big-time action came around, which is the playoffs. Being All-Star caliber may mean a lot, but people look at what you do in the playoffs to judge you, and they didn't show."

Cassell telephoned Allen when he read Thomas' comments on the Internet, and the two shared a laugh.

"All I said was, Tim didn't produce in time for Milwaukee, and that's why he got traded," Allen said last night. "They expected so much more out of him, and he didn't give it to them."
 
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Allen said he didn't take the threat seriously.

"If the guy can't take somebody saying the truth about him, then what are you?" Allen said. "You just want yes-men around you all day long? That's what it seems like he wants, yes-men to say, 'Tim you're great. You're doing this and that.'

"Nah, that's not the case. Tim was getting paid $10 million a year, and he's only averaging 13 points a game. That's not good enough. I don't care how you look at it. I think he got in the New York media, and he tried to make excuses for everything he didn't do right."

Player of the game: Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson finished with 40 points, 11 assists and five steals.

Play of the game: Midway through the second quarter, Luke Ridnour lofted a pass toward the left side of the rim as he crossed midcourt. Rashard Lewis streaked through the lane, retrieved the ball in the air with both hands and flushed a dunk with his right hand for a 38-35 Sonics lead.

Turning point: The Sonics narrowed their deficit to 85-80 midway through the fourth quarter, but Philadelphia scored four quick points to move ahead by nine points. Seattle never seriously threatened again.

Next: Golden State, 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at The Arena in Oakland, Calif.

Dirty talk

Quietly around the NBA, they're whispering about San Antonio's Bruce Bowen and asking the question: Is he a dirty player?

The discussion took place in the Sonics' locker room last night, a day after Bowen was involved in a play that led to Toronto's Vince Carter spraining his ankle. The All-Star guard is expected to miss the next four weeks.

Television replays showed Bowen slid his foot beneath Carter as Carter leaped for a jump shot. When Carter descended, his foot landed awkwardly on Bowen's foot.

"I don't think he (Bowen) did it intentionally," Allen said. "That's just the way that Bruce plays."

Still, Allen believes Bowen's defensive tactics cross the line.

Allen recounted: "When we were at the All-Star Game, Tim Duncan asked me, and we were in front of Peja (Stojakovic, Sacramento), and he asked me, 'Is Bruce Bowen dirty?' I said, 'Hell, yeah, he's dirty.' And Peja was like, 'I don't think so ... well, sometimes.'

"I was like, 'The only reason you say that is because you're catching it and shooting it. He doesn't have a chance to put his hands up on you.' And Tim was like, 'Yeah, maybe you have a point.' ... He knows. The whole league knows about Bruce."

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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