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Originally published Thursday, January 12, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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Sonics

Lewis to the rescue for Sonics; Allen ejected after tussle

Rashard Lewis flashed a smile as a graphic showing his stellar game flashed on the television screen in the Sonics locker room Wednesday...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Rashard Lewis flashed a smile as a graphic showing his stellar game flashed on the television screen in the Sonics locker room Wednesday night. But his sparkling effort wasn't the fireworks everyone was talking about after Seattle defeated the Orlando Magic 113-104 at KeyArena.

Lewis was already in pursuit of his season-high 45-point night when the normally reserved Ray Allen started body slamming opponents in the second quarter.

Beer splattered with 10:53 remaining in the half as Allen smashed Magic guard Keyon Dooling into fans seated courtside. Allen threw two punches and Dooling responded with at least two of his own before Magic forward Stacey Augmon pulled Allen away and Sonics forward Nick Collison reached into the fray to restrain Dooling.

Both retreated to their respective benches, awaiting the referees' ruling on the incident, but once Dooling learned of his flagrant foul and ejection, he bolted through the KeyArena concourse toward the Sonics locker room to allegedly meet up with Allen in the hall. He was again restrained, this time by two police officers and Sonics personnel, yet once Allen entered the hallway, Dooling started shouting expletives at the five-time All-Star and had to be pushed back toward the visitor's locker room.

Allen didn't stay after the game to speak to media, but spoke to Lewis at halftime.

"He got hit three or four times and then when [Dooling] pushed him to the floor, he kind of stood over him, so Ray said that was when he was pissed," said Lewis, who had already scored 12 points to help the Sonics build a 33-24 lead when the incident occurred. "You can only get hit so many times, and with the ref not making the call, he had to make his own call."

Dooling did egg on Allen throughout his brief 3 minutes, 44 seconds of first-half action. Dooling helped rip the ball away from Allen, leaving the Sonics guard sprawled on the court in a no-call turnover. Then Dooling popped Allen in the jaw after a rebound, busting his lip, but again there was no call. Allen just gave a disgusted look before passing the ball upcourt.

Finally, on a screen cut, Dooling pushed Allen into Sonics forward Damien Wilkins then shoulder-checked Allen to the court, standing over him while Sonics guard Ronald Murray was setting up a play at the top of the key. Allen responded by picking up Dooling and slamming him into the front-row seats and the fight ensued.

Neither player scored a field goal, with Allen scoring only one point on a free throw. He also had four assists in eight minutes played. Dooling registered one steal.

"Ray is a guy I look up to, a guy who has a good reputation," Dooling said after the game. "I'm one of the same kind of guys. Obviously, if I wouldn't have ever been hit with an [elbow] then I wouldn't have ever retaliated with an elbow ... ya know?"

Allen will most likely be suspended without pay for Friday's game against Miami for throwing closed-fist punches. The penalty will cost him $120,210.36 in salary per game missed, plus $1,000 for the ejection. Dooling likely will receive a similar penalty, his costing him $28,181.82 per game.

"I didn't think it would come to punches," Dooling said. "My paper [salary] ain't long like Ray's, so I definitely didn't want it to come to blows. It was just a mistake on both of our parts. I wish I could take it back."

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Lewis said he knew he had to be more aggressive once Allen was ejected, but his offense was effortless until he inched closer to his career-high mark of 50 points in the fourth quarter. Then, he was more antsy with his shot, but the Sonics overall were starting to settle into coach Bob Hill's system. Even guard Luke Ridnour had a breakout game, scoring a career-high 23 points with five assists.

"The way Rashard was playing, I was just feeding off him," said Ridnour, who helped the team improve to 2-3 under Hill, 15-20 overall.

Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or jevans@seattletimes.com

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