SEATTLE - Antonio Daniels made his free throws, and his former team didn't. Now the Seattle SuperSonics have seized the momentum in their series against the San Antonio Spurs.
Ray Allen scored 20 points despite shooting 0-for-6 in the final period and Vitaly Potapenko forced Tim Duncan into a missed 4-footer at the horn, lifting the Sonics to a 92-91 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
The Sonics pulled to 2-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Sunday in Seattle.
Daniels, a reserve guard, scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and added eight rebounds while going 12-for-12 from the foul line. He made four of his free throws in the fourth quarter, when San Antonio went 8-for-16 from the line.
So what was on his mind each time he stepped to the line?
"Absolutely nothing," said Daniels, who played on San Antonio's 1999 NBA championship team. "Just knock it down. The more you think, the harder the free throw becomes. I wasn't thinking about much."
Jerome James scored 15 points on 7-for-7 shooting and Rashard Lewis had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Seattle.
The Spurs, meanwhile, went without a field goal during the final 4:27, making just four of 10 free throws in that span. They shot 55.9 percent (19-for-34) from the line, including 8-for-16 in the fourth period.
"Our performance at the free-throw line was a single-handed great way to lose a game," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said.
The Sonics did everything they needed to win.
They had more defensive energy than they showed while losing the first two games of the series by double digits in Texas. They had only 11 turnovers and kept speedy Spurs guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili from dismantling them.
"We didn't want to give up anything easy, and they missed some free throws," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "I felt we got a break there. Defensively, this is the time of the season you don't want to give up layups. We made them earn it."
Parker and Ginobili each scored 18, but the Sonics made sure they weren't able to penetrate as effectively as Game 1, when Parker had 29 points, and Game 2, when Ginobili scored 28.
"They were tougher. They were more physical. They were desperate," Ginobili said. "That made them play with more determination."
Duncan had 23 points with 11 rebounds, and four blocked shots on the day he was selected to the NBA's All-Defensive team for the sixth straight year.
It wasn't enough to carry the Spurs, whose six-game playoff winning streak was snapped.