Swift hurts knee, Watson loses teeth, but Sonics win

SEATTLE (AP) -- Robert Swift, who is supposed to be the Seattle
SuperSonics' starting center next Wednesday night in their regular
season opener, finished his team's final preseason home game on
crutches with a sprained right knee.

And backup point guard Earl Watson of the Sonics lost two teeth
when he was hit in the mouth by Kevin Martin's elbow in the fourth

But the Sonics, getting 16 points from Rashard Lewis and 15
points and eight assists from Luke Ridnour, beat the Sacramento
Kings 103-88.

The Sonics had seven players finish in double figures, with
reserve Nick Collison scoring 15 points.

Martin led the Kings with 22 points and Ronnie Price added 15.
Martin had a cut on his left elbow after the game.

The Sonics lost Swift only 1:17 into the game when he went out
of bounds awkwardly in front of Seattle's bench. He was taken
immediately to the locker room and did not return. The team said
Swift would have an MRI on Thursday.

Coach Bob Hill announced this week that the 7-foot-1 Swift, a
three-year veteran, would be the Sonics' opening night center.
Swift started 20 games last season.

With Swift out, the Sonics started Johan Petro at center in the
second half. Hill said Petro will be his starting center if Swift
is sidelined.

Swift was injured attempting to retrieve a loose ball.

"He was trying to stay inbounds and lost his balance," Hill
said of Swift's injury. "Obviously, it's going to be a setback for

"I went to jump, but my right leg didn't jump with me," Swift

After leading 53-43 at halftime, the Sonics broke the game open
in the third quarter, with Lewis leading the way with 10 points,
including two 3-pointers in the first 1:59 that put his team ahead
61-43. Ridnour had seven points and six assists in the third

Seattle led 78-59 going into the fourth. Sacramento got within
86-78 with 6:41 left.

In addition, Lewis played a strong defensive game against the
Kings' Ron Artest, who shot 6-for-18 for 14 points in 35 minutes.

"If we can keep Rashard defending like he did tonight, we'll be
in good shape," Hill said.

Watson came off the court with 8:21 to go after going down near
the Sonics bench when he was hit by Martin's elbow.

"I'm OK," he said.

But Hill said neither Watson nor Swift will travel to Spokane
for Thursday night's final preseason game, against Golden State.

The Kings played their second consecutive preseason game without
Mike Bibby, who has an injured thumb. Price started in place of

"Without Mike, it's going to be a constant work in progress,
there's no question about that," Sacramento coach Eric Musselman

A crowd of 11,887 was on hand at the Key Arena on Wednesday, a
day after NBA owners unanimously approved the sale of the franchise
to a group headed by Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett. Hill
said before the game that he expects Bennett to be at the Seattle
opener against Portland next Wednesday.

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