EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- By the time the Seattle SuperSonics had improved the NBA's best record to 8-1, no more than 2,000 people remained in the arena. Perhaps they were simply too stunned by the poor play to join the 10,000 folks who had the good sense to leave early. Seattle played its worst offensive game of the season Wednesday night yet still won its eighth in a row, defeating the New Jersey Nets 79-68 in a game with little, if any, aesthetic appeal. "I thought it was one of the ugliest games that I've ever been a part of," Seattle's Ray Allen said. "New Jersey just made us play an ugly game. Richard (Jefferson) came up to me during the game and said, 'Man this is an ugly game,' and I was saying we were playing ugly, too. He said, `Yeah, but we made you guys play ugly." Despite starting the first half 0-for-10 and the second half 0-for-8, the Sonics scored on seven consecutive possessions down the stretch against a Nets team that had more fouls (29) than field goals (26) and committed 23 turnovers. Rashard Lewis scored 17 points and Allen, Danny Fortson and Vladimir Radmanovic added 14 each as Seattle improved to 2-0 on a six-game, 10-day road trip. "Coming in here back-to-back against New Jersey with no Jason Kidd had letdown written all over it," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "It was more of a gut check tonight." Jefferson had 20 points, and Travis Best scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter for the Nets as they lost their fourth in a row. Seattle began the night leading the NBA in 3-point accuracy and ranked third in scoring, but those attributes were largely absent against an opponent ranked last in the league in offense and first in turnovers. "Turnovers have pretty much been the story every game," Nets center Alonzo Mourning said. "I'm part of the story. I accounted for seven." The Sonics also had nearly as many fouls (23) as field goals (26). Neither team reached 50 points until Lewis hit a 3-pointer with 1:24 left in the third quarter to make it 51-44. The Nets finally got to the 50-point plateau 2½ minutes into the fourth, pulling to 55-50 on a layup by Jefferson. Best single-handedly kept the Nets within striking distance by making three straight baskets and a pair of foul shots midway through the fourth quarter. Jefferson's two free throws cut Seattle's lead to 64-60 with 3:13 left, but Lewis answered with a 3-pointer to begin the string of seven consecutive possessions ending in scores. "All night we weren't in any type of rhythm offensively, but the main thing was we continued to play defense and keep the score to where we had a chance to win at the end of the ballgame," Lewis said. One night after matching a team record with 18 3-pointers, Seattle went 5-for-15 from behind the arc. The Nets were 0-for-7 on 3s.
Mourning and Fortson got rather physical with each other during a stretch of the second quarter, with Fortson turning to yell at Mourning after going to the bench with his third foul. "I lost a lot of respect for him. I love the guy because he came back from the kidney thing, but he was basically trying to get me in trouble tonight," Fortson said of Mourning, who is making a comeback after receiving a kidney transplant. ... Seattle is 4-0 vs. teams from the Eastern Conference. ... The Sonics won in New Jersey for the first time in four years. ... Defended primarily by Jefferson, Allen was held below 20 points for the first time this season. ... The Nets have had point totals in the 60s three times this season. They scored in the 60s four times in the entire 2003-04 season. ... Kidd, recovering from knee surgery, said he is pain-free and expects to begin practicing in December.