The Sonics continued to flourish with their new look. When they dealt all-time leading scorer Gary Payton and Desmond Mason to Milwaukee at the trading deadline last week, most observers felt they had gotten the short end of the deal.
Seattle received Allen, reserve guard Kevin Ollie, and rookie guard Ron Murray in what appeared to be a step toward rebuilding.
However, Allen has breathed new life into the Sonics, while the Bucks have struggled since the trade. After Seattle beat Milwaukee by 30 points as all of the traded players sat out, the Sonics have won two of three, while the Bucks have lost two of three.
Allen believes Payton's powerful persona may have been been holding back some of the Sonics.
"There were a lot of guys on this team now that were looking to make positive contributions," Allen said. "I think that's the way Gary's personality was. He was so demonstrative that a lot of guys didn't step up to that. Now, it's a little more carefree around here. Guys can play basketball a little more than they were doing before."
"This is a trade that had to take place," Ollie said. "I think it's good for Ray's career especially, a change of scenery. I think the trade is working out in our benefit now."
Both players see some of the problems the trade has created for their old team.
"Milwaukee's going to assess the trade next year," Allen said. "This is going to be a long-term thing. There's a lot of things they have to correct as a team."
"They are getting a bunch of points, but they aren't stopping anybody," Ollie said.
"Everybody seems to be on the same page and in the flow," said Sonics Coach Nate McMillan. "Right now we are just doing a good job of playing solid team, fundamental basketball."
Ollie had eight points and three assists in a reserve role.
Atlanta was held below 80 points for the eighth time this season.
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