SEATTLE — Looking way back, Jerome James was glad he was cut by Sacramento. And now that he plays for Seattle, he was glad to help the SuperSonics beat the Kings in their playoff opener.

Ray Allen scored 28 points, James added 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and Reggie Evans had another 15 boards, leading Seattle to a 87-82 victory over the Kings late Saturday in Game 1 of the first-round series.

"Jerome was the key tonight," Sonics forward Rashard Lewis said. "He and Reggie Evans controlled the paint. Jerome was blocking shots all night. He was a big presence and he intimidated those guards when they went to the basket."

James played inspired. The center, who started his NBA career in Sacramento, has been inconsistent during his five seasons with the Sonics, but he had three blocked shots by halftime, and added two more early in the second half.

He finished with five blocks, and his work around the basket — eight offensive rebounds for both James and Evans — helped Seattle to a 51-44 rebounding advantage that proved to be huge.

But, no, James said he wasn't trying to prove a point.

"I have no ill will for the Sacramento Kings for cutting me in 1999," he said. "In fact, I'm thankful for it. They allowed me to grow as a player. It helped me gain the experience I needed in the NBA."

The Sonics blew a 21-point second-half lead but held on with big baskets in the closing seconds by Allen and James.

"Anytime you win I don't question it, especially in the playoffs," Allen said. "We did some things wrong. We'll watch and critique it tomorrow."

Cuttino Mobley scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half for the Kings. His jumper with 1:10 to play pulled Sacramento to 83-79, and he added a 3-pointer with 42.4 seconds to go to make it 83-82.

The Sonics answered, getting James open for a layup with 25 seconds to play after Antonio Daniels found him in the lane.

Sacramento went back to Mobley, who came off a screen by ex-Jazzman Greg Ostertag but missed a 3-point try from the right wing. Peja Stojakovic corralled the ball in the backcourt and fed Mike Bibby, but he put up an airball that ended Sacramento's chances.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday night in Seattle.