LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Clippers got their first look at Seattle rookie Kevin Durant and were quite impressed. The Seattle SuperSonics got the full impact of the Clippers new running game and were bowled over.
Thomas finished with 20 points, Cuttino Mobley added 17 and Chris Kaman had 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who were coming off a season-opening 120-114 win against Golden State on Friday night. They started out a franchise-record 6-0 at home last year before the Sonics snapped that streak with a 95-85 victory.
"We're capable of playing an up-tempo game. We just want to establish it to play the right way and win ballgames," Maggette said. "We need to get the ball to open guys and make some shots. And we've been doing that the past couple of games."
The Clippers entered the fourth quarter with a two-point lead and stretched it to 94-82 with 6:60 remaining. Mobley and Dan Dickau drained 3-pointers 31 seconds apart during the 16-6 run, which Mobley capped with a dunk off an offensive rebound. Seattle had only six points in the first 6:12 of the final quarter, all by Wally Szczerbiak, who finished with 13.
Thomas, who set a franchise record last season with 356 3-point baskets, hit his third in a row to make it 109-92 with 2:43 to play and put the game out of reach.
"Anytime you have Chris Kaman and myself on the floor, Chris is the type of guy who can score on anybody on a one-on-one situation. So with their two bigs being out there, the one guarding me pretty much has to pick his poison," Thomas said. "Nine times out of 10, they always run to defend the paint and that's when I get open. So we're going to get a good look."
Durant led Seattle with 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 23 points and 36.3 minutes through his first three NBA games.
"We felt from the beginning he would play a lot and play big minutes, and that's the way it's evolving," coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "He's going to have the same trials and tribulations that all rookies have. The difference is, he's going to get more meaningful minutes than most rookies get in this league. He's going to have nights where he's going to look unbelievable for a 19-year-old, and others where he's going to look like a rookie."
The Clippers used Quinton Ross, Mobley and Maggette at different times to try and defend against Durant's perimeter shooting. He was 10-for-19 from the field, connecting three times from 3-point range.
"He's got a nice stroke and he banged down some shots," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "On most of the jump shots he made, there were guys there. But they just didn't play him aggressively enough because they didn't know he had that kind of trigger and that kind of range. What I like most about his game is his ability to make plays. He showed a lot of savvy out there for a rookie."
This is the first time the Sonics have started out 0-3 since 1985-86. It's also the Sonics' first season since 2001-02 without All-Star Ray Allen, who led them in scoring for five straight seasons before he was traded to Boston on draft night in the deal that brought Szczerbiak to Seattle.
"We're getting better, but getting better and winning basketball games are two different things," Carlesimo said. "We have to learn to play a bigger chunk of the 48 minutes and we need to close out games -- which we haven't done yet. We're still a work in progress and we understand that, but we want to win while we try and get better."
- Seattle's worst start was 0-6 in 1969-70 under player-coach Lenny Wilkens, who would end up as the winningest coach in NBA history.
- Carlesimo, in his first season as Seattle's coach, spent three with Portland and never started 0-3. But in his three seasons with Golden State, the Warriors opened up 0-9, 0-5 and 0-4.
- Durant, the first freshman honored as national college player of the year, has a chance to become the first player in the Sonics' 41-year history to be named NBA rookie of the year. Gary Payton lost out to New Jersey's Derrick Coleman in 1990-91.