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Indiana at Seattle

Durant nets career-high 35 points as Sonics earn first home victory

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SEATTLE -- It took a 19-year-old with his entire array of skills on display, and the wily experience of a 35-year-old veteran to finally get the Seattle SuperSonics a victory at home.

An unlikely combo? Sure, especially since Kevin Durant keeps reminding Kurt Thomas he's old enough to be his dad.

"He calls me young fella, I call him old fella," Durant said.

Durant, the Sonics' teenage star, scored 22 of his career-high 35 points in the second half, Thomas grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds and the Sonics beat the Indiana Pacers 95-93 on Friday night, becoming the final NBA team to win at home.

Seattle was 0-7 at home and had lost 11 straight home games dating to last season. But Durant showed off the skills that made him the No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft, excelling in the closing minutes to help Seattle (3-14) snap a six-game skid and avoid the worst 17-game start in franchise history.

The 1967-68 Sonics started 2-14 as well, before winning their 17th game.

"Hopefully we got a little better and we can build on it," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said.

Durant made 12 of 20 shots and added five rebounds and three blocks. Seattle ran its offense through Durant in the closing minutes, and the youngster responded by either hitting key shots, finding open teammates or getting to the free-throw line.

Durant's only blemish was going 8-of-12 at the line, but Durant made them when they counted, hitting six of eight attempts in the final 2:35 as Seattle hung on.

"As long as he continued to go good, we were going to try and continue going to him," Carlesimo said.

Danny Granger led Indiana with 21 points, but the bigger concern for the Pacers was Jermaine O'Neal, who returned Friday night after missing the previous five games with a sore left knee.

O'Neal scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 27 minutes, but sat the final 2:19 after injuring his right shoulder setting a screen for Mike Dunleavy.

Afterward, O'Neal said he suffered a stinger, though he didn't consider it serious.

"I will be all right," O'Neal said. "They didn't feel comfortable putting me in the game at that point."

Added coach Jim O'Brien, "We want him in at the end of the game."

Granger hit just four of 18 shots, including a meaningless 3-pointer at the buzzer. Dunleavy added 14 and Shawne Williams scored 13. Indiana lost for just the second time in its last six games.

Durant's two free throws with 20.6 seconds left gave Seattle a 92-88 lead. Jamaal Tinsley scored on a baseline runner at the other end and Durant split his next two attempts to give Seattle a 93-90 lead with 12.6 seconds left.

Tinsley had a good look at a tying 3-pointer with five seconds left but it hit the rim and Durant grabbed the rebound. He then hit both free throw attempts to clinch the victory.

"Coach called my number tonight, and I tried to get to the free throw line and knock them down," Durant said.

Almost as impressive as Durant's performance, was Thomas controlling the interior. Sixteen of Thomas' 18 rebounds came at the defensive end as the Pacers managed just nine second-chance points.

"That still amazes me because he can't jump at all," Durant said with a chuckle.

While Thomas was doing yeoman's work, Durant was electrifying the crowd in the second half. Late in the third quarter, Durant swooped across the lane to block Williams' shot. He then hit the final two baskets of the period, the first on a crossover 18-footer, then spinning on Granger and swishing a 15-footer to give Seattle a 70-65 lead.

Indiana chipped away, pulling even at 77-all on Dunleavy's fastbreak dunk with 6:18 left. Seattle then scored the next six points, capped by Durant's 3-pointer in front of the Pacers bench for a 83-77 lead with 4:44 left.

Indiana pulled to 83-81, before Durant's third 3-pointer gave Seattle a five-point advantage with less than three minutes remaining. Seven of Seattle's final nine points came at the free throw line, the only basket coming on a Damien Wilkins layup off a perfect pass by Durant.

"He has a chance to be in the same conversation as Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James," O'Neal said of Durant. "He is going to be a great thing for this league."

David Harrison picked up for O'Neal's rustiness, adding 10 in a reserve role. Jeff Foster grabbed 14 rebounds and O'Neal had 10. Tinsley finished with 10 assists.

Notes

  • Indiana played without reserve G Marquis Daniels, who had a sore left knee.
  • Seattle C Robert Swift is still weeks away from rejoining the active roster. Swift has been sidelined with knee and foot problems and will spend the next few weeks doing conditioning and working on losing a few pounds before resuming extensive basketball action.
  • Seattle's last home win March 30 of last season against Memphis.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Kevin Durant drains a career-best 35 points as the Sonics finally win at home.  (Getty Images)
Kevin Durant drains a career-best 35 points as the Sonics finally win at home. (Getty Images)

Scoreboard
Indiana (8-9) 2424172893
Seattle (3-14) «2227212595
IND:D. Granger 21 Pts
IND:J. Foster 14 Reb
IND:J. Tinsley 10 Ast
SEA:K. Durant 35 Pts
SEA:K. Thomas 18 Reb
SEA:E. Watson 11 Ast
Players of the Game
SeattleIndiana

K. Durant

D. Granger
PtsRebsAstPtsRebsAst
35522170
Indiana
D. Granger, SF414-1812-1570321
J. Tinsley, PG382-61-211016
M. Dunleavy, SG346-150-054214
J. O'Neal, PF274-104-4102312
J. Foster, C234-70-014228
T. Murphy, C244-130-06329
D. Harrison, C185-90-110510
S. Williams, SF174-104-630113
K. Rush, SG80-20-00010
T. Diener, PG60-10-01000
A. Owens, SG40-10-00010
M. Daniels, SGDid Not Play
I. Diogu, PFDid Not Play
S. Graham, SFDid Not Play
C. Sims, CDid Not Play
Totals 33-9221-2848212193
 35.9%75.0% 
Seattle
K. Durant, SF4012-208-1252435
D. Wilkins, SG333-123-432110
C. Wilcox, PF324-104-692412
K. Thomas, PF292-80-018034
D. West, SG212-40-03505
E. Watson, PG272-50-031124
J. Green, SF236-110-050312
W. Szczerbiak, SF201-64-44117
J. Petro, C153-60-05036
R. Swift, CDid Not Play
L. Ridnour, PGDid Not Play
N. Collison, CDid Not Play
M. Gelabale, SFDid Not Play
M. Sene, CDid Not Play
Totals 35-8219-2655232295
 42.7%73.1% 
Other Games
Wash 84 Final
Phi 85
Cle 82 Final
Tor 91
NO 92 Final
Atl 86
Mil 88 Final
NY 91
Bos 95 Final
Mia 85
SA 106 Final
Min 91
Port 80 Final
Dal 91
Orl 106 Final
Pho 110
LAL 96 Final
Utah 120
LAC 107 Final
Den 123