|NBA: Seattle Sonics at Los Angeles Clippers Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Sunday, 04 November 2007 02:13|
Off to a Good Start
Kevin Durant already has shown glimpses of a bright future for the Seattle SuperSonics. Too bad the city's fans might not get to see him much longer.
Two days after their owner said he plans to permanently move the franchise out of town, the SuperSonics look for Durant to continue his solid start as they go for their first win of the season Sunday in a matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Oddsmakers from Bodog.com have made Los Angeles -6.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 211.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Los Angeles -6.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
Sonics owner Clay Bennett announced Friday he will file with the NBA to relocate the team to Oklahoma City next season. Without plans in the offering to replace KeyArena, Bennett does not feel the need to keep the franchise in Seattle any longer than necessary.
"This has been developing. These dates have all been made clear for a long time," Bennett said. "While all of us would prefer to find an answer in Seattle, we cannot stay without a new building."
Bennett watched Thursday's home opener knowing the decision was soon to come, even with fans chanting "Save our Sonics!" during the game.
The owner got to see why his team could remain a good draw this season, and in many future years wherever it ends up.
Durant, the No. 2 pick in June's draft, scored 27 points as Seattle (0-2) lost 106-99 to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday. The 6-foot-9 swingman had 18 points by halftime, the same total he finished with in a season-opening loss to the Denver Nuggets.
"Late in the game they really focused on him," first-year Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We need to do a better job of getting him better shots ... I'm pretty proud of a 19-year-old playing his second NBA game."
Durant played 39 minutes, but sat for all but the final minute of Phoenix's 19-8 run that turned a third-quarter, three-point Seattle lead into a four-point deficit early in the fourth. Carlesimo said he was concerned about overextending the rookie after he played 32 minutes in the opener.
"Sometimes you go back with him too soon and he's out of gas at the end," Carlesimo said. "I was trying to get a point to let him finish the game. ... I don't think the last two plays late were caused by fatigue."
The 19-year-old rookie committed two of his six turnovers in the final three minutes. He shot 11-for-23 from the field Thursday, an improvement from his 7-for-22 performance against Denver, and grabbed five rebounds for the second straight game.
Durant is the leading scorer for a Seattle team which is looking to avoid its worst start since opening 0-3 in the 1985-86 season. The Sonics have lost eight straight dating back to last season.
The Clippers got their season off to a much better start on Friday, beating the visiting Golden State Warriors 120-114.
Chris Kaman scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, showing he could provide the Clippers with needed production up front with star forward Elton Brand (Achilles') sidelined indefinitely. Kaman averaged 10.1 points and 7.8 rebounds last season, but never scored more than 20 points in a game.
"I just played with energy and was fortunate to be in a position where the ball was coming to me," said Kaman, who shot 9-of-19 from the field and 8-of-9 at the free-throw line.
The 7-foot center missed significant time in the third quarter to get stitches to close a cut above his left eye, but the Clippers had plenty of other offensive weapons with six players scoring in double figures, including reserves Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas combining for 41 points.
Kaman scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, including three free throws in the final 16 seconds to ice the game.
"Chris was terrific tonight," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy said. "He really controlled the paint ... He needs to get hit in the head every night, I guess."
Kaman helped the Clippers to a 53-36 rebounding advantage, but they may have a tougher time dominating the glass against a Sonics team which has outrebounded its first two opponents.
Seattle and Los Angeles split four meetings last season.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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