NBA: Utah Jazz at Seattle Sonics Preview & Picks Print
Written by Anthony Rome   
Friday, 09 November 2007 13:00
NBA Headline News

Utah Heads to Seattle

Kevin Durant and the rebuilding Seattle SuperSonics had to expect some growing pains. They weren't, however, expecting to set a franchise record for futility less than two weeks into the season.

Durant looks to help the Sonics avoid matching the longest winless start in team history on Friday when they host the Utah Jazz in a Northwest Division matchup.

Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Utah -6 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 214 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 86% of bets for this game have been placed on Utah –6 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Seattle (0-5) underwent a major roster overhaul in the offseason, trading its top two scorers - Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis - and selecting Durant with the second overall pick in June's draft. The roster shakeup, in addition to the arrivals of general manager Sam Presti and coach P.J. Carlesimo, improved the team's long-term outlook, but the young club appeared a few years away from contention.

Despite coming into the season with manageable expectations, the Sonics have disappointed by going 0-5 for just the second time since the team began play in 1967. A loss on Friday would match the franchise-worst 0-6 start from the 1969-70 season.

Durant is the only rookie in the league with a double-figure scoring average at 22.6 points per game, but his shooting has been inconsistent. He was 7-for-22 from the field in his debut before shooting a combined 50 percent over his next three games, but was just 3-for-17 in Seattle's 105-98 home loss to Memphis on Wednesday.

"I hate to lose, basically," Durant said after scoring a season-low 17 points. "I don't care if it's an 82-game season and people say you have to lose - I hate to lose. Period."

Wednesday's defeat was the second game in as many nights - and third in four days - for Seattle. Getting used to an NBA schedule that is much busier than the one he had at the University of Texas has been a factor in Durant's struggles, Carlesimo said after the game.

"I think the three-in-four had something to do with it, the back-to-back had something to do with it. Some of it was the defense they played," Carlesimo said. "I'm saying this all the time: He's 19. He's five games into his career. There are veterans that have nights like this."

While Carlesimo isn't concerned about Durant's off-night, he might have reason to worry about the Sonics' defense. Seattle has given up 110.0 points per game, second-most in the NBA.

"We're learning. It's a hard way to learn," Carlesimo said. "We've going to start making some changes, looking at different rotations."

Even with defensive adjustments, the Sonics could struggle to contain the Jazz (3-2), who lead the league with 111.4 points per game.

Utah is coming off a 103-101 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday. The Cavaliers' LeBron James tied the game with a 3-pointer with 6 seconds remaining, but Deron Williams streaked downcourt and sank a layup with 1.3 seconds left to give the Jazz the win.

"We just get it and go. We find that works for us," said Williams, who had 15 points and 12 assists. "I think they felt we were going to call a timeout. They're looking back to see what we're doing and while they're doing that we're racing up the court."

Carlos Boozer had 23 points and 12 rebounds for the second straight contest, and has double-doubles in all five games this season.

Despite winning the Northwest Division last season and finishing 20 games ahead of last-place Seattle, the Jazz split their series against the Sonics. Two of the four games were decided by three points or fewer, and another went to overtime. Each team averaged 111.0 points in the series.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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