Goning to Need The D

Dreadful defense once again hurt the Seattle SuperSonics in their latest loss. Getting back on track likely won't be easy against one of the best offensive teams in the NBA.

After giving up the highest point total in the NBA in more than 17 years while suffering their eighth straight defeat, the Sonics look to snap their skid on Wednesday when they host the streaking Phoenix Suns.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Phoenix -11 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 227 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 92% of bets for this game have been placed on Phoenix -11 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Seattle (16-51) has fallen into last place in the Western Conference with their eight-game losing streak, which continued on Sunday when the Sonics were blown out 168-116 at Denver. The Nuggets' point total was the third-largest ever in a regulation game, and the largest overall since Phoenix scored 173 in a victory over Denver on Nov. 10, 1990.

Sunday's game also marked the largest margin of defeat in the Sonics' 41-season history.

Bouncing back from that type of performance could be a challenge against the Suns (45-22), who are the second-highest scoring team in the league with 110.0 points per game.

Phoenix has averaged 117.4 points during a five-game win streak that has quieted some of the doubts about the Suns' ability to integrate recent acquisition Shaquille O'Neal into their run-and-gun offense. The team struggled initially, but appears to have hit its stride, using the win streak to improve to 8-6 since O'Neal's Suns debut.

"We're coming together, playing unselfishly and I'm getting more comfortable," the 36-year-old O'Neal said after Phoenix beat Portland 111-98 on Tuesday night. "I'm feeling better and getting more used to the guys."

The Suns haven't won six straight since their season-high eight-game run from Nov. 9-23, but they hope a meeting with the Sonics can help them keep their streak alive and improve their position in the tight playoff race. They're currently the fifth seed in the West, but the top nine teams in the conference are separated by only six games.

Seattle has given up at least 100 points in 13 straight games, and is 1-12 in that stretch. The Sonics, though, are determined to overcome Sunday's embarrassment.

"Once it's over, it's over," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo told the Sonics' official Web site. "You don't forget about it, but you don't dwell on it either. We can carry it forward or we can put it behind us. I think we'll put it behind us."

Rookie guard Kevin Durant is equally confident that Seattle can bounce back.

"That was very tough to handle, but we put that behind us," he said. "We came in today and had one of our best practices of the year. We practiced very hard, competed all practice. That's something we needed to do to build up for tomorrow against the same type of team. I think we'll be alright."

Seattle has held Phoenix below its season scoring average in each of the teams' first three meetings, giving up an average of 104.3 points in those games.

The Suns, however, have won all of those contests and are one victory away from their first season series sweep of the Sonics since they won all three meetings during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

Durant totaled 55 points and 12 rebounds in his first two games against Phoenix, but was held to nine points and one rebound while going 2-for-12 from the field in the Sonics' 103-99 loss on Feb. 8.

Suns forward Amare Stoudemire had 33 points and 10 rebounds in that game, and is averaging 30.0 points and 10.7 boards against the Sonics.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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