for this game

Hamilton, Pistons keep young Sonics winless

Nov 12, 2007 - 5:40 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- The young Seattle SuperSonics have had problems closing out games. But in this one, they started off all wrong.

Richard Hamilton had a season-high 32 points as the Detroit Pistons nearly squandered an early 23-point lead, but hung on to beat the winless SuperSonics, 107-103, on Sunday night.

Seattle, which has lost its first seven games, set a franchise record for futility to start a season. However, the inexperienced Sonics have been in almost every game, but have yet to show an ability to execute down the stretch.

They erased a 23-point first-half deficit when Kurt Thomas nailed a jumper with 2:32 left to tie the game at 99-99. But the veteran Pistons responded as Rasheed Wallace and Hamilton nailed back-to-back jumpers to give their team a four-point advantage - securing the victory.

"We played a lot of good minutes, but unfortunately, we played 12 horrible ones," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "It was too big a hole against too good a team.

"Our guys play hard. One thing we do is really compete. There weren't too many people who thought when we were down 23 points that the game would be tied with a minute or two to go in the game."

Thomas, acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Suns in the offseason, made his first appearance this season in the first quarter. The 12-year veteran missed the team's first six games with a strained right hamstring, but contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.

"I thought Kurt Thomas was huge for them," Detroit coach Flip Saunders said. "He changed the whole complexion of the game."

Hamilton shot 11-of-21 from the field, including 3-of-6 from the arc for Detroit.

Seattle came back to cut its deficit to to eight points, 81-73, heading into the fourth quarter. The Sonics then went on a 9-5 run to start the final period to come within four with 9:07 left. Wally Szczerbiak contributed five points in the run.

But Seattle's effort was really sparked by rookie Jeff Green's 13-point effort in the second quarter, which ignited a 20-9 run as the Sonics ended the half trailing by just 12 points.

"We didn't close out the first half," Saunders said. "We got up 23 with five minutes to go and went to our bench down the stretch and gave them their confidence and let them back in the game. This is a young team that's talented, plays hard and doesn't quit and they are going to keep on coming."

Seattle trailed at the end of the first quarter, 35-20, as Detroit shot a blistering 64 percent in the period. Hamilton scored 10 of his 16 first-half points in the first 12 minutes.

"We kind of let them back in the game," Hamilton said. "They played with a lot of energy. When we've got a lead, we've got to try to extend it even more."

Rookie phenom Kevin Durant scored 19 points on 7-of-20 shooting for Seattle.

"I think we're being aggressive," said Durant, who is still seeking his first win as a pro. "In the second half, we played with a lot of heart and much harder. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win, but I felt we played much better."

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