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Durant's career-high 35 powers Sonics to first home win

Dec 1, 2007 - 7:54 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Having nearly lost as many games at home in his rookie season as he did overall in his lone campaign in college, Kevin Durant wasn't about to let the Seattle SuperSonics go down easily at Key Arena yet again.

Durant scored a career-high 35 points to power the Sonics to their first home win of the season, 95-93, over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

After losing just 10 times in 35 games in his one season at Texas, Durant has seen Seattle drop its first seven contests at home. Overall, the Sonics had lost 11 straight games at Key Arena and were off to their slowest start since 1967-68 before Durant's dominant performance.

Seattle was able to expand its three-point third-quarter advantage to 75-67 with 9:41 remaining, but Indiana was able to even the game up just three minutes later with an 10-2 run to knot the game at 77-77 at the 6:22 mark.

From that point on, Durant scored 13 of his 14 fourth-quarter points over the final 4:45 to power the Sonics to victory. Durant's first six points of that stretch came on two 3-pointers that helped expand the lead to 86-81 at the 2:57 mark of the final quarter.

"Everybody on our team wants to be aggressive," Durant said when asked about his role as the go-to guy. "Whoever coach calls a play for, we're willing to go up and put aside what we want to do and try to get the win. Coach called my number tonight, and I tried to get to the free-throw line and knock them down."

With the Pacers trailing, 90-84, with 57 seconds remaining, Indiana nearly stole the contest from the Sonics on the back of Jamaal Tinsley, who scored all six of his points in the final 54 seconds to trim the Pacers' deficit to 92-90 with 13 seconds left in the game.

Durant, who went 7-of-10 at the free-throw line over the last 2:34, was able to fend off Indiana with his last three free throws over the last few seconds of the game to seal the win.

"Kevin Durant is an amazing player," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said. "He's 6-10 with a 7-foot wingspan. He's very, very quick."

"Offensively, I thought he was doing a good job, but then he had a bit of a lull (this season)," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said of his budding star. "But now he's up-and-up again. He's learning. People are coming at him hard and double-teaming him. He's going to see more of that and he's going to get better at seeing the floor."

The 6-10 forward made 12-of-20 from the field and added five rebounds and three blocks while fellow rookie Jeff Green added 12 points for Seattle. Kurt Thomas grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds.

"Sometimes, the ball just bounces your way," Thomas said. "I couldn't hit a shot, so I had to do something."

Center Jermaine O'Neal returned to the Pacers' lineup after missing the previous five games with soreness in his left knee. He finished with 14 points and made 6-of-15 shots before sitting out the final 2:19 of the game with an apparent right arm injury.

Danny Granger scored 21 points for the Pacers, who lost for the first time in their four-game West Coast trip that concludes Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

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