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Wilcox scores 19 to lead Sonics past Timberwolves

Dec 15, 2007 - 7:49 AM MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) -- It may not have been the most compelling matchup in the NBA, but the Seattle SuperSonics and Minnesota Timberwolves are offering glimpses of future promise.

Chris Wilcox scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the SuperSonics to a 99-88 victory over the Timberwolves on Friday night.

Rookie Kevin Durant had an off night but still managed 13 points for Seattle, which has now won two in a row for the third time this season. It has yet to make it three straight in the current campaign.

The Sonics and Timberwolves are at the bottom of the Northwest Division, stuck in year No. 1 of their respective rebuilding projects.

"It feels like sometimes you plug a hole and another one leaks," Minnesota coach Randy Wittman said. "But that's what it's going to be like with a group like this. They have to continue to learn."

But Seattle is beginning to show signs of improvement, winning four of its last six games while watching players like Wilcox and Durant grow.

The Sonics fell behind early on Friday, allowing the Timberwolves to open up a 26-11 lead after the first quarter. Al Jefferson - the main piece that came back to Minnesota in the Kevin Garnett trade over the summer - scored six points in the first.

Corey Brewer, the club's first-round draft pick in June, also added six points for Minnesota.

But Seattle caught fire in the second period, opening the quarter with a 19-4 run to pull even at 30-30 with 7:01 remaining in the half. Wilcox scored 10 points, and Wally Szczerbiak capped the spurt with a runner in the lane.

"The zone was good to us tonight," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "They just shredded us in the first quarter, and I thought we maintained our poise. There was a lot of time left, but it wasn't looking very good."

Jefferson put the Timberwolves back on top with nine points in the last 5:20 of the first half, but the Sonics continued their run after the break.

"It was just that we didn't attack it," Jefferson said. "We started to attack the zone in the third quarter, but we should've attacked it from the jump and then they would've gotten out of it."

Veteran forward Kurt Thomas scored the first six points of the third for Seattle, and Durant added six in the period as the Sonics built a 75-65 lead after three.

"I thought Kurt Thomas was unbelievable," Carlesimo said. "He had a great game. When he was on the floor, we were really good. Chris Wilcox played really well. Our point guards were great."

The Sonics outscored the Timberwolves, 64-39, in the second and third quarters combined.

Jefferson finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds and Rashad McCants added 17 points for Minnesota, which fell to an NBA-worst 3-18.

"Al had a great game tonight," Thomas said. "He's a tremendous player, a nice young talent in this league. We were fortunate to withstand Al and everyone else. We played team basketball tonight, really shared the ball, and we were fortunate enough that we were able to knock down some shots."

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