Watson's triple-double helps Sonics edge KingsFeb 7, 2008 - 7:24 AM By Tom Galland PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) - The Seattle SuperSonics are beginning to find themselves after a tough start to the Kevin Durant era.
Earl Watson recorded his first triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as the SuperSonics coasted to a 105-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings at Arco Arena Wednesday night.
Durant scored 17 points and Chris Wilcox collected 15 and 10 boards for Seattle, which has won four of its last five games following a season-worst 14-game losing streak.
"Earl's been playing like that every game," Durant said. "He doesn't get triple-doubles all the time, but he's been playing like that every game. He came out possessed - making jump shots off pick-and-rolls, 3-balls, getting everyone involved and getting rebounds. That's typical Earl. He just put it all together and got a triple-double."
"I think I've been close a couple times but I never really knew I was so close until after the game," Watson said. "My teammates let me know. How they found out, I have no idea."
Seattle played a stifling zone defense in the second half, holding Sacramento to just 30 percent from the floor over the final two quarters and pulling away to end a 10-game road losing streak.
"I think we played hard in the zone," Watson said. "Sometimes, it wasn't textbook, we just hustled and covered for one another and just made it work. That was the key thing, our determination to make it work and keep (Sacramento) on the outside."
Already leading, 81-73, after three quarters, the Sonics added to their cushion with an aggressive 13-0 surge to push the lead to 94-73 on Nick Collison's 13-footer with 8:06 remaining.
After a brief Sacramento rally cut its deficit to 97-86, Durant slammed home a dunk with just under five minutes left, helping snap the Kings' four-game winning streak.
"The team defense was very, very good in the second, third and fourth quarters," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "When you defend and rebound that well, you're going to win games, even on the road.
"(Sacramento) also missed Brad (Miller). He's such a good shooter against a zone and he's a such a good passer. That really worked to our advantage."
Sacramento played without Miller, who sliced his right index finger on Sunday. Miller was named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday but the team did not want to risk re-opening the cut that required nine stitches. He is expected to be back for Friday's game against Utah.
"Brad is a big part of our offense," Kings guard Kevin Martin said. "We needed to find another style to play. Whatever we did, we just didn't get it done. We definitely missed Brad. Seattle played a great zone. We tried to take it to the hole, but it wasn't happening."
After trailing the entire first half, Seattle came out strong in the third behind an 11-0 burst to grab a 59-51 edge.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Watson and Wally Szczerbiak pushed it to 74-64 with just under three minutes in the period en route to a 13-point lead.
Ron Artest led the Kings in scoring for the third straight game with 20 points as Sacramento lost for just the second time in nine games.
Seattle held a decided advantage on the boards, 54-42, and shot 53 percent for the game.
Sacramento led by as many as 12 at one stage after Francisco Garcia's 3-pointer with 7:40 left in the first half. Seattle answered by outscoring Sacramento, 20-9, to end the quarter to settle for a 49-48 lead at the break.
- Towns, Porzingis unanimously selected to All-Rookie 1st team May 19
- Kings' methodical coaching search ended with Dave Joerger May 10
- Kings hire coach Dave Joerger 2 days after firing in Memphis May 9
- A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press the Sacramento Kings have agreed to terms with Dave Joerger on a three-year deal to make him their new coach May 9
- Kings hire Catanella as assistant general manager Apr 28
- Tuesday's Sports in Brief Apr 20
- AP Sources: Kings to interview Del Negro, Jackson, Mitchell Apr 20
- Kings fire coach George Karl after 1 full season Apr 14
- NBA Capsules Apr 14
- Rockets clinch playoff berth with 116-81 win over Kings Apr 13
- Karl coaching Kings amid reports he could be fired Apr 13
- Warriors' chase, Kobe's finale highlight NBA's final night Apr 13