Durant propels Sonics to win in home finaleApr 14, 2008 - 5:25 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- In what may very well be the Seattle SuperSonics' last hurrah in the "Emerald City," they did what they could to leave a lasting impression.
Rookie Kevin Durant scored 17 points - including the go-ahead basket with 41 seconds left - to give the Sonics a 99-95 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday.
On most nights, the biggest story could very well have been Seattle's ability to snap its 13-game losing streak against Dallas in its home finale. Instead, there is an increasing chance that the next time these two franchises meet, the Sonics could have a new home.
"We don't know that," Sonics rookie forward Jeff Green said when asked for his thoughts about the possibility the Sonics have played their final game in Key Arena. "It's still 50-50. It was the last game of the year in our home, and we wanted to finish with a bang."
"I do know it (moving) is a strong possibility, and it will be a sad day for the city and the fans if that's the case," Sonics forward Nick Collison said.
Chants of "Save our Sonics" rang down throughout the game and the crowd gave former Sonic great Gary Payton - who was in the crowd - a rousing standing ovation.
"It was playoff intensity," Mavericks coach and former Sonic Avery Johnson said about the noise from the near-sellout crowd of 16,272. "They (the Sonics) were hungry. They were energetic. This was the loudest crowd I've heard here in a long time."
"It kind of got to me, I kind of lost my emotions," Green said about the crowd's energy during the final stretch. "It was amazing hearing the fans from the nose-bleeds all the way up."
In the midst of their worst season in franchise history, the SuperSonics (19-62) have dealt with continued distraction of where they will play next season, as team owner Clay Bennett - who wants to move the team to his hometown of Oklahoma City - and the city of Seattle will soon be battling over the right to uproot the franchise in the courts this summer.
Since playing their first game at the Seattle Center Coliseum as an expansion team in 1967, the Sonics have won 1,075 regular-season home games, even winning an NBA title in 1979 - the city's only major men's professional title since the Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917.
"It's a great place to play and the fans are great," Durant said. "I would love to play here as long as possible. I love playing for these fans. They are great every night."
While understanding of the situation, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban doesn't like the idea of trying to uplift history.
"If Clayton Bennett was from my town and it was a non-NBA town, he'd be my hero," said Cuban, who stated he will vote against the move if and when it gets to that point.
"The problem is: Should that team move from Seattle, or should it be another team, or an expansion team? The only certainty in my mind is that it should not come from Seattle. It's not just big market-small market, although that's critical. It's history. I don't think it's in the NBA's best interest to give that up."
Trailing, 95-89, with 3:14 remaining, Seattle held Dallas scoreless as the Sonics posted the final 10 points of the contest. Collison converted a three-point play and Johan Petro hit a jumper to trim the lead to one before Durant hit a step-back 17-footer to give the Sonics a one-point lead.
"It was a great win for us against a great team," said Durant, who finished for 7-of-18 from the field. "I wasn't shooting the ball well. I got a shot at the end of the game when my teammates tried to set me up and I hit it."
After the Mavericks failed to convert on the other end, Durant took a lead pass from Green and drove the lane for a layup to increase the lead to three at 98-95.
Collison, who finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds, added a free throw in the closing seconds to account for the final score. Earl Watson had 21 points and 10 assists to lead the Sonics.
Nowitzki paced the Mavericks with 32 points.
SEATTLE 99 FINAL
Apr 13 11:31 PM
SEATTLE 81 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 13 10:54 PM
SEATTLE 50 HALFTIME
Apr 13 10:09 PM
SEATTLE 19 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 13 9:36 PM
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