Sonics end miserable season on high noteApr 17, 2008 - 6:21 AM By Ryan Leong PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- In what could be their final game as the Seattle SuperSonics, the team ended a miserable season on a positive note.
Kevin Durant scored a career-high 42 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead the SuperSonics to a 126-121 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night.
"There were some ups and downs (this season)," Durant said. "Coming into this league, you can't come in and dominate straight away.
"So, I had to go through some learning curves, and my coaches and my teammates helped me out a lot and, towards the end of the season, I think I got better and learned how to play the game a little bit more."
Seattle now enters the offseason uncertain of its future. After posting the worst record in franchise history, it's likely the team will relocate to Oklahoma City.
"I didn't really think about it to be honest," Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "You just think about the game ... obviously, when you're around town and seeing all the people, you know how much the people in Seattle care.
"But, again, there's not anything that can be done basically by anybody right now. So, we're all kind of waiting and seeing what happens."
On Friday, NBA owners are scheduled to vote on owner Clay Bennett's proposed relocation of the Sonics. Bennett has insisted that the Sonics acquire a new, state-of-the-art venue in Seattle even though Key Arena was renovated just a decade ago.
Late last week, the league's seven-member relocation committee unanimously gave its approval for the move.
"Seattle's a great place to play," Durant said. "It will be sad since that's my rookie year, and I played in a great place like Seattle and, if we go somewhere else, I'm going to miss it a lot. But that's a part of the game, I can't control whether we move or not. So, either way, I've got to continue to play the game."
Golden State's 48-34 record represented the best finish for a non-playoff team since the NBA adopted the current format for the 1984 postseason.
"It's hard to have a good season and not make the playoffs, but in this case, we still had a really great season," said Warriors center Andris Biedrins, who finished with 20 points and 17 rebounds.
"We didn't make the playoffs, but 48 wins is not easy, so it was an improvement from last season. We are just looking forward to keeping this up for next year. We had a really good run this year and we built constantly. We didn't have that many injuries. We only had the bad start at 0-6, but otherwise we played really well."
With the Sonics impending relocation and with the Warriors barely missing the playoffs, the game lacked intensity.
Although the Warriors led early in the first quarter, they would get outscored, 24-7, and trail by 11 points after the opening frame - a lead which Seattle maintained for most of the contest.
Golden State cut the deficit to six points with 5:14 remaining in the fourth quarter and a mid-range jumper by Monta Ellis narrowed the Warriors' deficit to just 108-104 with 4:50 remaining.
But Durant curled off a screen and made a 17-foot jumper before Ellis responded to keep it a four-point game with a pull-up jump shot.
Durant made another jumper and Earl Watson drained a 3-pointer to give the Sonics a nine-point lead with 2:50 to play. Durant's 3-pointer with 2:18 remaining seemingly was the dagger to end any hopes of a Warriors' comeback.
However, Golden State made it close after a 3-pointer by Baron Davis and a fast-break layup by Ellis.
Nick Collison came up with a loose ball and the Warriors were forced to foul rookie Jeff Green with 21.2 seconds left.
Green made both free throws for a five-point cushion. Biedrins followed with a tip-in and the Warriors fouled Durant, who made a pair of free throws to seal the victory.
"We came back like 20 times this season from being down in the fourth quarter and we just showed a lot of heart and resiliency," Davis said. "Towards the end of the season, all that stuff started to catch up, and we experienced a little bit of fatigue. We have to put ourselves in a better situation to finish stronger next year."
GOLDEN STATE 121 FINAL
Apr 17 12:49 AM
GOLDEN STATE 80 END, 3RD QTR
Apr 17 12:14 AM
GOLDEN STATE 60 HALFTIME
Apr 16 11:33 PM
GOLDEN STATE 24 END, 1ST QTR
Apr 16 11:07 PM
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