Sonics 151, Nuggets 147

By: AP
By: AP

Kevin Durant scored a season-high 37 points and fellow rookie Jeff Green had a season-high 35 to lead the Seattle SuperSonics to a 151-147 double-overtime victory over Denver on Sunday night, damaging the Nuggets’ playoff hopes.

Green, whose previous high was 23 points, scored 24 in the second half and overtime. His five quick points to start the second overtime gave the draft lottery-bound Sonics (18-59) the winning cushion.

Durant was coming off his worst shooting night of the season, going 2-for-17 to finish with four points in a loss to Houston on Friday night.

Carmelo Anthony, who scored 47 points Saturday in a 118-115 loss to Sacramento, led the Nuggets with 38 points. Allen Iverson added 26 points and Kenyon Martin had 22.

The loss kept the Nuggets in a tie with Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Warriors lost to New Orleans, 108-96, earlier Sunday.

This was the first of four straight road games for Denver, which visits Golden State on Thursday. The Nuggets dropped to 16-22 on the road, the worst among the West’s postseason contenders.

The Sonics need to win all of their final six games just to match their franchise-low mark of 23 wins set in their inaugural season of 1967-68.

Seattle, which led by six at intermission, had an 11-point lead until a 17-9 run by the Nuggets pulled them to 86-83 with 4:39 left in the third.

However, an alley-oop dunk by Green, on a pass from Durant, with 4:12 left charged up the crowd. The Sonics rode that momentum, holding off the Nuggets to maintain a 99-95 lead enter the fourth quarter.

The Nuggets finally went ahead for the first time in the second half, 105-103, on a fastbreak basket by J.R. Smith with 9:26 left. The lead then changed hands seven times and was tied four times over the final 9 minutes of regulation.

Linas Kleiza’s 3-pointer with 1:06 left gave the Nuggets a 126-123 lead. Coming out of a timeout, Durant answered with a 3 from the top of the key with 22 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Neither team led by more than four point in the first overtime. Anthony hit a 24-footer with 1:37 left for a 132-130 lead. Green’s shot was then blocked by Marcus Camby. Iverson followed with a 3-pointer from the right side for a 135-130 lead with 1:01 left.

After Durant hit a pair of free throws with 32.1 seconds left to make it 135-132, Iverson missed 22-footer from the left side with 11.9 seconds left. Coming out of a timeout, Durant hit a 3 with 5.1 seconds left to tie the score.

Martin miss a 24-footer as time expired to force a second overtime.

The Nuggets’ three previous victories over the Sonics include a 168-116 rout on March 16. The 52-point victory margin was the widest in Denver and the Nuggets point total was the highest in the NBA this season.

The Sonics didn’t allow the Nuggets to romp away at any point in this one. Denver’s biggest first-half lead was 32-25 with 2:11 left in the first quarter.

Held to a season-low 66 points Friday, the Sonics had their most points in a half this season, leading 70-64 at the break.

Notes

Entering the game, the Nuggets had won the first three meetings over the Sonics by an average of 37 points. … The Sonics play three straight road games in Texas this week, including Friday in San Antonio. It will be the team’s first visit to San Antonio, where Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo was an assistant last season. … Nuggets coach George Karl said before the game that there was no comfort in the fact that Denver had dominated the Sonics this season. “There’s never this (large) of a gap between NBA teams. It’s just doesn’t exist,” he said. “The truth of the matter is all NBA teams are fairly bunched together. They’re a capable NBA team.”


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