Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
By GREGG BELL AP Sports Writer
SEATTLE (AP) -- Word is already getting around the league on how to stymie Kevin Durant: the more Seattle's lanky second overall draft pick stays outside, the more an equally tall defender jumps out to keep his nose in the skinny teenager's chest.
Utah's Andrei Kirilenko used that approach to hold Durant to 7-for-21 shooting and blocked Durant's attempt at a game-tying shot in the lane with three seconds remaining to help the Jazz hold on to beat the winless SuperSonics 103-101 on Friday night, Seattle's franchise record-tying sixth consecutive loss to begin the season.
Carlos Boozer scored the go-ahead basket over Durant with 17.6 seconds left and finished with 27 points -- 22 in the second half. Boozer also had 15 rebounds for his sixth double-double in six games for Utah, which won for the third time in four games and now heads home to face Memphis and Sacramento.
Jeff Green, the fifth overall pick, had an early career-high 19 points off the bench while continually slashing to the basket and recklessly banging into bigger bodies for the Sonics, who are starting their 41st and perhaps their final season in Seattle in a way that has many locals wishing they were already gone.
They must defeat rugged, playoff-tested Detroit at home Sunday night to avoid setting a dubious team mark to begin a season.
Deron Williams, whose bounce pass led to Boozer's go-ahead shot at the end, finished with 14 points and 11 assists. Kirilenko also had 11 assists plus 10 points to go with his pestering of Durant.
The 19-year-old rookie finished with 20 points but is just 10-for-38 from the field in his last two games.
Durant blocked a follow shot by Boozer and then sank a shot in the lane to tie the game at 101 with 1 minute to go. But Boozer answered with his decisive drive over Durant with 17.6 seconds left.
Durant missed 11 of his first 15 shots before he began driving inside more. He hit a runner in the lane while getting fouled with 10:20 left. His 3-point play erased all of an 11-point deficit and gave Seattle an 83-80 lead, its first edge since 2-0.
But Boozer banged inside for 11 of Utah's next 20 points to put the Jazz back up 97-93 with 4 minutes left.
Green slashed inside to tie it again at 99 with 2 minutes left.
For the second consecutive game, Durant didn't make his first basket until midway through the second quarter. The Jazz held a six-point lead for most of the first half and into halftime despite getting just five points from Boozer -- who was averaging 24 over the first five games.
Kirilenko, who is also 6-foot-9, blocked three of Durant's shots. Yet Durant kept trying, and kept getting rebuked. Twice in the third quarter he drove under the basket and had his layup stuffed by Kirilenko. And Boozer blocked a lob pass at the basket on an inbounds play called for Durant.
Note: Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo did not change his starting lineup, as he had promised. Durant, Wilcox, Earl Watson, Damien Wilkins and Robert Swift started again. Carlesimo said the size matchups with that group worked better against the Jazz that any changes would. He said those promised changes will likely come Sunday against Detroit, when F-C Kurt Thomas (hamstring strain) may be ready to make his Seattle debut. Likely to go: Swift, who was in foul trouble again. He had three fouls in 10 minutes of the first half and finished with no points and four fouls in 17 minutes.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-11-09-07 2317MST