Nuggets bottle up Durant in 120-103 win against Seattle
Denver — Kevin Durant’s shot was off in his NBA debut, and the Denver Nuggets beat the Seattle SuperSonics, 120-103, on Wednesday night in the season opener for both teams.
Durant scored 18 points in 31 minutes, but shot just 7-of-22.
Carmelo Anthony bottled up the rookie on defense, and showed him a move or two on offense. Anthony finished with 32 points, making three 3-pointers.
Allen Iverson had 25 points and 14 assists, and Linas Kleiza chipped in 18 points and hit five 3-pointers.
Durant was taken by the Sonics with the No. 2 pick in the draft last June. He scored his first NBA point on a free throw about 1 1/2 minutes into the game, and had his first airball two minutes later on a short jumper in the lane. Durant’s initial basket came on a driving layup late in the first quarter. He showed no effects of a gimpy ankle, which he sprained on Oct. 23.
Damien Wilkins had 21 points and reserve Delonte West chipped in 19.
Kenyon Martin contributed seven points in 18 minutes. Martin was back in Denver’s starting lineup after missing 106 games over the last two seasons due to microfracture surgeries on both knees.
Seattle had a 79-78 lead with 3:05 left in the third quarter, but Denver went on a 28-11 run to put away the game midway through the fourth quarter. Kleiza had four of his five 3-pointers to fuel the run.
Before the game, Martin got on the public address system and told the revved-up crowd, “We’re going to bring the Nuggets their first championship.”
Anthony, the league’s second-leading scorer last season, has predicted the Nuggets will win 60 games this season.
Durant’s every move was chronicled before the game. A film crew came into the locker room and trained the lens on him as he tied his black Nike shoes with yellow and green trim, slipped on his warmups and answered text messages.
The Sonics were without Robert Swift (right knee tendinitis) and forward Kurt Thomas (strained right hamstring).
Seattle didn’t play Luke Ridnour. He’s trying to get used to a plastic mask that he’s forced to wear after breaking his nose in a preseason game.
J.R. Smith sat out the first of three games after being suspended by Denver for “conduct detrimental to the team” before the season. He was recently issued a summons on charges including assault after an incident at a night club.
Notes: First-year Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo won’t be receiving his championship ring anytime soon. Carlesimo, an assistant coach for the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs last season, said he expected to receive his 14-karat gold ring when Seattle plays in San Antonio on April 11. The Spurs were given their rings Tuesday night. … Nuggets G Chucky Atkins severely strained his right groin on Oct. 25 and is expected to miss up to eight weeks. It’s the fourth straight season the Nuggets have lost a key player around the opener. … A fan held up a sign that said, “Rocktober is over, so let’s remember Nuggvember.”
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