Dallas 77, Seattle 66
LAS VEGAS, July 6 -- Desagana Diop welcomed Kevin Durant to the NBA Friday evening as he blocked the second overall pick’s first shot out of bounds in the Dallas Mavericks 77-66 win over the Seattle Sonics in front of a packed COX Pavilion on the campus of UNLV.
“Everybody gets their shot blocked, it’s the NBA,” Durant said of the block. “I can’t get down on myself because he (Diop) blocked it. I thought I had the clear layup but he came over and blocked it.”
Durant missed his first five shots of the game (two layup’s, two jumpers and a hook shot), but displayed some good moves in the process including a nice spin move on the block. His sixth shot, a turnaround jumper from the right corner, hit nothing but net.
“I started out a little slow but my teammates picked me up and I was able to score a bit,” Durant said afterwards in front of about 50 reporters. “It was good, I was glad to finally get back out on the court and under the whistle. Unfortunately we lost but we come out hard the next game.”
Durant hit his stride in the second quarter (0-5 FG, 0 points in first quarter), hitting for 13 points (3-8 FG, 7-8 FT).
2006 first-round pick Maurice Ager led the Mavericks with 17 points (7-13 FG) in the double-digit win. Dallas led comfortably the whole game, leading by as many as 20 points.
“It was good to get out there and run,” Ager said of the team’s performance. “Our rhythm was a little off but I think that will improve after we get some more games under our belts, we’re a young team.”
Jose Juan Barea chipped in 14 points (5-8 FG) and a game-high nine assists in the win, while Brandon Bass (4-8 FG) and Clay Tucker (4-9 FG) had 12 points a piece. Bass also collected eight rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
On the Sonics side, Julius Hodge posted a double-double with 14 points (3-6 FG, 8-10 FT) and 10 rebounds. Fifth overall pick Jeff Green had seven points ( 2-6 FG), all in the first half. Green and Durant had 20 of the team’s 28 points at half.
NOTES: New coach P.J. Carlesimo watched from the stands along with GM Sam Presti. On having Carlesimo as his first NBA coach Durant said, “He’s a great coach who gets everything out of his players. I can’t wait to play for him.”