Even with Kevin Durant scoring at will, the Seattle SuperSonics aren't going to win many games this season if they don't learn how to stop opponents from putting the ball in the basket.

A pair of teams that have yet to earn a victory, and are among the worst in the league on the defensive end meet Tuesday night when Seattle visits the Sacramento Kings.

Durant leads NBA rookies with 23.0 points per game, but Seattle has dropped its first three contests, allowing 113.7 points a game. Only Golden State has been worse, giving up 123.3 per contest.

This is the first time the Sonics have started 0-3 since 1985-86.

"We're getting better, but getting better and winning basketball games are two different things," first-year Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We have to learn to play a bigger chunk of the 48 minutes and we need to close out games - which we haven't done yet. We're still a work in progress and we understand that, but we want to win while we try and get better."

On Sunday, Seattle scored only six points in the first 6:12 of the final quarter en route to a 115-101 road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Durant had 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists to lead Seattle. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 36.3 minutes in his first three NBA games after playing just one season at Texas and being selected with the second overall pick in June's draft.

"We felt from the beginning he would play a lot and play big minutes, and that's the way it's evolving," Carlesimo said. "He's going to have the same trials and tribulations that all rookies have.

"The difference is, he's going to get more meaningful minutes than most rookies get in this league. He's going to have nights where he's going to look unbelievable for a 19-year-old, and others where he's going to look like a rookie."

Durant has a good chance to continue his strong start against Sacramento, which has allowed opponents to score 107.7 points per game - fifth-worst in the NBA.

The Kings concluded an 0-3 road trip to start 2007-08 by giving up a season high in points in falling 123-102 to Dallas on Saturday. Sacramento allowed the Mavericks to shoot 65.2 percent (45-of-69) from the field.

First-year Kings coach Reggie Theus, though, said he liked the way his team held Dallas to 50 points in the second half after allowing the Mavs to score 73 in the first two quarters.

"We take some positive things away from this game. I thought we played much better the second half," Theus said. "Our intensity defensively was better the second half. ... We'll take that away going into our home opener on Tuesday."

The Kings had a tough time winning at Arco Arena last season, going 20-21 for their worst home record since posting the same mark in 1993-94.

One of the Kings' losses at home last season came to the Sonics, who ended a five-game overall skid in the series with a 114-103 win Feb. 11. That victory was also just Seattle's third in its last 13 visits to Sacramento.


Copyright 2007 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited