P.J. Carlesimo knows all too well about the San Antonio Spurs' recent success. He also understands that might not bode well for his Seattle SuperSonics.
The Sonics will again try to win at home Sunday night when they face the Spurs for the first time since Carlesimo left his assistant job in San Antonio to take over as coach in Seattle.
For the last five seasons, Carlesimo served as Gregg Popovich's top assistant in San Antonio. The Spurs won three NBA titles during that span, including last season. Carlesimo had a courtside seat and played a key role in that run, but opted to become a head coach for the first time since guiding Golden State for three seasons - the last coming in 1999-2000.
"It'll be great to see him, because we all miss him, but when the game starts, we'll be trying to beat each other up, that's for sure," Popovich said.
San Antonio (11-2), which is tied with Phoenix for the Western Conference's best record and tries for a season-high fifth straight victory, looks for a sixth consecutive win over the lowly Sonics (2-11) and third straight in Seattle.
Though San Antonio's losses have come away from home, it should be in good shape against Seattle, which is the league's only winless team at home (0-5).
Carlesimo hopes his knowledge from the past will help his new team contain the Spurs, who are coming off a 101-88 win over Memphis on Friday.
Working in the paint most of the night, Tim Duncan had 28 points with nine rebounds. Tony Parker had 21 points and eight assists for the Spurs, who are averaging 99.8 points this season and 114.5 in their last two games.
Parker, off to a strong start with team bests of 20.4 points and 6.5 assists per game, is averaging 28.0 points and 8.7 assists in his last three contests. He averaged 18.8 points in four wins over the Sonics last season.
"Some nights he's going to score when we need it, some nights he's going to have assists, and some nights he's going to do both," Popovich said of Parker.
Seattle's Kevin Durant makes his first appearance against Duncan and the defending champion Spurs Sunday. The 6-foot-9, former Texas star hopes for a better outing after another rough night in Seattle's 98-93 home loss to New Jersey on Friday - the team's third straight following its only two wins of the season.
After scoring 11 points in a 125-108 loss at Memphis on Monday, Durant had 12 on 4-for-12 shooting versus the Nets.
"I just didn't knock down the open shots like I usually do," said Durant, who's averaging 18.5 points in his rookie season but just 13.0 on 28.1 percent (9-for-32) shooting in his last three games.
Friday was the second time Seattle held an opponent to fewer than 100 points this season. The Sonics are one of the league's worst defensive teams, allowing 108.0 points per contest.
"Until we get significantly better defensively, we're not going to win games," Carlesimo said.
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