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The Sonics played the final three quarters without Kevin Durant, who sprained his left index finger near the end of the first period. X-rays were negative.
Seattle 109, Minnesota 90
SEATTLE, Dec. 29 (AP) -- An injury to the team's franchise player overshadowed a nice win by the SuperSonics.
The Sonics played the final three quarters without Durant, their leading scorer. The second pick in the 2007 draft, who is averaging 20.2 points, sprained his left index finger near the end of the first period. X-rays were negative, but Seattle held Durant out as a precaution.
With 9.2 seconds left in the first period he came off the floor to the Sonics bench holding his hands together.
"I just ran into somebody and sprained my finger. It was kind of hurting more than it usually does,'' Durant said. "I hit it in every game and the pain usually stops, but tonight it started throbbing and swelling up a little bit. I wanted to play but our trainer just wanted me to sit out for the rest of the game.''
Durant, the Sonics' first pick (second overall) in the 2007 NBA draft, leads the team in minutes played at 33.7. He has started all 30 games for the Sonics. His status is uncertain for Monday's home game against Philadelphia.
The Sonics also lost forward Chris Wilcox to a sprained left knee with 2:07 left in the third period. He did not return. His status also is uncertain.
"It looked to me like Weezy's was worse, but I don't know if that's accurate,'' Sonics' coach P.J. Carlesimo said.
"I just hope it's nothing serious because I want to be able to help my teammates. I am going to get X-rays tomorrow, so hopefully everything will come back negative tomorrow and I'll be back on the court,'' Wilcox said.
The Sonics (9-21) trailed by nine at the end of the first period. But Szczerbiak scored 15 points in the second period to help give the Sonics a 57-46 lead by intermission.
"Wally Szczerbiak has been for a long time, and still is, a very good player in this league,'' Carlesimo said. "I think more so than with most of our guys, with Kurt (Thomas) and Wally we know what we're getting night to night.''
The Sonics took the drama out of the game with a 12-0 spurt midway through the third period. By the 3:09 mark, they had a 80-52 lead. Their 19-point margin of victory was their largest this season.
Al Jefferson led the Timberwolves (4-25) with 17 points.
Antoine Walker hit the game's first 3-pointer for a 27-21 lead in the final minute of the first quarter, then followed with another at the buzzer for a nine-point advantage. The Wolves shot 62 percent in the period.
Despite playing without Durant, the Sonics outscored the Wolves 20-6 over the final 6 minutes of the second quarter for an 11-point lead by intermission.
Notes: Green, the fifth pick in the 2007 draft, made his second career start. "Let's look at different combinations that we haven't looked at,'' Carlesimo said of the move. "We haven't looked at Kevin and Jeff starting, probably (since) in the preseason. We're going to look at a lot of people.'' Green displaced Damien Wilkins, one of three players to have started all previous 29 games. "It's not that Damien hasn't played well,'' Carlesimo added. "It's just that you can't look at other guys without taking somebody out.'' ... Timberwolves forward Chris Richard, the 41st pick in the draft, also made his second career start, his first since Dec. 21 against Indiana. Coach Randy Wittman said he wanted to put more size on Wilcox. ... Sonics guard Luke Ridnour missed his second game with a sore left quad. ... The Wolves have lost five straight at Key Arena. They are 0-8 in the second of back-to-back games. They lost to Portland, 109-98 on Friday.