Kevin Pelton, SUPERSONICS.COM
| October 26, 2007
The Seattle SuperSonics closed out the preseason with a win, defeating the Phoenix Suns 121-108 Friday in front of a pro-Steve Nash
crowd at GM Place in Vancouver, B.C. The two-time MVP and British Columbia native dazzled his fans with 10 points and 12 assists, but it was the Sonics who had more firepower on this evening, topping the 120-point mark for the season time this October and shooting a sizzling 53.6% from the field.
Despite an Opening Night matchup against each other at KeyArena looming six days away (), both teams used their regulars extensively during the first three quarters. It was with these groups on the floor that the Sonics pulled away, lighting up the scoreboard for 42 points during the third quarter. They scored on nine of their last 10 possessions in the period.
Suns Head Coach Mike D'Antoni went to his reserves during the fourth quarter as the Sonics avoided the kind of close finish that had gone against them the last two games, going on a 12-3 run that spanned the third and fourth quarters.
It was forward Chris Wilcox who took the most advantage of the up-tempo pace of the game, running his way to a game-high 27 points on 12-of-14 shooting. Wilcox was also a rebound away from joining frontcourt-mate Nick Collison (10 points, 11 boards, five assists) with a double-double.
Four of the seven Sonics to score double-figures came off the bench, including veteran Kurt Thomas, facing the Suns for the first time since a July trade brought him to Seattle from Phoenix. Thomas scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds in just 21 minutes of action. Wally Szczerbiak scored 15, Delonte West had 12 points and dished out nine assists and Earl Watson had 11 points and six assists as the Sonics got terrific reserve play.
Phoenix saw all five starters score double-figures, as did reserve Alando Tucker (13). The Suns attempted 35 three-pointers, but hit them at just a 28.6% clip. The most encouraging sign for Phoenix had to be the performance of center Amarť Stoudemire. Playing in his second game since knee surgery, Stoudemire scored 20 of his 23 points in the second quarter alone. He made eight of his nine shot attempts and pulled down 11 rebounds.
After a day off Saturday, the Sonics will have three days of preparation for Wednesday's season opener at Denver (7:30 p.m., FSN/ESPN, KTTH 770 AM). They'll then return home to face the Suns in their home opener in the second game of a back-to-back set.