Durant's Home Debut IN Seattle Spoiled

SEATTLE (AP) -- Seattle SuperSonics rookie Kevin Durant realized a dream Saturday night when he was on the same court with his boyhood idol, Tracy McGrady.

The reality, however, is Durant has a lot to learn before he can measure up to the 11-year NBA star.

McGrady scored 30 points and the Houston Rockets beat the Sonics 117-94 to spoil Durant's home debut. Durant, the No. 2 pick out of Texas, finished with 25 points on 9-of-20 shooting.

"He's got a lot of talent," said McGrady, who was 10-of-20 from the floor and made all nine free throws before sitting out the final 17 minutes. "I think right now it's such a huge burden on his shoulders because they're such a young team. He has to be a scorer. All eyes are on him. He's one of the top picks in the draft this year. There's so much hype.

"He just needs to continue to learn the NBA game. He was kind of forcing some shots tonight but that just comes from being young."

Durant, averaging 16.8 points in his first four games, said McGrady became just another player at the opening tip.

"I noticed that we're both in the same league. We're both playing in the NBA. I can't be star-struck when I see Tracy McGrady or (Cleveland's) LeBron James," Durant said. "But it was fun playing against him. Just going up against him was a dream come true."

Durant gave the Sonics (1-4) their only lead of the game, 2-0, hitting his first shot 30 seconds in. Three minutes elapsed before he touched the ball again as the Rockets galloped away.

The Rockets (3-1), with a vastly more experienced roster, built a 22-9 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter.

Delonte West, hitting his first seven shots and finishing with 22 points, briefly snapped the Sonics back in the second period. He hit back-to-back buckets early in the quarter to bring the Sonics to within 26-23. The Rockets then outscored the Sonics 33-19 to lead 59-42 by intermission.

"We're not ready to play a team this good right now. They're very, very difficult for us to play," said Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo.

Carlesimo rested forward Chris Wilcox and guard Earl Watson and tried to limit the minutes for the team's other notable rookie, forward Jeff Green, this year's fifth pick out of Georgetown. But Green, who has a sore knee, entered three minutes into the game and played 22 minutes. He scored five points.

"I think for Kevin, the more minutes he plays, the more situations he finds himself in," Carlesimo said of Durant. "He found out what it's like to go inside against Yao (Ming). He covered Tracy a little bit. The only line we were walking in the second half was how many minutes were good for Kevin. You don't want to get a guy injured in a preseason game but at the same time you do want to get him experience."

Shane Battier added 19 points as the Rockets reached their exhibition high for points. Aaron Brooks, a Seattle native who was Houston's first-round draft choice (26th pick) out of Oregon, was given a warm reception when he entered the game with 1:32 left in the first. He played 18 minutes and scored 12 points.

The Sonics now have allowed 106.8 points per game, third worst in the league.

"When (Durant) learns the game, knowing where to get easy shots from, knowing how to read defenses and becomes a lot stronger, he's going to be pretty good," McGrady added. "(But) when I see those young guys like that, I really like to go right at them, see what they've got. I wish him well."


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