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Originally published Monday, March 17, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Denver delivers the Sonics' worst loss

Well, at least the Sonics didn't allow the Denver Nuggets to set a team record for field-goal percentage this time. As far as avoiding another...

Special to The Seattle Times

DENVER — Well, at least the Sonics didn't allow the Denver Nuggets to set a team record for field-goal percentage this time.

As far as avoiding another historic rout, that's another story. It was the Sonics' largest margin of defeat and the most points ever scored against the franchise.

The Sonics were clobbered 168-116 on Sunday night at the Pepsi Center, never giving themselves a smidgen of a chance to avoid their eighth consecutive loss after surrendering 48 points in the opening quarter and allowing 84 points in each half.

"We didn't offer any defensive resistance at all," said P.J. Carlesimo after his team lost for the 12th time in 13 games.

And the Nuggets continued to fire away from the perimeter in the latter stages.

"That's the reserves doing their thing, man," forward Chris Wilcox said. "That's their chance to go in there and shine and that's what they did."

Said Carlesimo: "I don't concern myself with the other team. I'm just concerned with what we're doing."

The Nuggets chalked up their largest ever margin of victory and most points in a nonovertime game.

"I wish the game would have been over because I'm sure Seattle was a little upset with the rhythm of the game," said Nuggets coach George Karl, whose team had eight players in double figures. "But I don't know how to tell a team not to play. The three-ball is the strength of our second unit."

This loss comes on the heels of a 138-96 shellacking Feb. 27 at the hands of the Nuggets at KeyArena.

Denver shot 60.4 percent from the field overall and drilled 16 of 31 three-point attempts. The point total was the most in the NBA since San Antonio put up 173 in 1990 against the Nuggets, then coached by Sonics assistant Paul Westhead.

It doesn't appear things will get better for the Sonics (16-51), who matched last season's loss total with 15 games to play. This week's schedule includes Western Conference powers Phoenix, the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah.

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"We have to get back to competing," Carlesimo said.

Carlesimo hinted before the game that in order to compete with Denver (40-26), the Sonics would have to stay away from taking shots in the first five or six seconds of the shot clock. But that's exactly what happened.

"That's what it was, to a large extent," Carlesimo said. "Good looks in the first five or six seconds is OK. Jump shots against this team, unless you have two or three people underneath the rim, is just death."

Carmelo Anthony (26 points), Allen Iverson (24) and Martin (23 on 11-for-13 shooting) guided the Nuggets, but most efficient was center Marcus Camby, who recorded a triple-double with 13 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists and sat out the fourth quarter.

The Sonics, led by Kevin Durant's 23 points, also fell on the wrong end of this unfathomable statistic: The Nuggets became the first team since 1946 to beat the same opponent by more than 40 twice in the same season.

Racking up the points
Highest-scoring games for Sonics opponents:
Pts Opponent Year Score
168 @ Denver 2008 168-116
160 Philadelphia 1967 160-122
155 @ Milwaukee 1989 155-154, 5 OT
153 @ Cincinnati* 1967 153-133
* Played at Cleveland
Not even close
Sonics' largest margins of defeat:
Pts opponent Year Score
52 @ Denver 2008 168-116
47 Boston 1968 139-92
44 Dallas 1985 124-80
44 @ Milwaukee 1972 121-77
42 Denver 2008 138-96
41 San Antonio 2007 120-79
41 @ Washington 2005 137-96
40 @ Boston 2003 114-74
40 @ Houston 1997 113-73

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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