(28-16, 8-11 away)
(10-35, 6-16 home)
7:00 PM ET, January 29, 2008
Key Arena, Seattle, WA
SEATTLE (AP) -- Put away the paper bags. Those sad sack SuperSonics can show their faces again.
Kevin Durant scored 26 points, including the go-ahead jump shot with 32.6 seconds remaining and Seattle stunned defending NBA champion San Antonio 88-85 on Tuesday night to finally end its team-record losing streak at 14 games.
"Fourteen games? That's a big number. You kind of don't want to show your face when you're losing like that," said Chris Wilcox, who had 16 points including the basket before Durant's thriller.
With a loss to the Spurs on Tuesday night, the Sonics would have tied the Heat for the longest losing skid this season. They're still, however, among the NBA's futility leaders over the last five seasons.
|Most consecutive losses: Cavaliers, 24 over two seasons, March-Nov., 1982.|
After Seattle's Luke Ridnour dribbled away the final seconds, he fired the ball high in the air toward a crowd that was roaring for one of the few times in this dreadful, potentially final season in town for the Sonics. Wally Szczerbiak thrust both arms skyward, like Rocky.
"It was like we won the championship," said Durant, the 19-year-old rookie who was trying to win an NCAA one for Texas this time last year. "It was a big-time win for us."
The Sonics (10-35) won for the first time since Dec. 29, over Minnesota, and for just the second time this season against a team with a winning record.
Durant swished an open shot created by a thudding screen from Kurt Thomas, whose consecutive open jumpers had given Seattle an unlikely lead with 90 seconds to go. Ridnour hit a free throw with 12 seconds left before Manu Ginobili, who had 29 points, missed a leaning 3-pointer with 4.9 seconds remaining that would have tied it.
So ended the season-high third consecutive loss for the Spurs, who were playing without Tony Parker. Coach Gregg Popovich surprised the star point guard by making him inactive about an hour before the game. Then he announced Parker will be out indefinitely to rest a bone spur in his left heel.
Parker was to fly back to San Antonio late Tuesday and get an MRI on Wednesday or Thursday, the team announced.
Since starting 17-3, San Antonio has gone 11-13 while enduring other injuries to Tim Duncan and Ginobili. The Spurs are now 9-9 without any of their Big Three.
"The worst part is ... I don't see that we're playing with a sense of urgency," said Ginobili, who was playing his second game since taking off the protective device he'd been wearing this month over his sprained left index finger.
Duncan seemed more annoyed than urgent. He scored 27 points but was frustrated for much of the night while missing 11 of 21 shots.
The Spurs are 0-2 on a nine-game trip to both coasts, San Antonio's annual trek while the city's stock show and rodeo take over its home court.
Popovich said this week that his teams have often used the "rodeo trip" to improve focus. The Spurs went 8-1 on it in 2003 before lassoing the NBA title. They went 5-2 on the rodeo trip en route to winning it all in '05.
Then again, the Spurs were only 4-4 on their trek last year -- then went 23-6 after the All-Star break and won another league title.
Now, they will have to get along without Parker, their catalyst who is averaging 19.2 points and 6.1 assists per game this season.
"That's irrelevant. That had nothing to do with it. Teams lose guys and have nicks all the time," Popovich said after another loss.
A visibly agitated Duncan got a frustration foul and went to the bench in the final minute of the third quarter after a turnover that he thought was a slap across his wrist by Thomas. While Duncan sat and stewed, Seattle turned a 64-59 deficit into a 69-66 lead.
Normal NBA hierarchy was soon restored -- the Spurs seized back the lead. But only briefly.
Thomas took advantage of Duncan leaving him alone to make consecutive flat-footed shots from 16 feet and 17 feet and give Seattle an 82-81 lead with 90 seconds left. Duncan just grimaced while arriving late to watch Thomas' second, go-ahead basket.
A free throw by Ginobili tied it before Wilcox gave Seattle the lead again with a turnaround shot in the lane with 55.8 seconds left. Then Ginobili shook off a near steal in the open court by Durant and coldly swished a 24-foot 3-pointer far beyond the top of the key to give San Antonio an 85-84 lead with 43.5 seconds remaining.
Ginobili then fed Fabricio Oberto for a layup attempt, but Oberto rushed and banged that off the glass without hitting the rim with 15 seconds to go. Seattle rebounded and Ridnour made two free throws to put the Sonics ahead 88-85 with 12 seconds remaining.
Ginobili stepped back to try a leaning 3-pointer after pump-faking Earl Watson out of position, but the shot missed off the right side of the rim.
Durant, averaging 19.3 points entering Tuesday, has 51 points in two games this season against the Spurs, who entered Tuesday with the third-best scoring defense in the league. ... Jacque Vaughn played a season-high 37 minutes as the surprise starter for Parker. He had four points on 2-for-9 shooting, with four assists and two turnovers. ... The Sonics were without G Damien Wilkins. A team spokesman said he had a stomach flu.
Team Stat Comparison
|FGM-FGA||33-76 (.434)||37-89 (.416)|
|3PM-3PA||6-17 (.353)||1-7 (.143)|
|FTM-FTA||13-17 (.765)||13-13 (1.000)|
|Fast Break Points||0||15|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (2/0)||16 (0/0)|