Gay, Grizzlies send Sonics to worst start in 38 years

SEATTLE (AP) -- Kevin Durant doesn't want to hear that nights like this are as a much a part of the NBA as baggy shorts.

The second overall pick in June's draft also wants none of the consensus that his remodeled, learning-on-the-fly SuperSonics are destined for a season like this. After all, he hadn't lost five games in a row in his life -- until now.

Rudy Gay warmed from a cold start to score 25 points and determined Kyle Lowry hit a clinching 3-pointer as the Memphis Grizzlies overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half Wednesday night to beat the winless Sonics 105-98, sending Seattle to its worst start in 38 years.

"I hate to lose, basically. I don't care if it's an 82-game season and people say you have to lose -- I hate to lose. Period," Durant said, in a quiet voice that matched the locker room vibe.

Lowry, who missed five of his first six shots, got a rebound off his missed layup and then swished a 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds remaining to clinch the first win of the season for the Grizzlies, in their first road game.

"I did not want to go into another town with zero victories. And I think the guys felt that way," said Memphis coach Marc Iavaroni, the former NBA player and then assistant coach who won his first game as a head man.

Durant, playing for the third time in four nights in a welcome-to-NBA-life stretch, scored a season-low 17 points and was a woeful 3-for-17 from the field for the Sonics, the league's only 0-5 team. After he missed his first four shots, including one that banged off the backboard about six inches to the left and below the rim, coach P.J. Carlesimo sat his franchise cornerstone for 10 minutes.

Durant finally scored midway through the second quarter.

The key to stifling the skinny, 6-foot-9 Durant?

"Getting into his body and try to alter his shot," Gay said.

With Seattle trying to rally from a 98-94 deficit with 2:14 left, Durant charged down the lane into Brian Cardinal for a key offensive foul. Durant pounded the floor with his hands and stomped away in protest of the call.

It was perhaps the first sign of outward emotion from the rookie who has been mostly quiet through this opening free fall. The Sonics play Utah, a playoff team last season, at home on Friday in an attempt to avoid tying their franchise-worst start from 1969.

Carlesimo, who called allowing Memphis 21 offensive rebounds "atrocious," again stressed patience. Yet he also said the status quo is a no-go.

"We're learning. It's a hard way to learn," he said. "We've going to start making some changes, looking at different rotations."

Durant said fatigue had nothing to do with his night, but his coach thought it did.

"I think the three-in-four had something to do with it, the back-to-back had something to do with it. Some of it was the defense they played," Carlesimo said.

"I'm saying this all the time: He's 19. He's five games into his career. There are veterans that have nights like this."

One night after blowing a 20-point lead and losing at Sacramento, Seattle pulled to 100-98 with 48 seconds left on Durant's fifth and sixth consecutive free throws in the last 2:14. But then they let Lowry get free -- twice -- on the decisive possession.

Mike Miller added 20 points for Memphis, which is playing three games in four days on its initial trip. The Grizzlies didn't always follow Iavaroni's pregame hope for smarter, simpler play on offense and often ran wildly down the floor into missed shots. But they erased a 14-point deficit early in the second half with a 23-8 run.

Gay, who made just three of his first 12 shots, ended the spurt with a fadeaway that put the Grizzlies ahead 74-73. Consecutive three-point plays by Gay, Pau Gasol and Lowry in the final 1:20 of the third quarter gave Memphis an 87-81 lead entering the final period.

Game notes
One night after scoring 32 points in 31 minutes off the bench, Wally Szczerbiak scored just six for Seattle. ... Sonics C Robert Swift started for the second consecutive night, a milestone after a preseason of tendinitis in his surgically repaired right knee that caused him to miss all of last season. "Four (games) in five days is going to be another matter," he said with a smile. Then he looked tired, got in early foul trouble and finished with five fouls and four points. ... Grizzlies F-C Stromile Swift missed the game with a sore neck and shoulders. Iavaroni said he is day-to-day. ... Sonics F-C Kurt Thomas, who has yet to play a game this season, got his strained right hamstring tested and learned there is no structural damage.