Sonics Set Record, Lost 14th Straight GamePosted: Updated:
SEATTLE, Wash - Kevin Martin stood with his hand in the air, teammates racing toward him to celebrate, after he joined Kobe Bryant and Tracy McGrady in adding to the Seattle SuperSonics' misery with some late-game theatrics.
The Sonics' record-setting 14th straight loss, thanks to Martin, might be the most painful, and there is no end to the skid in sight.
Martin scored Sacramento's final five points, including a frantic race the length of the court for a 20-footer as the clock expired, and the Kings extended Seattle's losing ways Sunday night with a 103-101 win.
"They all (stink), all 14 of them," Seattle's Damien Wilkins said. "There are no moral victories. We worked too hard for that. We're trying to win."
It was the third time during the Sonics' franchise-worst losing streak that Seattle watched someone take over the waning seconds to prolong their woeful season. Bryant did it with an overtime game-winner a couple of weeks back, and McGrady returned to his old form last week to rally Houston from a late deficit.
Sunday night was Martin's turn, capping his 26-point night with the game-winner. After Wilkins pulled Seattle even on a challenged 3-pointer over John Salmons with 6.1 seconds left, Sacramento opted not to call its last timeout. Instead, Martin took the inbound pass, dribbled through traffic and into the deep corner.
With Wilkins' arms outstretched, Martin leaned in and swished the jumper, giving the Kings their first road win against a Western Conference team this season.
Officials reviewed the call to make sure the ball left Martin's hand before the buzzer, and the Sonics remained on the court, hopeful of getting a chance at overtime and snapping their skid. But it was clear Martin got the shot off in time, concluding a wild final few minutes.
"Nobody wanted to go into overtime," Martin said. "We just wanted to get this over with and get back to (Sacramento) as early as possible."
Kevin Durant led Seattle with 19 points, but missed 15 of his 20 shots, and Wally Szczerbiak added 16. Seattle has yet to win in 2008 and didn't help its cause by missing 10 free throw attempts.
Seattle is now one behind Miami's 15-game losing skid that the Heat snapped on Saturday. Now the question is when will Seattle break the streak, with upcoming games against San Antonio, Cleveland, New York and Chicago to close out its homestand.
"When you've lost as many as we have it's tough to go home at night," Durant said. Martin was one of seven Kings in double figures. He appeared to give the Kings the lead for good with an improbable tip-in with 17 seconds left for a 101-96 lead, but Sacramento needed Martin's heroics at the end.
After Martin's leaner was blocked out of bounds with 1 second left on the shot clock, Ron Artest lobbed a pass to the middle of the key that Martin tipped over the front of the rim while falling backward and being face guarded by Kurt Thomas.
Durant scored for Seattle, then fouled Martin, who made just one of the two free throws. Wilkins answered with his 3-pointer, setting the stage for Martin's game-winner.
"The one hander ... I think I closed my eyes on that one," Martin said.
Brad Miller and Mike Bibby both added 13 for Sacramento, which concluded a stretch with six of seven on the road. The Kings now play their next five at home.
As with many times during their streak, the Sonics were competitive to the end. Seattle took its first lead of the night at 77-76 on Szczerbiak's leaner in the lane with 10:36 left. Francisco Garcia quickly retook the lead with a deep jumper, Beno Udrih added 3-pointer and two free throws by Artest capped a quick 7-0 Kings run.
Durant's free throw pulled Seattle even again at 91-all, but Artest rattled in an 8-foot fallaway and after a Seattle turnover, Martin hit a 3-pointer late in the shot clock to put the Kings up 96-91 with 1:49 left. Bibby added another jumper and the lead was seven.
But Earl Watson hit just the Sonics' third 3-pointer of the night and two free throws by Thomas with 43 seconds left got Seattle back within 98-96. Thomas finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
"It all hurts and when you play like that it definitely hurts," Durant said.
Notes: Kings F Kenny Thomas was a late addition to the inactive list for the second straight game. His name was initially listed as active, but was later crossed out. ... Kings rookie C Spencer Hawes played his first game in his hometown. Hawes only had to buy about 10 tickets, but his family purchased a suite for friends and family. Hawes checked in to start the second quarter, played 4:46 minutes and scored four points.