for this game

Martin, Kings hand Sonics 14th straight loss

Jan 28, 2008 - 6:07 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Kevin Martin made sure the Seattle SuperSonics' frustrations continue.

Martin scored 26 points and hit the game-winning shot as time expired to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 103-101 victory over the SuperSonics on Sunday night.

Rookie Kevin Durant finished with 19 points for Seattle, which suffered its 14th straight loss. The Sonics have not won since December 29.

"Each game, we are getting better and better and closer and closer, but we always end up short and it is tough to go home at night and think about that," Durant said of the Sonics' skid.

After Damien Wilkins hit an amazing 3-pointer from the left wing with seven seconds left to tie the contest at 101-101, Martin took the ball down the court and stumbled at the free-throw line before regaining possession and hitting the fallaway shot with no time left.

"I knew that with six seconds left if we just got it in, they couldn't set their defense and I could go all the way to the rim, but Kurt Thomas got up there and I had to settle for a jumper," Martin said of his game-winning effort. "It was just a normal shot and hopefully it goes in and it went in."

Kings coach Reggie Theus, who earned his first NBA victory when his team defeated the Sonics in November, could breathe a sigh of relief after this one.

"It was a gutsy win on our part," Theus said after the Kings had gone 0-10 on the road against Western Conference teams before pulling out the victory. "(Wilkins) made a great shot and we just had to come back and do something."

It appeared that Martin had sealed the victory with 20 ticks left when he tapped in Ron Artest's inbound pass to give Sacramento a 100-96 edge. Seattle forward Chris Wilcox blocked Martin's attempt out of bounds with one second remaining on the shot clock but Martin still converted on Artest's lob toward the hoop.

"It was a great pass and Kevin just made a phenomenal athletic play," Theus said.

On the Sonics' ensuing possession, Durant missed a running jumper but put back in his own rebound. He then fouled Martin with 11 seconds left, putting the Kings' best free throw shooter at the line.

Martin, however, missed the first attempt and left the door open for Seattle. After Martin's second shot gave Sacramento a 101-98 lead, Wilkins received the inbound pass and, despite heavy defensive pressure, knocked down the game-tying shot from the arc.

"I had some great looks, but I just have to knock them down," said Durant, who was only 5-of-20 shooting. But he did contribute five assists and three steals while going 9-of-10 from the free throw line to aid the Sonics' effort.

The Sonics trailed for much of the contest until Wally Szczerbiak connected on a 3-pointer with 4:22 remaining to take an 89-86 edge.

Brad Miller hit a jump shot and Mike Bibby knocked down a 3-pointer to restore the Kings' advantage to 91-89 with 3:35 left, but Durant tied it with a pair of free throws at the 2:48 mark.

Artest hit a fadeaway shot 18 seconds later and Martin buried shot from the arc with 1:55 left to give Sacramento a 96-91 lead. The Kings looked to be in complete control with 80 seconds to play after Bibby's catch-and-shoot extended the lead to 98-91.

Earl Watson then hit a 3-pointer and Thomas added a pair of free throws to pull the Sonics to 98-96 with 44 ticks left.

Miller finished with 13 points, 12 rebounds and five assists and Bibby added 13 points and six assists for the Kings, who avoided a third straight defeat.

Szczerbiak had 16 points and Thomas collected 15 and 10 rebounds for Seattle, which has yielded at least 95 points in all but one game during its current slide.

The Sonics rallied in the third quarter to cut the lead to 74-73 by the end of the period as Szczerbiak drained a pair of free throws with one minute remaining.

Szczerbiak, who scored a season-high 32 points the last time the teams met on November 6, hit an 18-foot jumper to give Seattle a 77-76 lead with 10:36 left in the fourth. The Kings, however, reeled off seven straight points - including a 3-pointer by Beno Udrih - to regain the lead 83-78 with 9:03 left.

Bibby hit a 3-pointer with 5:06 left in the first half to give the Kings a 43-30 lead. But the Sonics, with the help of a couple of jump shots by Durant and Szczerbiak's 3-pointer, closed the gap to 54-48 at the intermission.

The Sonics, who scored just 14 points in the first quarter of their previous game against the Atlanta Hawks, once again got off to a slow start with 18 points in the opening period on 8-of-24 shooting.

Meanwhile, after Sacramento jumped out to a quick 5-0 start, former Sonic Mikki Moore contributed six points to help the Kings grab a 25-18 advantage at the end of the opening quarter.