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Durant helps Sonics snap long losing streak

Jan 30, 2008 - 6:37 AM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Kevin Durant and the Seattle SuperSonics finally got back into the win column at the expense of the defending NBA champions.

Durant had 26 points, including the late go-ahead jumper, to go along with seven rebounds and five assists as the Sonics snapped a 14-game losing streak with an 88-85 victory over the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

Chris Wilcox had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Nick Collison added 14 and 10 for Seattle, which won for the first time in 2008 after going 0-13 to start the month of January.

"It felt like we won the championship," Durant said of his team's triumphant return to their locker room after the game. "It was a great win for us. It was something to build upon. I think this was the first game where we played with great energy for 48 minutes."

The contest was close throughout with seven ties and 11 lead changes and, after one free throw from Manu Ginobili, the score was tied at 82-82 with 75 seconds remaining.

Wilcox made a fadeaway jumper to give Seattle an 84-82 lead before Ginobili answered with a 3-pointer from straightaway to give the Spurs an 85-84 advantage with 43 seconds remaining.

But Durant responded with an 18-foot jumper near the top of the key to give Seattle the lead for good with 32 seconds to play.

"It was a great win for them," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "They made shots down the stretch and often times in games that's what it's about, making shots, and they did it."

Fabricio Oberto missed a short shot and, after Luke Ridnour made a pair of free throws, Ginobili missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the game with five seconds to play.

It was the third straight loss for the Spurs, who were without starting point guard Tony Parker. Parker's return has yet to be determined with bone spurs in his right heel, but Popovich said after the game it might be a while before he is back.

Popovich refused to blame the absence of Parker for the loss.

"That's irrelevant," Popovich said. "That had nothing to do with it. Teams lose, guys and have nicks all the time. The Sonics played the Spurs and the Sonics won. That's the bottom line."

But Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo, who was an assistant on Popovich's staff for five seasons, said Parker's absence was a key factor in the victory.

"We took advantage of the situation with these guys back-to-back (games) and playing without Tony Parker, both of which are big plusses for us," Carlesimo said.

Unlike their previous two games, when they scored 14 and 18 points, respectively, the Sonics generated some first-period offense, but wound up trailing the Spurs, 26-25, at the end of one, despite 11 points from Durant.

San Antonio led by two at the half with Duncan contributing 14 points and eight rebounds while Ginobili had 16 points.

Johan Petro blocked Ginobili's short jumper with seven seconds left, then raced down court to put back a miss by Earl Watson with a crashing dunk as the half came to an end.

"We're not playing good," Ginobili said. "The worst part is with the kind of record we have now and the way we're playing, I don't see that we're playing with a sense of urgency."

Tim Duncan scored five points during a 9-2 spurt that gave the Spurs a 57-48 advantage with 7:20 left in the third, but Seattle again fought back and took a 69-66 bulge on Petro's jumper with 8:57 left in the game.

San Antonio responded with an 11-2 run to take a 77-71 lead and held a small advantage until the final two minutes of the contest.

Ginobili had 29 points and seven assists and Duncan had 27 and 12 rebounds for the Spurs, who had won six straight against the Sonics coming into the game.

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