The Seattle SuperSonics knew this would be a rebuilding year, but they probably didn't expect it to be quite as rocky as it is now.
The SuperSonics will be trying to avoid their longest single-season losing streak in more than 35 years on Friday when they visit another struggling team, the Memphis Grizzlies.
Seattle (9-29) lost 123-92 to New Orleans on Wednesday for its second eight-game losing streak of the season. The SuperSonics also opened the season with eight straight defeats after losing their last five games of 2006-07.
However, Seattle has not dropped nine in a row in a single season since Oct. 29-Nov. 15, 1972.
"We were playing a really good team on a night when they were playing really well," Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said Wednesday. "We didn't come close to matching New Orleans' intensity. They played more aggressively and they deserved to win the game."
The Grizzlies (10-28), meanwhile, lost their fifth straight on Tuesday, falling 132-124 in overtime to Cleveland. Memphis, which has dropped five in a row for the third time, will try to avoid matching its longest losing streak of the season, set Dec. 3-14.
The Grizzlies have dropped all three of their overtime games and are 1-9 in games decided by three points or less.
"Once again, it's a tough game to get over, losing these game by a couple of possessions," said rookie guard Mike Conley, who had a career-best 20 points. "I thought we fought hard. We got the game back into overtime. We started off overtime pretty well, but they just kept fighting back at us and got the ball to bounce their way a couple of times."
Seattle and Memphis own two of the three worst records in the Western Conference. Only Minnesota, at 5-32, has a worse mark.
The Grizzlies have won six of nine against the Sonics, including both meetings this season.
"We have to go after them," said Memphis' Rudy Gay, who had 30 points, about the Sonics. "Kevin Durant's a guy who's going to get and take a lot of shots. We have to come ready to play."
Durant leads all NBA rookies with 19.8 points per game and had 20 against the Hornets. He has scored in double figures in seven straight games.
Earl Watson added 17 and 11 assists for the Sonics, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games.
"We definitely got off to a slow start and we couldn't recover," forward Chris Wilcox said. "It made a big difference down the stretch."
Pau Gasol had 19 points and 12 rebounds on Tuesday for the Grizzlies, who let LeBron James score a season-high 51 points. Center Darko Milicic left the game just before the half with right knee soreness and did not return.
"I hurt it a few games ago. Tonight I felt something pop," said Milicic, who is averaging 6.5 points and 5.7 rebounds. "The doctors are unsure on how serious it is, but I'll have an MRI tomorrow, and we'll see how it goes."
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