Kevin Durant's first game-winning shot gave the Seattle SuperSonics their eighth straight win over the Atlanta Hawks. He missed a potential clincher in his last game, and didn't even get a chance in his previous 11 contests.
The Sonics, in danger of setting a team record for consecutive losses, look to continue their recent dominance of the Hawks when the teams conclude their season series Friday night.
Durant's NBA career was just 10 games old when he made a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the end of a second overtime to lift Seattle to a 126-123 win over Atlanta on Nov. 16. That was the Sonics' eighth straight win over the Hawks since a 91-81 loss on Nov. 9, 2003.
On Wednesday night, however, Durant was long on an open 26-footer that would have given Seattle (9-33) a win over Houston. Instead, the Sonics lost 109-107 for their franchise record-tying 12th straight defeat.
"I should have made the shot. I was ready to celebrate," said Durant, the second overall pick in last year's draft.
He didn't have a shot to make a potential game-winner in the previous 11 games, with the Sonics losing each by at least seven points.
Seattle has matched the team-record 12-game skid that began at the end of the 1968-69 season and concluded at the start of 1969-70.
"We've just got to keep our heads up and stick together as a team, and try to find a way to stop this slump that we're in," Sonics center Kurt Thomas said.
Durant, who leads Seattle with 19.4 points per game, ended a mini-slump Wednesday. He had 25 points on 12-of-23 shooting (52.2 percent), making at least half of his attempts from the field for just the third time in 2008. Durant scored a total of 18 points and went 7-for-25 (28.0 percent) from the floor in his previous two games.
Atlanta (17-21), meanwhile, has lost four straight games despite reaching the 100-point mark in each of its last two. The Hawks had won three of four before their slump.
Josh Smith's first career triple-double wasn't enough to help Atlanta avoid a loss in its last game, a 107-100 defeat at Houston on Wednesday night. That was the Hawks' sixth straight road loss since beating Washington 97-92 on Dec. 21.
Atlanta is 5-12 on the road, averaging 88.1 points. But Smith helped the Hawks reach 100 points on the road for the first time this season Wednesday, finishing with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.
The fourth-year forward is averaging 21.0 points, 12.6 rebounds and 7.6 assists in his last three games. He missed November's matchup with Seattle due to a strained left quadriceps.
Joe Johnson had 39 points to lead the Hawks in that game, and is averaging 33.7 in his last three versus the Sonics.
Atlanta's Anthony Johnson added 12 points against the Rockets in his return to the lineup after serving a one-game suspension for a flagrant foul on Toronto's Jose Calderon last week. The Hawks' bench, meanwhile, will get a boost Friday with center Zaza Pachulia set to play after a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.
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