SACRAMENTO -- Reggie Theus remembers some of Sacramento's lean years, when victories were tough to come by. He played here then.
It took until the waning moments Tuesday night for his Kings to finally pull off the first win of his tenure as an NBA coach.
Francisco Garcia hit a go-ahead 3-pointer from the baseline with 29 seconds remaining to lift Sacramento to a 104-98 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics in Theus' Arco Arena debut.
"It's tremendous," Theus said. "I have to admit I kept the ball, and it's important to me. It's important to us as a team more than anything. We needed it in the worst way."
Seattle rookie Kevin Durant shot an airball with about seven seconds left but still finished with 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Sonics, who are 0-4 for the first time in 30 years.
Seattle led by 20 in the first half.
"We all hate losing, and this was a bad one to lose," Durant said. "We were up all game."
Kevin Martin had 31 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Sacramento, which will have another tough test on its home floor Friday against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Theus, dressed to the nines with a navy blue pinstripe suit for big the occasion, had his high school coach, Mike Spalding, in the stands to cheer him on after Spalding made the trip from Southern California.
Garcia, who played for Theus when the coach was an assistant at Louisville, also stripped the ball from Durant late. Garcia's 3 was only his second basket of the night, and he was happy to help Theus to his first NBA coaching win.
"It means a lot, especially at home," Garcia said. "He works so hard."
Wally Szczerbiak scored 32 points for the Sonics and Nick Collison had 12 points and seven rebounds. Szczerbiak scored 18 points in the second quarter as Seattle built a 61-48 halftime lead before shooting 7 for 20 in the third quarter.
John Salmons scored 23 points and did a solid job defending Durant for a Kings lineup missing point guard Mike Bibby, forward Ron Artest and rookie center Spencer Hawes. Salmons' driving layin with 1:02 to play pulled the Kings within 98-97.
"They're twice as athletic as we are," Theus said of Seattle.
Bibby is expected to be sidelined for at least the first six weeks of the season because of a torn ligament in his left thumb, and Hawes is recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
Artest is suspended for the first seven games.
Hawes, the Kings' top draft pick selected 10th overall out of Washington, was scheduled to begin practicing today.
"He's so excited," Theus said. "He was bouncing around. He was on a pogo stick today."