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January 3, 2008 11:19 PM

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen

There's two ways to examine tonight's game. If you're the glass-half-full kind of person, then you can say that the team is maturinng. Heck, many teams will lose to Phoenix this season and this wasn't a bad effort. Especially considering the fact that they fell behind 15 in the fourth quarter and could have been blown out.

Or you're a glass-half-empty person and then you say the Supes played just hard enough to lose with dignity. Keep in mind the 104-96 score is identical to their loss to Boston last week. So Seattle managed to play the teams with the best records in the East and West to narrow defeats.

Not sure I buy that. It was clear that Phoenix got complacent in the final minutes, which aided Seattle's comeback bid. Granted, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green scored some big buckets down the stretch. The rookie combo tallied 12 and 8 points respectively in the final frame, but when Phoenix needed to make a basket they turned to Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire while Durant fumbled away two turnovers.

And therein lies the difference between 23-9 and 9-23. Well there's that and about a combined 100 years of experience, which is something that Sonics do not have. Time, however, is on their side.

Also, if you're thinking about the Sonics in the future, keep Nick Collison in the mix. His offense is limited to shaky short jumper and a deceptive baby hook, but he's a rebounding freak. He had 14 rebounds and 7 on the offensive glass. Whatever the bench looks like in next season, Collison should be a part of it.

And take note of Durant's defensive skills. This is a developing story that began several weeks ago, but late in games, he's defending the opponent's best player. Tonight he was at the top of the key spearheading the defense. Durant took the challenge of defending Nash, the NBA's best point guard, and he didn't flinch. In fact, he more than held his own. If not for the assist to Stoudemire, Nash would have gone blanketed in the final four minutes.

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