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January 8, 2008 4:23 PM

Cleveland game thread

Posted by Percy Allen

IT'S OVER --- Final score: Cleveland 95, Sonics 79. Seattle tied their third-lowest scoring output of the season. Clearly, they've taken several steps backwards in their development. Aside from Durant and maybe Wally Szczerbiak (15 points and 8 rebounds) the Sonics had nobody who stepped up. Disappointing effort.

CHULUPA TIME --- The fans are screaming "Chulupas." One guy just told me that if the Cavs score 92 points, fans are rewarded with the tasty Mexican treat. Cleveland has 90.

DURANT TWEAKS ANKLE --- While shooting a jumper, it looked as if the Soncis rookie came down on a defender's foot and fell to the floor. He limped down the court before the Sonics called timeout. I doubt he'll return. He has 24 points on 10-for-20 shooting and six rebounds.

ANOTHER LOSS LOOMING --- Seattle is down 74-56 heading into the fourth and it would take a miraculous comeback for them to get back into the game. The deficit is the biggest problem, it's the lack of scoring and inability to slow down James who is coming on.

MAKE A POSTER --- Brown had the dunk of his life. Again, you'll see this on ESPN or youtube. He just elevated over Durant and sailed in for a monster dunk. It was amazing.

CRITICAL MISTAKE --- Durant, 6-9, has a consideriable height advantage on Damon Jones, 6-3, and Devin Brown, 6-5. Not sure why the Sonics rookie is floating on the perimeter when he should be in the post and dropping that little baby hook that he's developing. It's times like this that I don't understand what Carlesimo is trying to do.

SPOKE TOO SOON? --- Ok that might change now that West adn Green are back in for Watson and Thomas. We'll see.

BUCKETS TO THE BASKET --- Watch how many plays the Sonics attempt going to the rim. They've become a jump-shooting team. Hardly anyone is going hard to the basket.

LOOKING FOR A SIDEKICK --- Durant is doing it all by himself and it's obvious that he needs help. The kid (and I can call him a kid because he's 19) has taken 18 shots and scored 17 points. Thomas is second with 8.

HALFTIME --- It went from bad to worse to bad again. The Supes began the second quarter down nine and fell behind by 16 (33-17) before mounting a little comeback. They trail 45-33, which ties the season low for first-half points. Green is showing just how green he really is. If he's not scoring in transition, then he's awfully limited. As bad as Cleveland is shooting (37.8 percent) its still hard for Seattle to get their running game going. The Cavs are doing a good job of getting back and protecting the rim and forcing the Sonics to score in the halfcourt.

JAMES SHOWS OFF --- No. 23 has dropped a pair of dunks that you're going to see tonight on ESPN. Makes me wish he'd accept an invitation to the dunk contest along with Dwyane Wade.

THE WEEZY IMPACT --- Without Chris Wilcox, their second leading scorer, the Sonics have yet to receive consistent scoring from anyone besides Durant. Thomas has 8 points so far.

SPURS EX-ASSISTANTS --- Both P.J. Carlesimo and Mike Brown spent time in the San Antonio Spurs organization and in many ways they're using their former team as the model to build their current squads. Defense is the key and Seattle is having great difficulty scoring. They've got just 31 points and need a basket to avoid the lowest scoring half of the season.

ANOTHER SLOW START --- The Sonics trail 24-15 and they're shooting 36.8 percent from the field. Durant is scoreless on three attempts, while James has 10 poitns on 5-for-8 shooting.

AND THEN THERE'S LUKE --- Contrary to published reports, Luke Ridnour's status shouldn't be out indefinitely. Carlesimo said Ridnour felt better today and was going to try and play tonight. He's sitting at the end of the bench and doesn't look as if he's going to play.

WEST AILING --- Coach P.J. Carlesimo wasn't sure if Delonte West would play because "his foot flared up" after Monday's practice in Washington D.C. West checked in a few minutes ago and he appears fine.

STARTING LINEUPS
SONICS
F - Jeff Green
F - Nick Collison
C - Kurt Thomas
G - Kevin Durant
G - Earl Watson

CLEVELAND
F LeBron James
F - Drew Gooden
C - Zydrunas Ilgauskas
G - Sasha Pavlovic
G - Larry Hughes

OFFICIALS: Bennett Salvatore, Jason Phillips and Leroy Richardson

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