Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.
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January 14, 2008 11:11 PM
Posted by Percy Allen
What a game.
First let's start with the criticisms. Just read a post from the game thread and Dump PJ said Carlesimo made a mistake when the Sonics didn't go 2-for-1 in overtime. That's fair criticism and Carlesimo talked about that after the game. Seattle had the ball with 45.9 seconds left in a 121-121 tie, but waited until 26.9 seconds before taking a shot.
If they had shot earlier in the shot clock, then they would have had more than 4.3 seconds to run a play on their final possession.
But I don't think Carlesimo is intentionally losing these games. Mismanaging the clock is a minor slip and that could happen to anybody. Besides, I'm not sure if other coahes wouldn't have done the same thing.
And if you had seen him afterwards, you'd know he wasn't tanking that game. The man was exhausted during post-game interviews. All the blood had rushed from his face. He looked ashen and deflated. Trust me, nobody wants to lose these types of games. I'm not suggesting some NBA teams don't try as hard as they could, but this wasn't one of those times.
Now for some positive signs.
We know Nick Collison (24 points and 18 rebounds) is capable of these types of games and Kurt Thomas (16 points and 9 rebounds) and Chris Wilcox (12 points and 9 rebounds) played well, but I think we discovered a lot about Jeff Green and maybe figured out the point guard situation for this season.
Even though Green took most of the abuse in Kobe Bryant's 48-point night, the rookie played exceptionally well early in the game when he was aggressive offensively with dribble drives to the basket. I still don't see the passing skills that scouts raved about and his outside shot needs plenty of work, but he's a beast when he's active on the glass and running in transition.
Speaking of running in transition, Luke Ridnour reminded many why he was the starting point guard. He finished with 11 assists and 10 points on 5-for-12 shooting. The Sonics also scored 21 fastbreak points largely because Ridnour increased the tempo.
I asked Carlesimo before the game if he was going to start Ridnour for a long stretch at some point this season and the coach said yes. He also said, it was more important that he sees Ridnour on the floor with certain players such as Durant, Green and Thomas.
Ridnour nearly ruined his night by dribbling too long in possessions late in the game and throwing up some wild shots, but he committed just one turnover and held his ground against Derek Fisher (12 points).
Damien Wilkins isn't likely to see much playing time in the near future. He played five seconds and Delonte West has got to figure out how he can be effective with limited minutes. Tonight he had more turnovers (three) than points (two), which is never good.
All in all a solid effort in a game that could have gone either way.
For those who weren't there, it was probably the most electric KeyArena has been all season. Not sure if the enthusiasm translated to television, but the crowd was crazy for only 13,452.
I'm curious if the Sonics can sustain this effort when they begin a four-game road trip in New Orleans on Wednesday. It would be a shame to let this momentum go away.
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