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January 14, 2008 7:01 PM

Los Angeles Lakers game thread

Posted by Percy Allen

BRYANT TRACKER --- He's on the bench to start the fourth, but he's got 35. This is an important time for the Sonics who need to stretch their lead while Bryant is out.

THIRD QUARTER --- This is easily the best three quarters the Sonics have played this season. Keep in mind the Lakers played 24 hours earlier and they're without Andrew Bynum, but this is an impressive performance. Carlesimo has six players in double figures with Wally (17 points) leaidn the way. Seattle leads 91-87.

SONICS LEADING --- Durant gave Seattle a 85-83 lead with a leaning layup on a fastbreak. Nice comeback for the Supes.

ENTERTAINING GAME --- When the Sonics play this well, it makes you wonder how they can be so awful at other times. This is one of their best game since beating Toronto. The difference is Green who is being aggressive and taking the ball strong to the rim. Even though they've given up 75 points, the defense hasn't played poorly. Bryant has 29 and let's face it, you're not stopping that guy.

HALFTIME --- The offense is back. Keep in mind, the Sonics scored 70 points in their previous game. In two quarters, they're eight points from that mark, but trail 64-62. Wally Szczerbiak has 14 points, Durant 12 and Thomas 10. Bryant has 21 and former Gonzaga standout Ronny Turiaf 12.

KOBE TRACKER --- Not sure how often we'll suse this item tonight, but he's got 17 with a little over four minutes remaining before halftime.Bryant scored 50 on teh Sonics in their final meeting last season.

AMAZING STAT --- Seattle has eight turnovers. Los Angeles none.

FIRST QUARTER --- Good start for Green, who has eight points on 3-for-5 shooting and Thomas (6 points and three rebounds). Bryant is trying to carry the Lakers by himself. He's got 12 points, but has also taken 11 shots. Sonics lead 29-28.

LOW TURNOUT --- It used to be Bryant was a big enough of a draw to fill KeyArena, however, there's many empty red seats tonight. There's even a lot of empty seats in the lower bowl behind the basket near the Sonics bench. Those are the $72-42 seats. I'm curious what the "official" attendance will be.

ZONING --- The Sonics practiced a box-in-1 zone in Sunday's practice, but they used some type of conventional zone late in the first quarter.

"I MISSED YOU LUKE" --- That was the chant of some guy in the stand when Ridnour checked in.

WEEZY CHECKS IN --- It didn't take Chris Wilcox long to make his presence known. He was on the court for one minute when Watson found him slicing the lane for a layup. Wilcox has missed the past four games with a dislocated right pinky. Still waiting on Luke Ridnour who is also supposed to play tonight.

EARLY SWITCH --- Carlesimo rotated Green on Bryant. It hasn't helped. Bryant drained a long jumper over the rookie. Expect to see at least four players (Damien Wilkins and Delonte West) try to slow down No. 24.

EARLY INDICATOR --- Lamar Odom took it hard at Nick Collison, obviously not fearing Collison or Thomas can block his shot. On LA's third possession, Byrant pumped faked Durant into a silly foul. It was a rookie mistake.

KOBE EXPLOSION --- During his pre-game address with the media, coach P.J. Carlesimo said he was fearful of Bryant going off for one of those dynamic games. With Bynum out and the team tired in the second game of a back-to-back set, Bryant may feel the need to scored 50 points.

NO BYNUM --- Lakers C Andrew Bynum sprained his left knee Sunday night and will miss the next eight weeks, which is good news for the Sonics.

NATIONAL ANTHEM --- I don't normally get excited about the national anthem, but Thelma Houston belted out a nice rendition. Houston is a personal favorite with old-school hits such as "I Will Survive" and "Don't Leave Me This Way."

STARTING LINEUPS
LA LAKERS
F -- Lamar Odom
F -- Luke Walton
C -- Kwame Brown
G -- Kobe Bryant
G -- Derek Fisher

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

Officials: Tom Washington, Sean Corbin and Leroy Richardson

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