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January 31, 2008 11:25 PM

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen

This might be the last time we see Delonte West for awhile barring injuries.

You can't place the fourth-quarter collapse at his feet, but he did little to impress upon the coaching staff that he deserves more minutes. The same holds true for Damien Wilkins and Luke Ridnour who were on the court during the mini-meltdown in which Seattle's 19-point lead (87-68) was reduced to nine (89-80).

Coach P.J. Carlesimo would have liked to play the reserves for the entire period, however, he was forced to bring back the starters who made just enough plays and held off the Cavs who closed to within three points (91-88) in the final three minutes.

It's too bad because West had a nice statistical game (five rebounds and four assists) and Wilkins wasn't horrible. But their inability to score highlighted how valuable Wally Szczerbiak is at times. The reserves couldn't generate points and were unable to draw a foul and get to the line.

Still it's hard to draw firm conclusions in a game in which LeBron James doesn't play. Seattle's 40-point first quarter doesn't mean much nor does the team's 56.4 percent shooting. All of that changes if James is in the game.

Jeff Green made some nice plays and converted 8 of 8 baskets for 17 points to break out of a mini-slump, but he also looked out of control a few times on dribble drives and committed two turnovers.

Kevin Durant displayed his defensive prowess on a pair of blocks against Larry Hughes, but after the first rejection he tried an ill-advised crosscourt pass on a fastbreak that skipped out of bounds for one of his five turnovers.

It was just a disjointed performance by nearly everyone except Kurt Thomas. Gotta love this guy. Every third game, he can bring it and tonight he was fantastic. He finished with 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting, six rebounds, three assists adn three steals in 32:14 minutes.

At 6-9, Thomas is always overmatched in the middle and yet he's able to hold his own against the 7-footers. Watching him bang against Zydrunas Ilgauskas was like watching two grizzlies tussle in the forrest.

No one would ever describe Thomas as swift, however, he made two quick-footed plays in the fourth that helped win the game. With 1:35 left, he blew past Ira Newble for a layup and stepped in front of Daniel Gibson who was driving to the basket for a charge with 8.1 seconds left.

Nearly lost in the game was Chris Wilcox who scored Seattle's first 10 points and perhaps more importantly converted 4 of 4 free throws. The dislcoted pinky isn't bothering him nearly as much any more.

Also, keep an eye on Nick Collison who is wearing a pair of braces that covers his right knee, shin and calf. He underwent and x-ray on his knee several days ago and had to miss Wednesday's practice because of soreness. He appears to walk with a limp, however, it's difficult to tell with Collison because he has a funny stride.


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