Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.
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February 24, 2008 9:54 PM
Posted by Percy Allen
A reader (Crow) asked if there's any plans to use Kevin Durant as a small forward in the final 27 games. Well, the short answer is no. The rookie is a shooting guard this season, but coach P.J. Carlesimo believes the positions are interchangeable. Durant does many of the things his critics want. He's often a set shooter in the corner or at the top of the key where he launches that rainbow three-pointer. He also frequently drives to the paint for layups or to draw a foul.
The only thing Durant doesn't do offensively is post up. At 215 pounds, he's physically not strong enough to consistently score beneath the rim. That's not his game right now. As Durant grows, he'll probably mature into a small forward, which makes me wonder what's going to happen with Jeff Green. Will he move to the bench, move to power forward or move to another team?
A few words about tonight's game. As good as the Sonics have been playing lately - they won 6 of 10 before tonight - they are not in the same class as the Los Angeles Lakers.
A Western Conference scout said the way to beat the Lakers is to attack their reserves. He said the Lakers starting five can simply overwhelm opponents with the amount of points they generate. The second unit, however, is smaller with Jordan Farmer, Ronny Turiaf and Sasha Vujacic and vulnerable.
Tonight's game proved what the scout believes is correct.
The Sonics were blown away in the first quarter and trailed 34-18. Seattle made a run in the second quarter and was outscored 28-25 in the period.
The third quarter scoring (a 31-27 Lakers advantage) is a little skewed because Kobe Bryant was ejected with 4 minutes left. And the Sonics managed to outscore LA 21-18 in the fourth when the game was decided and Bryant was in the lockerroom.
Coach P.J. Carlesimo said he was "disappointed" in the game because the Sonics had played well lately. The Lakers, however, are much better than Seattle's past two opponents (Portland and Memphis).
The only Sonics worth noting were Green and reserve swingman Mickael Gelabale.
Green was best when he drove to the rim and elevated for strong layups. He finished with an efficient 15 points on 6-for-9 shooting and eight rebounds. If not for four turnovers, it would have been a really good night for him.
Seattle's brightest star was Gelabale, who finished with a career-best 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting. He also had eight rebounds and no turnovers. The soon-to-be free agent is going to need many more nights like this if he's to get the Sonics brass to seriously consider re-signing him to a long-term deal.
He's difficult to figure out. The rangy small forward is not a three-point threat and doesn't look as if he's trying very hard. But he rarely makes mistakes and never appears rushed or hurried on the court. He plays under control and is an adequate defender.
Gelabale said he intends to play in the NBA next season.
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