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March 5, 2008 9:29 PM

Carlesimo and Marshall clash/Stern comments

Posted by Percy Allen

For the second straight night, the Sonics pull close in the end, but eventually falter in the final minutes. Here's the Associated Press story.

That's a barebone desription, which doesn't include Kevin Durant constantly bickering with officials, another splendid effort from Earl Watson, more misery for Luke Ridnour and Mickael Gelabale, who combined for seven points, and a verbal spat between coach P.J. Carlesimo and Donyell Marshall that will certainly be overblown in tomorrow's papers.

Everyone in the NBA world has been waiting to see if and when Carlesimo would explode again. His temper and use of colorful language has alienated players in past stops at Portland (Rod Strickland) and Golden State (Latrell Sprewell). I thought he's been relatively mellow this season. Well, as mellow as Carlesimo can be.

Late in the second quarter, he verbally dressed down Marshall on the bench for failing to make the proper defesive rotation while defending a pick and roll. Kneeling in front of Marshall, Carlesimo used a few expletives and Marshall, who didn't back down, fired right back at the coach. The whole thing lasted less than a minute.

Afterward, Marshall downplayed everything. "It's nothing," he repeated over and over. And maybe he's right. But it was the first time Carlesimo's rant was witnessed in front of an arena full of spectors this season.

Some final thoughts on the game ...

After making significant strides defensively, the Sonics have taken several steps back in the past two weeks. They've allowed at least 103 points in the past six games. Miwaukee scored 69 points in the first half, which was a season high for a Sonics opponent.

It was good to see Durant verbally spar with the refs. He thought he was playing good defense and they thought he was late getting into position. Durant is a superstar in the making and he needs to assert his will on the game. If that means jawing at officials to earn a little respect then so be it.

Johan Petro collected a career-high 15 rebounds, which is great, but he failed to haul in one offensive rebound and could not slow down Andrew Bogut, who had 21 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four blocks and two steals.

Watson is proving that he's a keeper. When given consistent minutes, he can can produce. And his jumper is getting better. His major drawback is his turnovers. Tonight he had four.

Lastly, Desmond Mason gave reminders why he was a favorite for many Sonics fans. He can do things that few people in the NBA - few people on the planet - can do. He has an amazing leaping ability and watching him elevate is breathtaking. His scoring line tonight was classic Desmond Mason. 16 points, 4-for-4 shooting and 8-for-11 at the FT line. Still, you would think that after all of these years he would fix that broken jump shot. It looks like Charles Barkley's golf swing.

Now for David Stern ...

The Commissioner took in a Portland Trail Blazers game on Tuesday and made himself available for a Q & A with the Oregonian. There's nothing new, but still found it interesting.

Here's an except of the interview.

Q: What's the latest with the Seattle relocation situation?
A: Well, I think I've probably just gotten in trouble in Seattle with the two interviews I did on courtside so I might as well share with you. The latest is, the city said not only we won't contribute, that's owed, but to a Key Arena that we agree needs to be refurbished but we're going to get legislation passed that makes it almost impossible to do it. Requiring us to get a return on our investment and not to make the traditional investment. The state legislature said we understand that the tax that is funding baseball and football is expiring but we're not going to extend it for the benefit of basketball, and in fact you guys ... are paying your players too much and we'd rather give it to the University of Washington or somebody. Which I think are OK responses, but I think they send a pretty clear signal and I think that on that basis the ownership of Seattle petitioned to move to Oklahoma City and they will likely move whenever their lease is over and the court allows them to move. And that's the story.

Q: How do you feel about losing the Seattle market?
A: Not good. We've been there for 41 years. It's been a great market. I guess the question would be: How do the city council and the state legislature feel? It's not a fair question on us.

Q: Do you see a team returning to Seattle in the future?
A: You know, I'm not going to make any predictions or threats. I don't know what else to say.

Q: Do you consider that franchise all but gone right now?
A: Well, it seems to me that, and I said early, if I were the owner and the Speaker of the House told me what he told me and the mayor told me what he told me and the city council told me what they told me, you know, I mean, the House said 'We're not even going to put the bill out. We're not even going to give the legislature an opportunity. So I think it's been unfair the way it's been shifted back to us. Clay Bennett has an asset that he paid good money for, he did a lot of work and spent additional millions on optioning land and doing a variety of other things in anticipation or hope that there would be legislation extending the tax and they said, 'No.' So he applied to move to Oklahoma City.

Q: What makes Oklahoma City such an attractive NBA city?
A: The owners, I'm not going to prejudge it. All I would say is that it has two years of history. It's one of those rare occasions where you have a peek into a city. They sold out the Ford Center for two years with the Hornets and as I stand here they just passed, by a margin exceeding 61 percent, a once cent, the very tax increase that the Speaker of the House said wasn't available from Seattle, just in terms of extension. So they are going to take a building that was adequate and if they get a team, or maybe even if they don't get a team, they are going to bring that into a state-of-the-art arena.

Q: Do you fell you've taken unfair criticism with this?
A: That's what I get paid to do. Maybe I'll put it in a chapter in the book I'm not going to write. But suffice to say, you could expect everyone to start scurrying now that the reality has hit home, get out of here, get out of here, get out of here, we won't help you, Oh now, we didn't mean that. Well, words have meaning and we listen to them very carefully because unlike government, businesses have to make prudent decisions. Government has an opportunity to do nothing ... I don't mean that in a bad way, you don't have to legislate, you don't have to act, you can just sit and do nothing. But businesses have to make plans for the future and in the absence of any movement from the city and the state and the general agreement that the current arena is not the future arena ... there are one of two prospects: Either the court will rule that the Sonics can move after this season or will rule that they have to stay for two more after which they will likely move and there will still be $30 million of bonds (owed) because they bonds exceed the lease term.

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