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Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.

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November 30, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen at 11:11 PM

In their past two wins, the Sonics have needed a career-high 41 points from Damien Wilkins and a career-best 35 from Kevin Durant. Even still, this win felt different than the 126-123 double overtime win against Atlanta on Nov. 16. Back then, Wilkins was the whole show. Tonight, it was a collective effort.

And more important, the defense led the way. Can't harp on this enough, but when the Sonics play defense like this, they're a decent bunch capable of winning their share of games.

To be sure, the Pacers missed several open three-pointers in the fourth quarter. But the Sonics negated Indiana's interior attack. It helped that F Jermaine O'Neal was obviously rusty after missing 5 games because of a sore left knee. He scored 12 points and had 10 points, but essentially he was a non-factor while Kurt Thomas played big.

Keep an eye on him. Coach P.J. Carlesimo certainily is monitoring his minutes, which is a little troubling. Carlesimo said tonight that he doesn't want to lean too heavily on Thomas, which means don't expect him to play more than 30 minutes. Tonight he logged 28:31 and that's about his max. Still it was enough time for him to collect 18 rebounds and secure the middle.

And it helps when reserve C Johan Petro can add positive minutes. He wasn't great, but then he doesn't have to be. Forget the 6 points and 5 rebounds, the best thing he did was block three shots. I'll take the block shots more than the scoring any day from him.

It was also interesting to listen to Carlesimo talk about the point guards as a tandem when accessing their performance. Rather than say Earl did this or Delonte did that, he said: "Our guards gave us 16 assists and just 2 turnovers." Watson played a better floor game and unless West makes dramatic strides in the next week or so, he'll likely return to a backup role.

And lastly, there's Durant. I wrote the other day that he needs to make the game easier for teammates in the first three quarters and take over in the fourth. Well, tonight he scored 10 of Seattle's final 12 points, including seven from the line.

Indiana game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 8:21 PM

BIG NIGHT FOR DURANT --- The rookie finished with a career high 35 points on 12 of 20 shooting. He also sank 8 of 12 FTs and had 5 rebounds, which negated his 7 turnovers. Gotta run now and check out the post-game press conference, but I'll file some notes after writing the game story for the paper.

GOOD WIN --- Durant came up big in the fourth quarter. He took over in the end as the Sonics witthstood a blistering attack from Jamaal Tinsley who almost led a comeback. The Sonics win 95-93 and improve to 3-14.

FOURTH QUARTER LEAD --- Seattle is up 70-65.

UNDER 100? --- Unless the Sonics give up a 35-point fourth quarter (which is quite possible), the will hold Indiana under 100 points, which is something they've done in just two other games. The Sonics are allowing 108.5 points per game so anything less than 100 is impressive. Indiana is averaging 102.9. Still keep in mind, the Supes gave up 37 fourth quarter points to the Clippers on Nov. 4.

NICE BLOCKS --- Johan Petro and Durant had a pair of nice blocks on the same defensive possession. The sequence ended with Durnat knocking down a 15-foot jumper that gave Seattle a 68-64 lead. Petro and Durant each have 3 blocks.

THEY'RE CLICKING --- Kevin Durant has a game-high 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting, Kurt Thomas has a game-high 12 rebounds and Earl Watson has a game-high 7 assists. Seattle is shooting 45% from the field and has connected on 66.7% (4 of 6) of its treys. That's a great start that explains why they're leading 49-48.

FIRST QUARTER --- Late start for me guys. My apologies. I'm working double duty today as the Storm beat writer and had to write the Anne Donovan resignation story. Anyway, I'm back at it and the Sonics it appears as if the Sonics are competitive early on. They essentially played Indiana even in the first quarter and trailed by just two points (24-22) after 12 mintues. This is a very winnable game, partly because Indiana is starting a rusty Jermaine O'Neal and partly because the Supes are getting contributions from nine players.

November 29, 2007

Cool video

Posted by Percy Allen at 9:16 PM

Got this email tonight and thought I'd pass it along. The person sent me a link to this video:

The email ended with "Sonics fans are ready to fight for the team. Save our Sonics!!"

By the way, I spoke with Clay Bennett's spokesman this afternoon. Turns out Bennett was in town to watch the game. I asked if there was anything new on the arena front and was told no.

I heard Bennett met with city officials, but Bennett's spokesman said that's not true. He said "Clay makes good use of his time" while he's in Seattle. I'm assuming that means he had a briefing with attorneys on their fight to break the KeyArena lease.

As for the Sonics, well they had a very light practice today. When the media arrived at 1 p.m. all of the players were off the court and we were told practice ended 45 minutes earlier than expected.

For a 2-14 team, they sure take a lot of days off. By my unofficial count, that's about five abbreviated or canceled practices in the first month.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo came down from his office in street clothes and spoke for about 18 minutes. He answered six questions ranging from his point guards, the Sonics 0-7 record at KeyArena, Kevin Durant's role in the offense and Wally Szczerbiak's improved performances.

I was curious about Durant and asked Carlesimo if he ever envisioned the offense running through the rookie much like Cleveland relies on LeBron James or how Tracy McGrady directs Houston's offense.

Listen to Carlesimo describe his vision of Durant and the offense.

And here's an interesting audio clip of the follow-up question. Carlesimo hints to his demise, which might be a bit of foreshadwing or maybe he was just being real. Basically he talked about Durant playing for other coaches in his NBA career and how they might use him.

As for Wally, he'll remain a reserve even though he's playing well lately.

Luke Ridnour is about 10-14 days away from practicing and Carlesimo refused to throw the PGs underneath the bus. He's not happy with how Delonte West and Earl Watson are playing, but he declined to mention them by name when discussing the team's problems.

One final note on the guy who suffered the seizure during Wednesday's game. Somebody asked about his condition. I was told by a police officer after the game that he was ok. They didn't have any more details than that. The officer said the seizure was caused by the strobe lighting inside the arena.

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen at 12:29 AM

This was a game between two teams going in opposite directions. Seattle is 2-14 and Orlando is 14-3.

I like Kevin Durant, but Dwight Howard is exhibit No. 1 why the NBA places a premium value on centers and why the Durant-Greg Oden debate was never much of a debate in my mind. When you have a chance to take a dominant center, you always take the dominant center. Sure there's a chance Oden will turn into Charlotte's Emeka Okafor, but there's also a chance he can become a beast like Howard so you take the risk.

Howard is the real deal. And he's 21.

What's interesting to note here is how the Magic are building their team around him. It's clear they have an identity that begins with Howard. They've' surrounded him with shooters in Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Keith Bogans, Maurice Evans, JJ Redick and Brian Cook. When Howard forces a double team, he passes out to the perimeter for a three-pointer.

Orlando took 30 treys tonight and sank 10.

The Magic built this team through the draft, free agency and trades. Howard and Jameer Nelson are the only draftees who see a lot of action. Nelson came in a draft-day trade, but Orlando is his first and only team and the team basically drafted him. Folks thought GM Otis Smith was an idiot for giving Lewis $118M, but if the Magic make it to the Eastern Conference Finals then he'll look like a genius. Even though Smith committed about $250M of owner Rich DeVos money to Lewis and Howard, who got an extension, the Magic are under the luxury tax this season. Next season they're over the threshold and in two years they'll have to figure out what to do with Turkoglu.

But for now, the roster, starters and rotation is set. Carlos Arroyo and Jameer Nelson are the PGs, Bogans, Evans and Redick are the SGs, Turkoglu, Lewis and Cook rotate at F and Howard and Adonal Foyle man the post. The symmetry is flawless.

Only four players remain from Howard's rookie season in 2004-05. Keep this in mind as the Sonics mature. This year is not about wins and losses. It's about Durant's development, identifying the one or two players who will stick with the club and the players the front office can use as trade bait as the trading deadline nears and establishing an identity.

The Sonics have no identity partly because their best player - Durant - has no idea what type of NBA player he wants to be. It's nice to see him try to take over games in the late stages as he has this week, however, the stats I look at first for him are FG attempts, FT attempts and assists-to-turnover ratio.

Tonight he took 21 shots and scored 22 points. That's not efficient. He also took a career high 10 FTs, which is fantastic. He also had four assists and two turnovers. Not bad. He's best as a playmaker rather than a jump shooter. That's the next stage of his development.

Durant has got to learn how to set up his teammates in the early stages of the game and then know when to take over in the end. He's got to make the game easier for teammates. Just once, I'd like to see him throw an alley-oop pass to Chris Wilcox or figure out how to coax points from his PGs. Durant has got to take ownership of this team. Right now, he's just playing, which is OK because he's just 16 games into his NBA career. He'll figure it out. The good ones do and he's pretty good.

What's a little disturbing is the slow and uneven development of Jeff Green, who has yet to find a place on the floor offensively where he's comfortable. I'm not sure if he's a post-up player, slasher or shooter. He tries to do it all, but he's got to develop something consisent that he knows will work.

Time will tell, but the Sonics may have been premature in dealing Ray Allen for the No. 5 pick. GM Sam Presti told me back then that he didn't believe he could get a top five pick for Allen in 2008 and felt it was wise to maximize his potential in a deep draft.

Well next year is considered a deep draft as well and wouldn't it be nice to have two lottery picks. Imagine taking Memphis G Derrick Rose No. 1 or No.2 then taking a gamble on a big man like Georgetown C Roy Hibbert later in the lottery. The Supes have two picks, but one will certainly not be a lottery pick.

November 28, 2007

Orlando game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:17 PM

HOWARD NEARING CAREER HIGH --- His best is 35 points. He's got 30 after three quarters and Seattle trails 83-68. The Sonics are shooting 35.9 percent from the field. They just can't generate offense. The ball isn't moving. They have nobody to create a double team or run the pick 'n roll.

HOWARD VS SONICS --- The Orlando center has attempted twice as many FT as Seattle. He's connected on 12 of 16. The Sonics are 4 for 8. Hedo Turkoglu (10 points) is the only other Magic in double digit scoring.

REDICK SHOWS UP --- Orlando guard J.J. Redick scored his first points of the season on - you guessed it - a three-pointer late in the first quarter. Redick then added a layup. He's got 5 points on 2-for-3 shooting.

WALLY TO THE RESCUE --- If not for Wally Szczerbiak's 13 first-half points, this game wouldn't be close. The Sonics trail 57-45 largely because Howard is a monster. He's nearly got a double double already. He's got 20 points and 9 rebounds. Durant is struggling. He's still stuck on 7 points.

LEWIS GETS LUKEWARM RECEPTION --- Forgot to mention that when Rashard Lewis was introduced, he received a smatteirng of applause. I know someone wrote that they were going to boo the guy - and I believe fans have the right to cheer or boo - but I didn't hear any boos. Also that pregame tribute for Lewis was given by the Ronald McDonald House. The Sonics had very little, if anything, to do with that.

SEA OF RED --- Plenty of empty seats tonight. I'll be curious what the "official" attendance will be. My guess, 13K and change.

HOWARD HAVING HIS WAY --- Orlando big man Dwight Howard has 12 points on 2-4 shooting. He's also 8-for-8 at the FT line and Orlando leads 30-24 after the first quarter. The Magic have just four assists. Sonics swingman Kevin Durant has taken 7 shots and scored 7 points.

SCARY MOMENT --- Minutes before the start of the game, a fan suffered what appeared to be a seizure in the second row of the stands near the Orlando bench. Paramedics were called and the man was taken out of the building on a stretcher. Several Magic players watched the entire event unfold. No word on the condition of the fan or his identity.

BENNETT IN THE HOUSE --- Bumped into Sonics owner Clay Bennett in the hallways. We talked more the Oklahoma-Missouri game than anything else. I asked why he was in Seattle and Bennett said to watch the game. He didn't talk about any arena issues and I'm not sure if he'll meet with city leaders while he's in town.

Collison update

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:16 PM

Nick Collison fractured his right nasal wall and will miss the next three games. He'll be re-evaluated Tuesday.

Kurt Thomas is starting tonight. The other starters are guards Delonte West and Kevin Durant and fowards Damien Wilkins and Chris Wilcox.

The officials are: Ken Mauer, Derrick Stafford and Zach Zarba.

Recognizing Rashard

Posted by Percy Allen at 4:08 PM

If you're going to tonight's game, get there early because the Sonics will pay tribute to Orlando forward Rashard Lewis who spent his first nine seasons in Seattle before being traded this summer.

The festivities should begin about 8 minutes before the 7 p.m. tipoff. The Sonics will recognize Lewis' off the court charitable work as much as his contributions on the court.

Lewis established a foundation in Seattle and he was a big supporter of the Ronald McDonald House, donating a $125,000 movie theater in 2003 that bears his name. The facility is an apartment complex near Children's Hospital for patients afflicted with various medical conditions and their families. In 2004, Lewis took about 80 kids at the house on a holiday shopping spree.

The Sonics not only traded away their all-time fourth leading scorer months ago, they severed a strong tie to the community. Rookie Kevin Durant is trying to continue a charitable legacy that guys like Lewis, Detlef Schrempf, Gary Payton, Slick Watts, Ray Allen and others started.

November 27, 2007

More on Collison

Posted by Jayda Evans at 11:46 PM

Sonics forward Nick Collison was upbeat as he spoke with general manager Sam Presti and assistant GM Scott Perry after the game. It's a possible break, but coach P.J. Carlesimo said he doesn't expect Collison to play Wednesday against Orlando. That moves Johan Petro back into the rotation.

Petro has missed the past three games with a lower back strain, but said he feels fine. Carlesimo plans to give him a solid practice at Wednesday's shootaround and play him if needed against the Magic.

"Johan will hopefully be OK," Carlesimo said. "We're trying to work him out, and if he feels good, he'll be available. I doubt very much that Nick will be available. It'll be a chance for Mo [Mouhamed Sene] to get some minutes, too."

Carlesimo felt his big men were manhandled in an exhibition game against the Lakers in October and liked the improved effort tonight. But it seems the coach can't get the rotations right because of inconsistent play by everyone.

"We need to identify who the people are who can score when you're in one of those [scoring] droughts," Carlesimo said. "Somebody that is going to make a strong shot or get to the rim or make a free throw. We've had some uneven performances. A guy is playing really well in the first half and then when we continue to go to it in the second half, we don't get the same production."

Collison out

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:26 PM

Sonics forward Nick Collison is out for the game with a possible broken nose after being fouled by Kobe Bryant with 2:31 remaining in the third quarter. He's being examined by a Lakers doctor now and will be re-examined upon return to Seattle.

Collison was replaced by Mouhamed Sene, a Lakers coach Phil Jackson pick, who wanted the second-year center to shoot Collison's free throws. Sene made 1 of 2.

Stargazing

Posted by Jayda Evans at 8:46 PM

The celebs are out tonight at the Sonics' game against LA. Actress Lindsay Lohan passed the press table twice while Don Cheadle ("Ocean's Thirteen") is seated baseline adjacent to the Sonics' bench. Jack Nicholson is here, of course, and new Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter is making the rounds at halftime.

West starting

Posted by Jayda Evans at 7:07 PM

Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo moving Delonte West into the starting lineup is nothing more than part of the plan the staff intended to execute early in the season. Watson has been the healthiest guard since the opening of training camp in October and has received majority of the opportunities to start during exhibition games and for 12 of the Sonics' 14 regular-season games, accumulating a 2-10 record.

West has finished most games as of late because he has played better during the course of the game, although both West and Watson have a tendency to turn the ball over in critical situations.

Center Kurt Thomas will remain in the starting lineup, making his second consecutive appearance there. Damien Wilkins, Chris Wilcox, and rookie Kevin Durant round out the opening five.

Tonight's officials are Scott Foster, James Capers, and Eric Lewis.

I'm with the team!

Posted by Jayda Evans at 6:58 PM

Security around the Staples Center is tight. So serious, players and coaches were denied access to their designated areas unless they showed the door guards a pass. Unfortunately for Sonics assistant coach Paul Westhead, he didn't have a pass.

But should a man who won the organization a championship in 1980 really need a pass? Westhead didn't think so.

"I've been here for 30 years," said Westhead. "I used to coach this team!"

The guard let him through, but Lance Allred, who plays for the Seattle's D-League affiliate, the Idaho Stampede, wasn't as lucky. He had to call out for teammates and coaches to verify he was indeed with the team and could enter the secure area.

"I'm just doing my job," the door guard told both.

No doubt.

November 26, 2007

Wally Z wakes up

Posted by Percy Allen at 4:42 PM

It's looking like every 10 games or so, Wally Szczerbiak is able to muster enough chutzpah for a big scoring night. He piled up 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting in 28 minutes in Sunday's 116-101 defeat to San Antonio. Here's the box score.

Wally is the only Sonic who has been a star in the NBA. The one-time All-Star is capable of scoring in bunches, but he's been held to fewer than 10 points in nine games. Wally exploded for 32 points on Nov. 5 against Sacramento, but he says he's adjusting to his new role as a reserve. He's averaging 10.3 points, well below his career average 15.4.

Admittedly, Wally is more comfortable as a starter, but not sure if two strong outings will be enough to dislodge Damien Wilkins.

The Sonics flew to Los Angeles today for Tuesday's game against the Lakers. We'll have coverage from Jayda Evans.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo did not make the team available to the media today as Seattle had what was described as a "brief" practice because of its high number of injuries.

Not much to note, except another possible change in the starting lineup. Nick Collison will get the nod at center if Kurt Thomas has any setbacks with his sore right hamstring that has allowed him to play in just five games. When Thomas is healthy, he starts, but it will be interesting to see if he can play Tuesday and Wednesday.

The game between Seattle (2-12) and LA (7-6) pits teams desperately seeking a win. The Supes have lost four straight and Los Angeles is riding a three-game losing streak. Here's a link to a Los Angeles Times story of their loss to New Jersey on Sunday.

The Sonics have five consecutive games at KeyArena when they return, beginning Wednesday with the Orlando Magic and Rashard Lewis. The homestand is the third longest of the season.

November 25, 2007

Sonics-Spurs wrap-up

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:58 PM

A mixture of being tired of losing and playing hard for coach P.J. Carlesimo against his former team in San Antonio made for an interesting night. But as Carlesimo said so succinctly, "It's a loss."

Highlights were Kevin Durant shooting well again, finishing with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field. And Wally Szczerbiak's amazing second quarter where he scored 20 of his final 27 points. The Sonics even shot 52.6 percent overall and only had nine turnovers against the best defensive team in the league.

But it's another loss.

Here are some other notes from the game:

-Szczerbiak's 20 second-quarter points were the most by a Sonic and most allowed by the Spurs to an individual in a quarter this season.

-San Antonio shot a season-best 57.9 percent (11 for 19) from three-point range.

-The 64 first-half points allowed by the Spurs tied season high set on Nov. 21 against Orlando.

-The Sonics committed a season-low nine turnovers and the Spurs only had a season-low three steals.

Spurs game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans at 6:19 PM

ANOTHER LOSS: The Sonics lost again 116-101, dropping to 0-6 at KeyArena. The streak is tied for second-longest in franchise history, joining teams coached by Lenny Wilkens (1985), Tom Nissalke (1972), and Al Bianchi (1967-68). The longest is nine set in 1968 under Bianchi.

NOTHING CHANGING: Carlesimo mentioned during pregame that Chris Wilcox isn't fully healthy, giving clues by only grabbing three boards against the Nets. Well, add tonight's missed dunk as another sign the player is still bothered by his sprianed left ankle. He had no hops. Throw in a couple of Sonics turnovers and made buckets by Parker and it's easy to see why the Sonics are down 105-97 after pulling within 101-97 with 5:11 remaining in the game.

STILL CLOSE: Not many predicted the Sonics would be this close headed into the final quarter, yet Seattle only trails 91-84. They're taking care of the ball against a very tough defensive team and still shooting at a high percentage (55.9). Problem is, so are the Spurs (53.2) and San Antonio has the advantage of the three-point basket, going 11 for 17 there as opposed to the Sonics 3 for 6 shooting from three-point range.

DURANT SMOKING: The rookie barely mustered 30 percent shooting in his past five games. But Durant is feeling it tonight, making his first bucket and currently shooting 10 for 12 from the field for 23 points. He's being aggressive on the court, although he's only been to the line twice, and is on point with his jumper. The nicest play was his crossover on Manu Ginobli in the third quarter.

SONICS SLIPPING: Another third quarter lull is hurting the Sonics. They're down 78-67 after a Tony Parker jump shot. Seattle opened the quarter with four turnovers after only having one in the entire opening half.

IT"S A FOUL: Wally Szczerbiak moved the Sonics within one after dramatically drawing a foul on Matt Bonner by fling the ball behind his head backwards. Former Sonic Brent Barry was irratated the play was called a shooting foul. Szczerbiak has scored 13 quick points off the bench. He finished the quarter with 20 points.

SILVER ARRIVAL: The Spurs pieced together an 11-4 run to get back into the game. The Sonics have started to miss shots and reserves aren't as strong on defensive coverages as the starters. The Sonics lead 24-22 with 2:40 remaining in the first quarter.

FREEZE FRAME: It probably won't last, but the Sonics are off to a strong start at all positions. Inserting Kurt Thomas in the starting lineup has kept the Spurs honest and the Sonics are shooting 72.7 percent with Chris WIlcox and Kevin Durant making all of their shots. The Sonics are up 18-11 with 6:19 remaining in the opening quarter.

Thomas starting

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:41 PM

Sonics forward Kurt Thomas is making his second start of the season tonight. Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said he liked the way the veteran played San Antonio star Tim Duncan in the past, an insentive for the move. Also with Thomas in the starting lineup, Carlesimo thinks he'll be able to get him more minutes.

Thomas was cool with the decision. He said he felt fine, missing a chunk of the season to deal with a pulled right hamstring. He played 18 minutes on Friday and rested on Saturday in order to prepare for the Spurs.

Thomas is in the lineup with Damien Wilkins, Chris Wilcox, Kevin Durant, and Earl Watson.

Tonight's officials are Dick Bavetta, Leon Wood, and Leroy Richardson.

Friendly fire

Posted by Jayda Evans at 1:42 PM

Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo is letting his emotions show for tonight's game against his former team, San Antonio, but players mentioned its importance to the coach. And Carlesimo wants his team rested, changing their schedule to not have shootaround this morning.

Instead the players will review individual assignments shortly before the game and spent time after a light practice on Saturday reviewing video. Carlesimo also kept Chris Wilcox, Kurt Thomas and Kevin Durant off the floor for the most part to rest nagging injuries.

But Carlesimo keeps an eye on San Antonio, saying he's relaxed at home to see a few games. The Spurs have also kept an eye on him, according to this article. It'll be interesting to see how it all shakes out tonight.

November 23, 2007

Wilcox starting

Posted by Jayda Evans at 7:25 PM

There was some question whether power forward Chris Wilcox would play today after spraining his left ankle in practice on Thursday. But Wilcox, the Sonics' most consistent player, was out on the court warming up and listed in his starting role.

"I'll be all right," he said after the pregame warm-up. "I can't complain. I worked out on it and it felt good, so I'm going to give it a go."

The Sonics are depleted inside with nagging injuries. Veteran Kurt Thomas was placed on the active list after missing the past three games with a re-aggravated right hamstring strain, but coach P.J. Carlesimo said he's going lean on second-year center Mo Sene.

"This isn't the playing time I envisioned for him, but if we've got to go big ...quot; especially if there's any type of foul trouble ...quot; yeah, Mo will be seeing some more minutes," Carlesimo said.

Tonight's officials are Jack Nies, Bennie Adams, and Matt Boland.

November 16, 2007

Amazing finish

Posted by Percy Allen at 9:56 PM

It's crazy what one shot can do. For most of the night, I was wondering what coach P.J. Carlesimo was doing with Kevin Durant. Granted, Damien Wilkins had an incredible game in scoring a career-high 41 points, but the Sonics' best player was a non-factor in the final three periods.

Before sinking the game-winner as time expired in double overtime, Durant was scoreless in the fourth on 0-for-3 shooting and didn't take a shot in the first OT. Before the game winner, he was 0 for 1 in the second OT. His last field goal was midway in the third quarter.

I was all set to question the wisdom of an offense in which Durant is basically a jump shooter standing in the corner. In the first half, he was more effective, scoring 10 before intermission on 4-for-9 shooting.

Durant still has trouble with turnovers. Tonight he had four, which raises his season total to 35. But at least he made an impact in areas other than scoring. The kid had three blocks, three steals and three rebounds.

Listen to Durant talk about the game-winning shot. He also said that he'd never sunk a game-winner before, which I thought was amazing.

Here's P.J. talking about the last play and what he had in mind.

Finally, here's an audio clip of Wally Szczerbiak.

Durant never shied away from the moment, which is exactly what you want to see in a would-be superstar. It's also what Sonics fans wanted to see. In the past fourth-quarter meltdowns, Durant never had a chance to be the hero or the goat.

Afterward, he said that he's just starting to get comfortable. Imagine that. He's 10 games into his career and he's knocking down game-winners like he's Jordan.


Durant's new commercial

Posted by Percy Allen at 5:32 PM

Here's the link to Kevin Durant's new commercial for NBA.com.

Atlanta game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 4:42 PM

ONE MORE TIME --- Wilkins and Johnson are putting on a show. Still no sign of Durant. He looks like he's sleepwalking on the court. The Sonics went to him just once offensively and he quickly passed the ball when pressured. Wilkins has the hot hand and P.J. is riding him hard. Johnson still has not figured out Seattle's zone.

FIRST OT --- West blew a chance to win the game when his inbound pass dribbled out of bounds with 4.1 seconds left. The Sonics have made a lot of big plays in the final minutes, but that one hurt. Still, they're playing better than they had in previous tight 4th Qtrs. Now it's their first OT of the season. Wilkins has a career-high 35 pts.

QUESTIONABLE CALL --- With 1:49 left, Watson looked as if he made a crucial TO, but the refs gave P.J. a timeout. He wouldn't have been able to do that two years ago. It's a new rule that allows coaches to call timeouts.

DURANT SCORELESS --- Kevin has yet to score in the fourth.He's taken 3 shots.

WILKINS CAREER HIGH --- Damien Wilkins' three-pointer gave him 27 points, which surpasses his career-best 26. It's a dog fight. The Sonics fell behind 98-97. Finishing 5 is Watson, Durant, Wilkins, Wilcox and Collison.

HERE WE GO AGAIN --- The Sonics lead 84-82 at the start of the 4th quarter. Wilkins is clearly motivated playing in front of a home crowd. He's got 24 points and 6 rebounds. Every starter has at least 10. Atlanta's JJ is starting to catch fire as well. He's got 21 points. For some reason, Delonte West played just 2 minutes in the third. P.J. pulled him quick.

11-1 HAWKS RUN --- Seattle led 70-61 before Atlanta put together a little spurt. Marvin Williams scored five points and Joe Johnson capped the 11-1 spurt with a layup and a FT to give the Hawks a 72-71 lead.

HAWKS SHODDY SHOOTING --- The Sonics have held Atlanta to just 35.6% shooting in the first half. The Hawks are 0 for 6 on 3s. Only Zaza, Joe Johnson and Josh Childress have more than 1 FG.

GELABALE SIGHTING --- After playing 8 minutes in the past five games, Mickael Gelabale checked in midway in the second quarter. He has 2 points and 2 assists.

STARTERS CONTRIBUTING --- Every Sonic starter has at least 8 points, none more than Wilkins' 15. Earl Watson has 11 and Durant 10. Seattle leads 58-45 at halftime. Watson is playing a solid mistake-free game. He's also looking for his shots.

WILKINS PUTTING ON A SHOW --- Damien Wilkins has 10 points in the first quarter as Seattle leads 26-23. Collison is having problems controlling Hawks C Zaza Pachulia, who has slight height advantage. Zaza has 10 points on 5-for-8 shooting and 3 rebounds.

NO THOMAS, SWIFT --- Kurt Thomas (strained right hamstring) and Robert Swift (sore right knee) are not playing. Nick Collison starts at center.

November 14, 2007

So what did we learn

Posted by Percy Allen at 9:11 PM

Well for starters, the Sonics won't go 0-82.

They may still challenge the '71-72 Philadelphia 76ers (9-73) for the worst record in an 82-game season. They may still erase the '93-94 Mavericks from the record books - Dallas lost 19 straight home games at the start of the season.

And they may also finish in the lottery with the worst record in the NBA. But for the next day or so, they can celebrate a win.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo still has to address the team's shaky ballhandling. Got to believe every opponent will see video from this game and realize that if you press Seattle's guards, they'll turn the ball over. Especially now that Luke Ridnour (partially torn left thigh) is out 2-4 weeks.

Earl Watson will continue to start, but he's still not on track yet. He's putting up nice assists numbers, but his shot is off and tonight he committed 3 TOs.

Delonte West, who many believe should start, is often more productive. But West hasn't fully embraced assistant coach Paul Westhead's fast-break offense. West doens't push the ball like Watson and Ridnour. He's a better shooter and equally adept as a playmaker. But he's also a shaky ballhandler. Last night, he had 3 TOs.

Kevin Durant is Kevin Durant. He's going to put up points, but he's going to take a lot of shots. And he's a turnover machine, leading the team with 31. The next closest guy has 20.

Jeff Green needs more playing time, but with Damien Wilkins playing well at SF and Carlesimo needing to get Nick Collison minutes at PF, it's hard for Green to play more than 25 minutes.

Kurt Thomas could be the X-Factor. He's a legit NBA big body who can knock down the open J. He's a more experienced, more refined Collison. Thomas has a hamstring problem and the Supes can't rely on him for big minutes right now.

Some notes from the Miami game:

The Sonics set season highs with 104 points, 49.3 FG% and 10 three-pointers.

Seattle outrebounded the Heat by 18, 52-34.

The Sonics committed 24 turnovers, which led to 34 points.

Miami game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 3:54 PM

MY APOLOGIES --- My wireless connection went down in the arena and I had to file stuff for the newspaper. I'll give a quick wrap-up in a few minutes.

THIS ONE MIGHT HURT --- A 19-point lead for Seattle 55-36. Yes there's still more than a half to play, but if the Supes don't pull this one out, they're going to be in a world of hurt.

O'NEAL COLLECTS THIRD FOUL --- The game should be easier for the Sonics now that Shaquille O'Neal is out after picking up his third foul. He won't appear again until the second half. It's amazing how much of a non-factor Shaq has become.

DURANT STRUGGLING --- Kevin Durant has been in a shooting slump during the past four games and tonight he continues to struggle with accuracy. He's 1 for 6 from the field.

P.J.'S FIRST TECHNICAL --- We knew it would happen sooner or later. Coach P.J. Carlesimo collected his first technical early in the second quarter while arguing with officials. The Supes led 30-25 after one quater.

HERE HE IS --- With the Sonics leading 22-12, Wade steps on the court and the crowd goes wild. ... Good start for Seattle. Damien Wilkins is effective.

WATSON, THOMAS STARTIING --- Earl Watson will replace Luke Ridnour (left thigh strain) and Kurt Thomas fills in for Robert Swift (sore right knee). Ridnour's injury isn't serious enough that the Sonics will consider bringing in outside help. Expect Delonte West to play more minutes at PG. Swift will miss his second straight game.

WADE RETURNS --- There's a discernable buzz inside American Airlines Arena. Upon entering, word spread through the hallways about Miami's Dwyane Wade. He's making his season debut tonight after missing the first seven games because of offseason shoulder and knee surgeries. But Wade isn't starting. Penny Hardaway remains in the starting lineup. The night before, Damien Wilkins had this one pegged. He said Wade would return against the Sonics. "It figures," he said. "That's what type of year it's been."

Ballots are out

Posted by Jayda Evans at 11:24 AM

Of the 120 All-Star hopefuls, the Sonics have four representing the organization on this season's ballot. Luke Ridnour is listed among guards while rookie Kevin Durant and veterans Nick Collison and Wally Szczerbiak are among the Western Conference forwards.

Voting begins Thursday and continues through Jan.13 for paper ballots and Jan. 20 for online balloting. The game, which will be held in New Orleans, is slated for Feb. 17.

Even with Durant, the Sonics' 0-8 start may make it shaky for them to have an All-Star rep -- a would-be first since 1992. The Sonics nearly didn't have a rep last season, but guard Ray Allen was added late as an injury replacement.

November 13, 2007

Orlando game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 3:20 PM

No. 8 IN THE BOOKS --- Sonics lose 103-76. It's easily their worst game of the season. Collison had 15 points, Green 12 and Durant 10. Seattle shot 34.4 percent from the field. Lewis scored 22, Turkoglu 17, Bogans 16 and Howard 13.

IT'S UGLY --- The Supes have erased large deficits before, but they're headed to their 8th straight loss. Seattle trails 85-56 at the start of the 4th. Carlesimo has put C Johan Petro in to slow down Howard (13 points and 12 rebounds). Not sure why he didn't go to Petro earlier.

THREE-POINT BOMBING --- The Sonics are paying so much attention to Howard in the middle that they're leaving Keith Bogans and Lewis alone outside. Orlando has drained 10 of 20 3s. Bogans has 5 and Lewis 5.

GETTING UGLY --- Nelson just shook West with a nifty crossover dribble and drained a mid-range jumper that gave Orlando a 68-48 lead. The Sonics have stopped playing zone and Howard is able to get the ball freely in the post and overpower Wilcox. When the Sonics double, Howard is passing out and finding open shooters.

RIDNOUR OUT --- Luke Ridnour has a left quad strain and will not play in the second half. West is starting and expect to see more of Watson.

HALFTIME --- Seattle is down 49-36, but it could be worse. Lewis has 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting. He also has 5 rebounds. Green leads Seattle with 12 points. Durant (4 points) is struggling. No starter has more than 5 points. Seattle has converted just 15 of 51 FGs (29.4 percent). The Sonics have been outrebounded 34-22. They forced 11 second-quarter turnovers. Orlando has 16, Seattle 6.

ZONE CAUSING FITS --- Seattle's zone has contributed to many of Orlando's 14 turnovers. The Magic are trying hard to get the ball inside to Howard, but PG Jameer Nelson can't get the ball through a thicket of arms. Green is also keeping the Sonics in the game with 12 second-quarter points.

BLOWOUT IN THE MAKING? --- Carlesimo said the two games he worries about most in a long road trip are the first one and the last one. There's few favorable matchups offensively for Seattle. Luke Ridnour has trouble with Jameer Nelson. Turkoglu is giving Durant difficulties. And Chris Wilcox and Damien Wilkins have yet to get on track. Look for Jeff Green to assert himself in the second period.

SLOW START --- Before the game, coach P.J. Carlesimo talked about poor first quarter in Sunday's loss to Detroit. Well, the Sonics have started slowly once again. They trail 28-14. For some reason, they seem to have forgotten that Lewis is a pretty good three-point shooter, allowing him to drain 2 treys enroute to a game-high 12 points.

DURANT VS. LEWIS --- With 5:46 remaining in the first quarter, Orlando's Rashard Lewis got paired against Kevin Durant. The rookie drove right and spinned towards the baseline before the ball was swiped away by a Magic player. Durant and Lewis are not defending each other. Lewis is holding his own at the 4. Durant has been exposed a couple of times by Hedo Turkoglu.

SWIFT OUT, COLLISON STARTS --- C Robert Swift's sore right knee prevents him from starting tonight. He played just 12 minutes Sunday against Detroit and is questionable for tomorrow's game in Miami. Nick Collison will start, but Kurt Thomas will get a lot of time at center against Orlando's Dwight Howard.

Sweet Lew is Max in Orlando

Posted by Percy Allen at 12:43 PM

Caught up with Rashard Lewis at Monday's practice in Orlando. Obviously tonight's game is all about the former Sonic who was traded to the Magic in the summer in a deal that allowed Seattle to acquire Kurt Thomas from Phoenix.

We wrote two stories on the reunion, which makes you wonder what we'll do when the Sonics play Ray Allen and the Boston Celtics.

By the way, Lewis returns to Seattle on Nov. 28. I told him he should throw a party now that he's the $118-million man and something tells me he might host a little soiree either the day before or after the game at a Seattle nightclub.

Here's a couple of stories in the Orlando Sentinel and Florida Today about Lewis and tonight's game.

Or if you're into audio, listen to Rashard talk about leaving the Sonics and Kevin Durant and the pressure on him for tonight's game.

I joked with Rashard after practice that he probably has made more money than anyone taken in the second round of the draft. Before Orlando's big contract, he earned about $48M, which ranks him ahead of Gilbert Arenas and Cuttino Mobley ($40M) and Michael Redd and Carlos Boozer ($35M).

Tonight's game is the first of a five-game trip for the 0-7 Supes. The Magic are a tough matchup for the Sonics because of their frontcourt players (Lewis, Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu) who each stand 6 feet 10 or taller. F Damien Wilkins (6-6) will have a hard time against Lewis in the post and Turkoglu on the wing, which might force Durant (6-9) to match up defensively on one of Orlando's forwards.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo has tried to give Durant the easy defensive assignments and on paper that's SG Keith Bogans (6-5) who is averaging 9.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists.

But the real problem is Howard. The guy is a monster. He's second in the NBA in rebounding (14.7 avg.) and leading Orlando in scoring (21.3 ppg). Carlesimo might rely heavily on Thomas because Howard is too quick for Robert Swift and Nick Collison.

Today's referees: Monty McCutchen, Mike Smith and Sean Wright.

November 12, 2007

Mr. Monday vs. Seattle

Posted by Jayda Evans at 1:32 PM

If you haven't heard the hootin' and hollerin' by now, it's some sort of proud-to-be-an-Oklahoman week in that state where the Sonics' current owners call home. Clay Bennett was inducted into the Hall of Fame and some streets were named after other folks.

So, feeling good today, Oklahoman columnist "Mr. Monday" weighed in that he's tired of Seattle's bemoaning about NBA commissioner David Stern and Bennett's friendship (the former was the latter's presenter into the HOF) and the city losing its team in general. Pretty humorous writing, especially considering the dated name calling.

An example: "The problem with our pals among the pine trees is that they haven't quite given up on the Sonics leaving.''

But, Mr. Monday, like Philadelphia columnist David Aldridge and New York Daily News columnist Mitch Lawrence wrote on Sunday, there are some very real reasons why the relocation shouldn't go through.

November 11, 2007

Detroit game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans at 6:20 PM

NO DICE: Szczerbiak attempted a three-pointer to pull the Sonics within in one, but it bricked and the Sonics lost a historic seven games to open the season, 107-103. Next up? A five-game road trip beginning against former Supe Rashard Lewis.

NO CALL: It's probably understandable since Joey Crawford is officiating a game with Rasheed Wallace playing. But Wallace screened Thomas, causing him to fall to the floor and Rip Hamilton hit an open jumper to give the Pistons a 103-99 lead with 45.9 seconds remaining.

STILL POSSIBLE: The Sonics caused two Detroit turnovers and Kurt Thomas and Damien Wilkins sank key baskets to tie the score at 99 points apiece. They're playing the disco hit "YMCA" and the crowd is on its feet rocking out.

GAME OVER?: A Kevin Durant dunk made the score 87-84, the closest the Sonics have been since the opening quarter. But Detroit turned it up and Rasheed Wallace just hit a sick three-pointer at the top of the key over Nick Collison who hung his head after the shot swished through the net. A timeout was immediately called with Seattle trailing 94-86 with 7:23 remaining.

ROLL CONTINUING: Szczerbiak is feeling it, hitting back to back baskets to make the score 86-78. Kurt Thomas just added another and KeyArena is starting to feel electric. The score is now 86-82 as the Sonics head into a timeout with 8:56 remaining in the game.

MINI RUN: The Sonics went on a 9-0 run to close the third quarter down 81-73. Delonte West is the better guard tonight, sparking the spurt while playing along side Chris Wilcox, Kurt Thomas, Wally Szczerbiak, and Jeff Green.

CROWD SPOTLIGHT: Former Mariner Jeff Nelson and Rob Estes of "Melrose Place" fame were spotlighted during a third-quarter time out.

THOMAS SCORES: Kurt Thomas' first bucket of the season came with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter. He was open for long jumper to make the score 81-64 Detroit.

SWIFT OUT: The Sonics reported in the third quarter that center Robert Swift is out for the remainder of the game with right knee tendinitis. He was 0 for 4 from the field with two rebounds and two fouls in 12 minutes.

HIGH SCHOOL FLASHBACK: Numerous teams have complained about the close interaction between fans and the visitor's bench as courtside patrons take their seat. Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter took it a step further, standing so fans could walk past during the game. He grumbled about people being on the court and said if the Sonics get a new arena, "maybe they can fix that. What is this high school?"

BEHIND YOU: The Sonics' defensive coverage is probably the worst its been this season. The most glaring play was when Rip Hamilton went backdoor on Robert Swift with blatant eye direction of where he was going to go. Swift couldn't recover and was subbed by Nick Collison, limping on his surgically repaired right knee as he headed to the bench.

HAYES-Y SITUATION: Jarvis Hayes is the Pistons' offense in the second quarter, scoring 10 points in the past seven minutes. One basket was a wide open three-pointer off a Rip Hamilton assists from Hayes' previous miss.

SOLID FINISH: The Sonics are down 35-20, but had a nice sequence to close the first quarter. Former Sonic Flip Murray raced down court for a show time dunk between defenders Kurt Thomas and Jeff Green, only Green swatted the attempt high in the air, the Sonics recovered and Wally Szczerbiak nailed a three-pointer. Later Delonte West made a left-handed floater to close out the scoring.

BLAZING BASKETS: The Pistons are shooting 72.2 percent from the field, getting 10 in the paint and five off offensive boards. Rip Hamilton is leading with 10 while all of the starters have at least one assist.

THOMAS DEBUT: Heralded Sonics vet Kurt Thomas made his debut, entering the game with 6:07 remaining in the opening quarter.

SO SLOW: The Sonics knew they were going to have to be good in the half court offense because Detroit only gives up about 10 turnovers a game. But it hasn't worked so far. At the halfway point of the opening quarter the Supes are down 22-8, missing shots badly. Luke Ridnour made his first start of the season and has only collected one steal. He was subbed for Delonte West at the 4:31 mark.

NO TICKETS FOR YOU: Former Eastern Washington and Ketwood High star Rodney Stuckey made his only return as a pro, but told his family to stay at home. He's out another two weeks with a broken left hand. He said he was able to go home on Saturday, however, seeing his daughter and getting a home cooked meal.

New lineup

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:07 PM

Sonics guard Luke Ridnour will make his first start of the season tonight against Detroit and veteran Kurt Thomas (right hamstring) is slated to make his debut after missing the opening six games due to injury. He'll most likely only play 18 minutes, however.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo said he's going to give Ridnour an extended run, using Delonte West as his backup and placing Earl Watson in Ridnour's old role -- limited minutes or not playing at all. Carlesimo said it had nothing to do with Watson's play, complimenting the player on his performance against Utah, but stating the change was "what we planned to do."

Sonics center Robert Swift should remain in the starting lineup. He was taking shots and warming up his surgically repaired right knee and wanted to make a decision of whether he could play after that. If not, Nick Collison will slide into his spot.

Tonight's officials are Joe Crawford, Luis Grillo, and Phil Robinson.

Thomas progressing, Swift isn't

Posted by Jayda Evans at 12:06 PM

The Sonics held an early-morning shootaround because of tonight's 6 p.m. tip against Detroit and while it was an encouraging sight to see veteran center Kurt Thomas (right hamstring) able to participate in the walk-through, Robert Swift (right knee) was described by coach P.J. Carlesimo as "not as good as Kurt."

He's going to wait until players report for the game to decide which one will start at center.

"If [Kurt] feels good, he'll go," Carlesimo said of the veteran, waiting to make his Sonics debut. "Robert is still up in the air."

Carlesimo liked what he saw from his team against Utah, but warns that Detroit is a more physical, multi-faceted team. He said it'll be interesting to see how the players respond after the close loss to the Jazz, and against a physically imposing team like Detroit.

"They test you differently," said Carlesimo of the Pistons. "They're different from Utah in that these guys are very defense-oriented and always a real low turnover team. It's hard to score against them in the half court, so it's going to be real important for us to get some points in transition and take care of the ball."

Detroit leads the league in fewest points allowed at 87.8 while the Sonics rank second in turnovers (20.5).

November 10, 2007

Thomas practices

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:22 PM

Sonics center Kurt Thomas practiced today after suffering a strained right hamstraing following the Sonics' final exhibition game in October. The injury caused Thomas to miss Seattle's first six regular-season games, all losses, and threw the Sonics' interior rotation out of whack.

Depending on how the leg responds Sunday, Thomas could make his Sonics debut against Detroit at KeyArena. And he could be part of the starting-lineup changes coach P.J. Carlesimo continues to allude to, but has yet to announce. On Saturday, Thomas was in a lineup with PG Earl Watson, SG Kevin Durant, SF Wally Szczerbiak, and PF Chris Wilcox.

Thomas made some mistakes, but the look was solid on defense and would be the right mix of muscle and offensive power to compete with the formidable Pistons as the Sonics try not to set a club record for most losses to start a season.

"The changes won't be wholesale changes - it will be a guy or two guys or something like that," said Carlesimo of who might start should everyone report healthy. "And I'm hoping it won't affect the way we've been playing. We'll tweak the minutes for a couple of people. There's some guys who have been getting more minutes, say, than somebody else. Now we'll try to bend it a little bit."

On player who hasn't seen his normal minutes is PG Luke Ridnour, who has only appeared in four games and is averaging 11.3 minutes. Down from his 29.5 average as a mainstay starter under former coach Bob Hill last season.

Ridnour practiced for the first time sans bulky protective facemask Saturday and said he believes he won't have to wear it again. (He broke his nose on Oct. 9, taking a nasty, but inadvertent, hit from Sacramento forward Ron Artest)

"It feels good to feel the wind in my face again, you know, the rush," he said. "And to see when you run is kind of nice."

It appears unlikely Carlesimo will start Ridnour, however. The defensive-minded coach gets more on that end from Watson, who played well against Utah All-Star PG Deron Williams in Friday's loss. Since the Pistons feature the cold-blooded Chauncey Billups, the Sonics are going to need good perimeter defense to start.

"His minutes are definitely going to go up in the near future," said Carlesimo of Ridnour. "Whether that's tomorrow or not, I can't say."

The only kink in all of Carlesimo's plans could be young center Robert Swift, who began to feel pain in his surgically repaired right knee about three-fourths through the session. Swift has started the past three games and will be re-evaluated at shootaround Sunday. He's another reason Carlesimo could use the return of Thomas.

"I'm not sure what is realistic that he can bring immediately after basically not playing for nine days," Carlesimo said of Thomas. "When he's healthy, he brings a veteran player who's one of the better shooting bigs in the league, who's a very capable and physical post defender and somebody who's very experienced with a lot of savvy.

"People can have positive minutes, they can have negative minutes or they can be out there and not really tremendously affect you either way. At worst, Kurt's going to give us flat minutes. That alone is a plus. You're not going to get five guys giving you positive minutes all the time, but as long as you minimize people giving you negative minutes, that really helps."

November 9, 2007

Utah game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 8:06 PM

ANOTHER 4TH QUARTER LEAD --- Durant put the Supes ahead 81-78 with a shot jumper and FT. We all know what the past games have been like. Must say, this crowd is highly energized. The Sonics are out-hustling the Jazz.

NO RIDNOUR YET --- Luke Ridnour hasn't entered the game, but he might get some time in the second half. Delonte West played 8:22 minutes in the first half and was mostly ineffective. The rebounding could be a problem. Utah leads 23-14.

HALFTIME --- Utah is ahead 52-46. Watson has cooled off, but Wilcox remains red-hot. He's got 14 points on 6-for-8 shooting and he's attacking the basket. It also helps that Utah F Carlos Boozer has played just 10 minutes. Not sure if he's hurt or what's going on there.

DURANT'S FIRST FG --- It took Kevin Durant nearly a 1 1/2 quarters to sink his first basket from the field. It came with about 6:21 remaining in the second quarter. Durant sank a long trey. He's got 5 points on 1-for-5 shooting.

KIRILENKO MAN CRUSH --- Gotta admit, I'm a big fan of Andrei Kirilenko. I love the way this guy plays. He's so active. And he does a little bit of everything. I told Earl Watson and Kevin Durant of my little man crush on Kirlienko and they both admitted that he's one of their players as well. Durant said he modeled his some of his game from Kirilenko. He also thought the Utah forward had the coolest nickname in the NBA "AK-47." In the first quarter, Kirilenko had 7 assists, 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 turnovers. Like I said, active.

WILCOX, WATSON DUO --- Earl Watson is off to a sizzling start. The Sonics point guard has six points on 3-of-4 shooting and five assists in 10 minutes. It's easily his best start in any game this season. Chris Wilcox has also had a nice first quarter. He's got eight points on 4-of-5 shooting. The Supes trail 28-25.

Apparent thievery doesn't stop

Posted by Jayda Evans at 1:56 PM

Saw this story on hoopshype.com about Sonics legend John Johnson's championship ring being stolen.

No lineup or rotation changes

Posted by Percy Allen at 1:00 PM

After Wednesday's 105-98 defeat to Memphis in which the Sonics blew a 14-point third-quarter lead, coach P.J. Carlesimo said he'd consider tinkering with the rotation. At this morning's shootaround, however, he said he won't make any changes for tonight's game against Utah.

Listen to Carlesimo explain why he's sticking with the lineups and rotations here.

Tonight will probably be Luke Ridnour's last game wearing the protective mask for his broken nose. A week ago, Carlesimo said he wasn't "comfortable" with Ridnour playing with the mask because there were a couple of malfunctions during the preseason.

F/C Kurt Thomas (strained right hamstring) s out for tonight, but he was able to run on the treadmill and may take part in contract drills in Saturday's practice.

Here's our preview box for tonight's game against Utah.

Jazz coach Jerry Sloan told the Salt Lake Tribune that he's impressed with Sonics rookie Kevin Durant. The Desert News reports that Sloan is leaning towards assigning Durant to Andrei Kirilenko, Utah's 6-9 forward who was twice named to the NBA's All-Defensive first team.

Tonight's referee's are: Steve Javie, Tony Brown and Derek Richardson.

November 8, 2007

Stern words

Posted by Jayda Evans at 3:31 PM

It's been a busy day for NBA commissioner David Stern. First he was in Phoenix to announce the Suns hosting the 2009 All-Star game. And, by the way, Stern said if the Sonics move, Seattle would not get "another team there, not in any conceivable future plan that I could envision, and that would be too bad."

Then he hopped on a flight to Oklahoma, where he acted as Sonics majority owner Clay Bennett's "presenter" into the state's Hall of Fame this evening. I'm told it's a favor the commissioner extends to all of his owners, particularly since he and Bennett have been buds since Bennett was part of the San Antonio Spurs ownership group.

Well, before anyone gets too huffy about the news, let's remember a little history. Stern basically said the same thing to Houstonians during their arena battle in 1999-2000. "It's not constructive to issue ultimatums, but everybody understands what's at stake here," he told reporters regarding the Rockets relocating.

It took several stabs at various referendums, but the Toyota Center was built and the Rockets held a successful All-Star game shortly thereafter.

The issue here is the silence. Like sources said, it's almost like officials are afraid to fail. But everything I read about local history is that Washington was a unique spot where you could fail -- repeatedly -- in order to find a way to succeed. Government has until April, a full legislative session, and it's time to start failing so something can succeed.

And don't consider keeping the Storm or holding Bennett to the 2010 expiration date of the KeyArena lease as success. First, it's far from a sure thing that Bennett would leave the Storm here. And second, it's not good for basketball or the city's legacy to have games like Wednesday where barely 10,000 people were in the seats.

It's not time to panic yet, but it is time to get some real political action going. Then Stern might eat his words.

November 7, 2007

Memphis post-game

Posted by Percy Allen at 10:41 PM

NOTES --- About that record losing streak to start the season: It's 17 games. Miami did it in 1988 and the Los Angeles Clippers tied the mark in 1999 during the lockout-shortned season. The Clips are second on the list at 16, a mark they set in '94 and three teams are tied at 15.

Kevin Durant needed 17 FG attempts to score 17 points. He missed 14 shots, but sank all 10 of his FTs.

All the Grizzlies frontcourt sarters recorded a double double. Rudy Gay (25 points, 10 rebounds), Darko Milicic (15 points and 10 rebounds) and Pau Gasol (11 points and 10 rebounds).

After shooting 28.8 percent in the first half, Memphis was 20-of-41 on FGs in the second half.

Memphis grabbed a season-high 53 rebounds, including 21 on the offensive end. The Griz also had 32 second-chance points.

After playing three games in four nights, the Supers have the day off on Thursday. They play seven games in the next 11 days.

Coach P.J. Carlesimo hinted that he was going to make changes in the rotation and "give other guys an opportunity." Not sure what that means. The only guys who haven't gotten a chance to play are F Mickael Gelabale and C Mouhamed Sene. C/F Kurt Thomas (strained right hamstring) is injured.

Memphis game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:38 PM

ATTENDANCE --- Guess who got it right? The official count is 10,761. Jayda says she was accounting for season ticket holders, but needless to say, she was way wrong (whatever, Percy!).

O-FOR-NOVEMBER? --- Tonight's 105-98 defeat dropped the Sonics to 0-5. They were favored by a point tonight. It stands to reason that they won't be favored again this month. They play Utah and Detroit before embarking on a 5-game East coast trip. Then they return to play New Jersey and San Antonio before a game at LA against the Lakers and two home games vs. Orlando and Indiana. That's 13 tough games. There best chance at a win is at Miami and Charlotte, but both games are the tail end of a back-to-back set. Seattle's record long winless streak to start the season is 0-6. I'll check and see what the NBA record is. Carlesimo began started the season 0-9 during his final year at Golden State.

LOWRY, NO STOUDAMIRE --- For some reason 2nd-year man Mike Lowry is finishing the game and not starter Damon Stoudamire, the 13-year vet. Lowry came up big in the end, draining a 3 as time was expiring on the shot clock. He put Memphis ahead 103-98 with 11 seconds left.

DURANT TIME --- The Sonics appear intent on getting the ball to their young star. Memphis, however, is aware of the play in which Durant starts in the right corner, rubs off a screen and drives to the rim. Durant was called for an offensive foul on the play. Still, he's getting the ball on every possession and he's intent on getting to the rim and drawing fouls. He knocked down 4 FTs. Seattle is behind 100-98.

FINAL 2:30 --- Sonics trail 98-92. Gay put Memphis ahead because he attacked the rim and Brian Cardinal kept the ball alive on an offensive rebound. Here's the lineup: Watson, Durant, Wilkins, Wilcox and Collison. That's the final five. The Sonics will have to find scoring out of this bunch. Just like last night, they haven't converted a FG in quite some time.

OR THIS FINISHING FIVE? --- Watson and Durant in the backcourt and Wilkins, Wilcox and Swift up front. Carlesimo is pushing buttons trying to find the right combination.

DURANT VS GAY --- The two were playfully trash talking before the game, but now it's serious and Rudy Gay is having his way with the Sonics rookie. With Seattle trailing 87-85, Durant shook Gay with a nice crossover, but launched an airball. Seconds later, Gay blocked Durant's shot. And seconds later, Gay blew past Durant for a two-hand jam. Durant is now out of the game, replaced by Damien Wilkins.

FINISHING FIVE? --- Carlesimo has West and Durant in the backcourt and Green, Szczerbiak and Wilcox up front. Seattle is small. Wilcox is defending Gasol which hasn't been a problem yet, but we'll see how they rebound.

SPOKE (WROTE) TOO SOON --- Here we go again. The Sonics gave up the lead late in the third and they enter the fourth quarter trailing 87-81. Same old story. Memphis is playing harder. Wish there was a better way to explain this. Rudy Gay is a terrorizing dervish. He's really active. Mike Miller (20 points) is knocking down outside shots. And the Sonics haven't matched the intensity.

GOOD SIGNS --- The Sonics defense is better than it's ever been. Memphis converted just 28.8 percent (15 of 52) field goals. The rebounding battle is almost even (Memphis 28, Seattle 27) and the Supes have 6 steals. Seattle has more points in the paint (32-16) and fastbreak points (17-5). These are all good signs that point to the Sonics claiming their first win of the season. The rotation is solid. Every starter has scored and 5 bench players have scored. Wilkins has 12, Wilcox 10 and Durant 9.

BETTER BALL-HANDLING --- A night after commiting 26 turnovers, the Sonics have just 7 at intermission. Earl Watson and Wilikins each have 2.

PLAY OF THE GAME --- Chris Wilcox swatted Mike Conley's short jumper into the hands of Damien Wilkins to start a Sonics fastbreak that ended with Kevin Durant draining a short jumper to give Seattle a 57-49 halftime lead.

THREE-POINT BOMBING --- The Sonics are 0-for-4 on 3s and Memphis is 5 for 9 behind the line.

SEA OF RED --- Curious to see what the official crowd count will be tonight. The stat crew usually releases that midway in the fourth quarter. By my rough estimate, I'd say 11,000, but Jayda thinks it's 13,000. Needless to say, there's plenty of empty red seats.

FIRST QUARTER --- Sonics trail 27-24. Balanced scoring from Seattle. No one has more than 4 points. 7-foot Pau Gasol could be a problem. He's got 8 points in 9 minutes and he's active. Griz F Rudy Gay is also giving the Supes fits. He's got 7 points. Still the new rotation is appears to be working. Keep an eye on the Delonte West and Luke Ridnour backcourt.


Swift starting again

Posted by Jayda Evans at 6:16 PM

Sonics center Robert Swift got the nod for his second consecutive start despite coach P.J. Carlesimo being concerned about Swift playing back-to-back games on his surgically repaired right knee.

Swift said the pain is no different than during the exhibition season, it's just that there's no swelling and he's trying to manage the problem.

Carlesimo said he is hoping his interior rotation can show some moxie in the weeks ahead because it doesn't appear as if veteran brute Kurt Thomas is going to return soon. An MRI on Thomas' pulled right hamstring didn't reveal any major damage, but he's listed as day-to-day. Thomas said he can run but the leg begins to tighten up on him.

Many around the arena are wondering when the Sonics will get their first win. Tonight features another winless squad in Memphis (0-2) and I teased with some team officials that this will be the Sonics' night because guard Luke Ridnour went back to his all business buzz cut.

"I got bored," Ridnour said of why he chopped the popular curls.

Funny side note: Rising stars Rudy Gay and Kevin Durant were trash-talking prior to the game, talking about what they were going to do to each other when guarded by the other. Their defensive assignments are actually not each other to start, but if you spot Durant shooting a three-pointer from the "y" in the KeyArena logo on the court with Gay in front of him, that was by design and not desperation. Gay laughed and said that's the game plan ...quot; bad shots. After the laughing, however, Gay said "we don't have anybody that can guard you." I think he was trying to psyche the rookie out.

When the conversation turned more serious, the duo planned to swap shoes after the game, and wanted to know how much the other scored in their previous game. But they couldn't stay away from the trash-talking, predicting it would be their team collecting their first win tonight.

Thomas examined

Posted by Jayda Evans at 11:25 AM

Sonics veteran Kurt Thomas underwent an MRI on his pulled right hamstring this morning but a spokesperson said results weren't available, yet. Thomas has yet to make his 2007-08 debut, last helping to lead the Supes to a win against his former Phoenix Suns to wrap up the exhibition season in October. He's expected to be out another week. The positive is that Robert Swift will get more chances to grow, but the negative is that the Sonics will play five (four on the road) physical Eastern Conference teams next week where they could use some muscle and bite inside.

Reunited: MJ & KC

Posted by Jayda Evans at 7:55 AM

So nice to see it work just once. Not the Sonics, who played well on both ends to build a 20-point lead in the first half of their loss to Sacramento on Tuesday. I'm talking about the broadcast team of Kevin Calabro and Marques Johnson.

Loved it from bean pie to bean pie (you'd get that if you paid attention). KC pseudo rocked out with his shades courtside (forgot his prescription reading glasses); Johnson streamed constant truth and anecdotes, like being at Arco Arena for its inaugural game; and there was a vibe that gave you the feeling you were eavesdropping on a conversation between two highly educated basketball minds, who didn't hesitate to drop knowledge on each other. Like when Johnson uttered what I've felt that rookie Kevin Durant's play/physique is reminiscent of Kevin Garnett.

Calabro actually mistakenly called Durant, Garnett on a play and was trying to clean-up his faux pas. But Johnson butted in that he does see Garnett in the youngster and broke it down. It's not that viewers didn't get that from past wingmen for KC (personally, I also liked Billy McKinney's brief run), it's just that too many tried to do what KC does. Impossible. Or said "we" way too much.

The only downer is that FSN couldn't pony up to get Johnson more often. His college basketball commitments also cause conflicts. But maybe the station is saving to finally go full-on high-def (please!)? Either way, waiting 11 years to see the Sonics broadcast done right again was difficult, but worth the return. Do you agree?

November 6, 2007

Finding a go-to guy

Posted by Percy Allen at 10:59 PM

Trailing 100-98 with 29.2 seconds left, coach P.J. Carlesimo called a timeout and drew a play up for Damien Wilkins, who backed his way into the lane and floated up a 14-footer that never had a chance.

Given his choices, maybe Wilkins was the best choice. Wally Szczerbiak (game-high 32 points) had a hot hand, but Carlesimo wanted a play that was going to the basket. Rookie Kevin Durant lost the ball on the previous possesion so it was essentially down to Wilkins or Watson.

We chronicled this dilemma at the start of the season. Without Ray Allen and Rashad Lewis, who was going to take the big shots for the Supes? Wilkins had never been in this role before. Neither has Watson.

Still, the Sonics didn't lose the game because of Wilkins' miss. They lost it because once again the made too many turnovers (26), committed too many fouls (Sacramento attempted 37 FTs) and went scoreless in the final 2 minutes, 50 seconds.

The losing is beginning to wear on some of the veterans. Szczerbiak and Earl Watson are frustrated.

And keep this in mind, as good as Durant is, he's had at least six turnovers in two of the first four games. It would be one thing if his TOs were mental, but opponents are basically taking the ball away from him.

Sacramento game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 6:45 PM

SUPES LOSE --- Durant lost the ball on the third to last possession and the Kings turned the miscue into a Francisco Garcia three-pointer that gave Sacramento a 98-97 lead with 29 seconds left. Durant had 27 points and seven rebounds. Wally Szczerbiak led all scorers with 32 and Nick Collison had 12. Sacramento's Kevin Martin scored a team-high 31, Salmons 23, Brad Miller 16 points and 11 rebounds and Quincy Douby 13 points. Sonics fall to 0-4.

HERE WE GO --- The Sonics are up 78-72 at the start of the fourth. They've given up leads in the past and the Kings have momentum. Some bit of good news: the final play of the third quarter, a Quincy Douby layup at the buzzer was overturned.

THE LEAD IS GONE --- With less than three minutes left, Quincy Douby put Sacramento up 71-69 on a driving layup. Turnovers continue to plague Seattle. The Sonics have 23 TOs for 31 points. What's worse, they're playing tentative.

SZCZERBIAK IS UP --- Sonics fans behind their bench have been screaming at Carlesimo to get Wally back into the game. He's up and at the scorer's table with less than 5 minutes left. Sacramento appears to be tiring. If the Sonics can survive this wave, they might be able to put together a run of their own.

UH-OH --- Seven turnovers this quarter have paved the way for a Sacramento comeback. The Supes still lead 63-58, but their hold on the game is slipping. You can feel the Kings have raised their intensity and once again the young Sonics haven't matched it.

HALFTIME --- Seattle has its second lead at intermission this season 61-48, but this game is far from over. For starters, the Supes are shooting 62.2 percent from the field and that's not likely to continue. Secondly, Szczerbiak has 23 points on 9-for-11 shooting and you'd think Sacramento will make adjustments. Still, the Supes interior defense has been solid. Kings C Brad Miller is a non-factor and most of Sacramento's points are coming from steals, perimeter shooting and Kevin Martin (20 points).

20-PT LEAD --- The Sonics are up 52-32 largely because of Wally who has 21 points in 12 minutes off the bench. The last Sonics reserve who had 30 or more was Richie Frahm who dropped 31 on Denver on Dec. 20, 2003. Wally's career high is 44.

WALLY'S WORLD --- Szczerbiak has a dozen points in the second quarter and 17 overall. He's drained 7 of 8 shots.

TURNOVERS CONTINUE --- Carlesimo has stressed for days now the need to cut down on the turnovers, however, the Supes committed 8 turnovers in the first quarter that led to 14 points. Not good. In the past three games, they had 21, 18 and 22. Seattle trails 26-25.

NEW ROTATION EFFECTIVE -- With Swift starting, Carlesimo is trying a new rotation. Collison is the first off the bench followed by Delonte West, Luke Ridnour, Jeff Green and Wally Szczerbiak. The Ridnour-Green backcourt paring is particularly interesting. All of the reserves are in and they're playing well because Ridnour is is hot from the outside.

CHANGES COMING? --- Coach P.J. Carlesimo said the he plans to give Delonte West more time at shooting guard and Luke Ridnour more time at point guard. Not sure what the means for Earl Watson, who is shooting .261 from the field (6 of 23).

MJ AND KC, TOGETHER AGAIN --- Had a chance to talk to Kevin Calabro before the game. The guy is a hoot. He seemed anxious to rejoin Marques Johnson on the sidelines. You can listen to that interview here.

SWIFT STARTS --- Robert Swift will start in place of Nick Collison at center.


Marques returns

Posted by Percy Allen at 11:59 AM

Tonight's game at Sacramento is the first of eight games former Sonics analyst Marques Johnson will broadcast along with play-by-play man Kevin Calabro. The two last called a game together in 1998 and formed perhaps the best tandem on the sidelines in team history.

Here's a list of the games Marques will broadcast this season: 11/6/07 (Sacramento); 11/27/07 (Los Angeles Lakers); 2/26/08 (Golden State); 3/21/08 (Los Angeles Lakers); 3/22/08 (Utah); 4/8/08 (Dallas); 4/9/08 (Houston); 4/11/08 (San Antonio).

As for the game, well something has got to give somebody will earn their first win this season. Both teams are 0-3.

Here's our preview box and a story on Damien Wilkins who is having a great start to what might be a breakout season.

The Kings are banged up and missing several starters including G Mike Bibby and G/F Ron Artest, who is serving a NBA suspsension.

Today's Sacramento Bee story is about the Kings' rash of injuries and Bee columnist Ailene Voisin writes about the need for results from the revamped Kings.

C Robert Swift may start in place of Nick Collison. In the exhibition opener, Swift had 8 points and 7 rebounds and did a nice job defensively against Kings C Brad Miller.

C Kurt Thomas did a little bit at Monday's practice, but still he isn't expected to play.

Also, coach P.J. Carlesimo said he has no plans of benching G Earl Watson, who has converted just 6 of 23 shots (.261 percent). Delonte West is an alternative, but he's committed a team-high tying nine turnovers.

Today's officials are: Bob Delaney, Monty McCutchen and Ron Olesiak.

November 4, 2007

Clippers game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 12:43 PM

GAME OVER --- Sonics drop another one in the fourth quarter. They trailed 78-76 after three periods, but were outscored 37-25 in the finall frame and fell 115-101. It's their worst start since 1985, Durant finished with a team-high 24 points on 10-for-19 shooting, 8 rebounds and 5 assists. Damien Wilkins had 22 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds. Green started out hot, but was cold in the end. Still he had 14 points and 7 rebounds.

THREE, THREE, THREE --- Clippers forward Tim Thomas knocked down three three-pointers on ensuing possessions from the same spot. HIs last trey gives LA a 109-92 lead with less than three minutes left. Same story for the Sonics, they didn't finish in the fourth. Looks like they are headed to an 0-3 start.

HALFTIME --- Tie score at 52 apiece. Chris Wilcox has 15 points and 5 rebounds, Green has 12 points and Durant has 10 points and 6 rebounds. The Sonics lead the rebound battle 28-23 and they have more assists 16-13.

GREEN PASTURES --- Jeff Green probably had the play of the game and it's only the second quarter. In fact, he had two of them. The first was a tip jam off of a missed jumper that he flushed with authority. Seconds later, he drove along the left baseline and converted an acrobatic up-and-under layup against Clippers rookie Al Thornton. Green is easily the best player on the court. He's being aggressive and getting to the rim anytime he wants. He's got 12 points on 4-for-6 shooting and has connected on all 4 FTs.

FAST START FOR DURANT --- The Sonics rookie is more than half to his first double double. Kevin Durant has scored 7 points on 3-for-6 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds. Seattle trails 25-21 after the first quarter.

SWIFT RETURN --- Coach P.J. Carlesimo said C Robert Swift will play today, but he is not in the starting lineup. Today's inactive include: Mouhamed Sene and Kurt Thomas (right hamstring strain).

Looking to avoid 0-3 start

Posted by Percy Allen at 9:31 AM

The last time the Sonics (0-2) lost their first three games it was the 1985-86 season when they finished 31-51.

Short preview this morning for today's matinee in LA.

Here's out story on Jeff Green and the preview box.

There's not much in the LA's papers about the Clippers (1-0), who are one of five teams to have played just one game since the start of the NBA season last Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Times wrote a feature on Chris Kaman who had 26 points and 18 rebounds in the opener.

The Orange County Register put out an informative piece in its season preview and the Long Beach Press-Telegram says the Clips have reverted to their former selves.

Today's officiating crew is Eddie Rush, Pat Fraher and Bill Kennedy.


November 3, 2007

California Dreamin'

Posted by Percy Allen at 8:32 PM

It's back to basketball news following Clay Bennett's bombshell.

The Sonics were on the court this morning before flying to Los Angeles in the afternoon for Sunday's 12:30 p.m. game against the Clippers. They'll remain in LA for practice at Loyola-Marymount on Monday morning and play Tuesday night in Sacramento.

The Sonics had the day off on Friday and looked rested. The media was allowed in for the final 30 minutes and coach P.J. Carlesimo was directing a zone-defense drill.

Through Friday's games, the Supes are 28th in the league in points allowed at 113 ppg. and Los Angeles is first in scoring at 120 ppg. Expect a little more of the zone because Seattle's man-to-man D is getting toasted. Also, it would seem wise to try and slow down the Clips big front line and force guards Sam Cassell, Quinton Ross and Cuttino Mobley to beat them from the outside.

Everyone was on the court except Robert Swift (sore right knee) and Kurt Thomas (strained right hamstring). Carlesimo said Swift "practiced a little bit" and Thomas "did some 5-on-0 work." The coach also said Swift should be considered questionable and Thomas doubtful for the Clippers, but he doesn't expect either of them to play.

Without Swift and Thomas, expect Johan Petro to continue receiving 22-24 minutes a game. Petro has been surprisingly consistent thus far. And before anyone fires off a dissenting comment, consider this: In 81 games last season, Petro grabbed 10 or more rebounds three times. THREE!!! He got 10 in the season opener and had six against Phoenix. That's not Jack Sikma numbers, but it's not bad for someone who would have began the season out of the lineup if not for injuries.

Obviously, Sunday is a stiff test for Petro and the bigs because Clipper center Chris Kaman, who had 26 points and 18 rebounds against Golden State, is playing like a monster.

Mo Sene, whose played just three minutes this season, could also get playing time. A few days ago, Swift told me he wanted to return for the LA game, but apparently he hasn't made enough progress to satisfy trainer Mike Shimensky.

Carlesimo said he's optimistic despite Seattle's 0-2 start.

What needs to be addressed is the fourth quarter collapses. The Supes have been outscored 61-39. Listen to Carlesimo talk about plans to re-evaluate his rotations and substitution patterns. He also said the Sonics must raise their level of play in the final 12 minutes.

It will be interesting to see if Carlesimo stays with the 9-man rotation he used against Phoenix. I say nine because Luke Ridnour and Wally Szczerbiak were essentially interchangeable. Luke (7:32 minutes) played in the first half and Wally (8:14) played in the second.

And finally, here's Carlesimo giving a scouting report on the Los Angeles Clippers.

November 2, 2007

Listen to Bennett's exclusive interview

Posted by Percy Allen at 1:14 PM

Sonics chairman Clay Bennett issued a press release to the Seattle-area media this morning, however, the Oklahoman tycoon granted an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Oklahoman, his hometown newspaper.

Here's that audio clip in which Bennett talks about a potential arena deal in Seattle that's in the works but he said "we're not involed in it."

Bennett also said he's aware of the local ownership group that wants to buy the Sonics and Storm, however, he's not selling.

Bennett drops a bombshell

Posted by Percy Allen at 11:45 AM

As expected, the Sonics filed for relocation this morning with the NBA. Here's the statement they released to the media and at the bottom is a statement from Seattle city attorney Tom Carr.

STATEMENT OF CLAYTON I. BENNETT

SEATTLE, Friday, Nov. 2, 2007 ...quot; The following is a statement from Seattle SuperSonics & Storm Chairman Clayton I. Bennett.

On behalf of the owners of the Seattle SuperSonics and Seattle Storm, I am disappointed that our efforts over the last fifteen months to foster the development of a new multi-purpose arena in the Greater Seattle area were not successful. From the beginning, it has been my absolute hope and expectation that we would be able to secure the necessary governmental commitments to build a successor venue to KeyArena. Even though our proposal for a new state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility to be built in Renton was thoughtfully developed by a world-class team, was financially reasonable and was realistically attainable, we were unable to persuade the Washington Legislature to vote on our bill. The region is still in need of a modern building, not just for the Sonics and Storm, but also for the broad commercial and quality of life benefits such facilities provide.

We now understand and respect that there is very limited public support for such a public investment. As we stated on July 18, 2006, and have stated on many occasions thereafter, KeyArena is not a viable modern venue for the NBA and if a successor facility is not identified by October 31, 2007, we would evaluate our options, which would include relocation. Given the clear lack of public, political, and business support for a new multi-purpose arena, plus the enactment of Initiative 91 as a City of Seattle ordinance following a public vote authorized by the Seattle City Council itself, and the significant operating losses the businesses are now incurring, we have no option but to commence the NBA relocation process.

Today we notified Commissioner Stern that we intend to relocate the Sonics to Oklahoma City if we succeed in the pending litigation with the City, or are able to negotiate an early lease termination, or at the end of the lease term.

We have not made a decision regarding the future location of the Seattle Storm. We appreciate the deep local interest and support for the Storm and have begun to evaluate a future course of action for the team.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty and difficulty of this challenging time, we remain completely committed to the success of our basketball teams. We will continue to provide our players, coaches and staff the tools and support they need to be competitive.

We are also completely committed to providing our fans a first class basketball, entertainment and social experience. We will do all we can to ensure that our fans, sponsors and marketing and broadcast partners enjoy the highest value from their relationship with the Sonics and Storm.

There have been many in the region who have provided courageous, visionary support to our efforts. We sincerely appreciate your hard work and friendship in this difficult process.


Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr's response to Mr. Bennett's recent
statement to the press.

Seattle - November 2, 2007 -- Last night over 17,000 dedicated Sonic fans
welcomed home the team that they love with persistent chants of "Save our Sonics." Mr. Bennett's announcement today is a transparent attempt to alienate the Seattle fan base and follow through on his plan to move the team to Oklahoma City. The deadline for notifying the league of his intent to move is March 1. Making this move now continues the current ownership's insulting behavior toward the Sonics' dedicated fans and the citizens of the City of Seattle.

This latest move on their part will not affect the lawsuit at all. The City intends to
keep the Sonics here. If the NBA takes any steps to move them, we will seek immediate injunctive relief. Until then, the lawsuit will proceed. We intend to hold the Sonics to their commitment and have them play at the Key Arena until the end of the 2009-2010 season as per the contract.

November 1, 2007

Post game notes and quotes

Posted by Percy Allen at 11:45 PM

NOTES --- The Sonics fell for the third straight year on opening night.

Kevin Durant finished with a game-high 27 points, 18 in the first half.

The game featured 12 lead changes and 13 ties.

Three Suns had double-doubles: Amare Stoudemire (23 points and 11 rebounds), Steve Nash (18 points and 12 assists) and Shawn Marion (14 points and 11 rebounds).

Leading 96-93 late in the fourth quarter, Phoenix went on a 7-0 run and held the Sonics scoreless for 2½ minutes to take a 103-93 lead with 1:15 left and seal the game.

QUOTES --- Here's a long audio clip from coach P.J. Carlesimo after the game.

And listen to Earl Watson talk about the fourth-quarter breakdowns and his impressions of Durant.

Shawn Marion on Durant: "Not bad. He shot a solid percentage. He shot the ball very well. He's a tall guy. He's a big, long guy. He's 6-10 and he's got NBA 3-point range. He's a talented guy. I liked watching him play in college."

Candyman

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:20 PM

Sonics phenom Kevin Durant was never into Halloween as a (younger) youth and he wasn't even at his new Mercer Island home for the holiday on Wednesday, making his NBA debut, but that didn't stop his spot from being "the" house for kids to visit.

Durant's mother left a huge pumpkin-themed bowl of treats like Nerds and Starbursts out for the neighborhood children and word quickly spread that it was indeed Durant's house and where to find the goods.

"That's funny, all I found was trash in there this morning," said Durant when told of what happened overnight at his pad. "It's cool, though. It's for the kids and as long as they have fun."

Durant said he doesn't have anything against Halloween and loves candy, he just never dressed for the holiday because "it was never a big thing around my house growing up."

Phoenix game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:48 PM

ANOTHER FOURTH QUARTER MELTDOWN --- Kevin Durant knocked down consecutive 3s to Seattle close. Still the Supes trailed 96-93. Then their shooting turned cold and mistakes occurred. Durant committed two turnovers and Phoenix went on a 7-0 run to take a 103-93 lead with about 1:40 left. The fans are heading for the exits.

ANOTHER POTENTIAL UPSET --- The Supes are ahead 82-79. This game feels a lot like the opener. Seattle has control, but Phoenix has experience and there's no look of panic on their faces. This is another test for the young Sonics.

WALLY SHOWS UP --- Szczerbiak made his first appearance in the third quarter, scoring six points in four minutes.

CLAY AND RUSS --- Sonics employees appear to have cleared out of Chairman Clay Bennett's suite and he's alone with Hall of Famer Bill Russell and someone else that I can't make out. Late in the second quarter and midway in the third quarter, fans chanted "Save our Sonics" for nearly a minute.

SHOT OF THE SHORT SEASON --- With the shot clock winding down in the first half, Damien Wilkins grabbed a rebound with about four seconds left. He made it to halfcourt before he stopped and launched a shot over Leandro Barbosa. Wilkins 41-foot three-pointer sailed perfect and fell into the bottom of the net.

MORE DURANT --- The rookie had 18 points in the regular season opener at Denver on Wednesday and has matched that figure late in the first half on a line drive jumper from the top of the key. He's shooting 50 percent (7 of 14) from the field and looks much more comfortable than he did the other night.

KID'S HOUSE ---- Kid Rock, a hardcore Detroit Pistons fan, is in the building along with Hall of Famer Warren Moon, UW men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar, UW women's basketball coach Tia Jackson and former NFL standout Eric Metcalf. Several Seahawks, including Rocky Bernard and Julian Peterson are also in attendance.

ODD MAN OUT --- The Sonics $12M man, Wally Szczberiak has not gotten into the nine-man rotation midway through the second quarter and may not play tonight because the pace favors a smaller, quicker lineup.

RIDNOUR SIGHTING --- Luke Ridnour, who didn't play in the opener, substituted in early in the second quarter. He played eight minutes and had three assists.

HOME-COOKING? --- Maybe it's the Steve Nash factor, but there's an inordinate number of Phoenix fans in the building tonight. Nash, a Victoria, B.C. native, usually draws plenty of North-of-the-border fans.

DURANT SPEEDS UP --- The game's fast pace suits Kevin Durant who is finding holes in the Phoenix defense primarily on the left arc. He's also able to get out and run the fast break. After the first break, the rookie has seven points on 3-for-5 shooting.

Pre-game notes and quotes

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:25 PM

NOTES -- Centers Robert Swift (sore right knee) and Kurt Thomas (strained right hamstring) are inactive.

During his pre-game address, coach P.J. Carlesimo said F Chris Wilcox was sick at halftime on Wednesday against Denver, which might explain why the Sonics forward scored just 2 points on 1-for-3 shooting after intermission. Wilcox had 12 points in the first half.

Carlesimo said the starting lineup is not set in stone. He hinted that changes are coming in the next few weeks. Those changes will likely involve PGs Earl Watson, Delonte West and Luke Ridnour, who did not play in Denver.

Listen here as Carlesimo talks about needing Nick Collison to be more aggressive offensively.

Here's an audio clip of Kevin Durant talking about his first NBA game. He almost asked Carmelo Anthony for an autographed copy of his game shoes, but decided against it.

Difficult game tongiht for the Sonics. Another fast-paced team. Grant Hill looks good and he makes Phoenix even better.

Officials for tonight are Ron Garretson, Leon Wood and Jason Phillips.

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