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Sonics Blog

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

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December 17, 2007

Interesting developments in OKC

Posted by Percy Allen at 3:37 PM

Not sure if folks in Seattle saw this last week, but the Oklahomans are making plans on hosting an NBA team. The Oklahoma City Council approved $250,000 for a study to determine what improvements need to be made to the Ford Center.

Here's the story in the Oklahoman.

And there seem to be discussions on building a new facility in Oklahoma City that could house an NBA team. Here's the link to that story.

As for the Sonics, returning home from a five-game, eight-day trip, coach P.J. Carlesimo gave the guys two days off. No practice. No weightlifting. (At least not mandatory). From what I'm told, he wanted them to get away from the game a bit and come back refreshed for their second long extended homestand.

The next practice is Tuesday.

Seattle finishes the year with five of six games at home. They've got some winnable games on the immediate schedule starting Wednesday with New Orleans, which plays in Portland tonight. Toronto (Friday's game) and Portland (on Christmas Day) are 50-50 games. Boston will be tough, but Minnesota and Philadelphia are beatable.

Should the Supes win four of their next six and finish the year 11-20, that's a better mark than many had for them. Of course this is an optimistic view. The Supes could just as easily post a 2-4 or 1-5 record during this stretch. But then, winning and losing doesn't appear to be that big of concern for the franchise.

I thought Jayda's interview with GM Sam Presti last week was revealing for what he didn't say. Apparently, he doesn't care about wins and losses at this point, which might be a first in professional sports history. Every coach, GM and player I ever met places a premium on winning, sometimes sacrificing everything else. (Herm Edwards' rant is ringing in my head). Presti is big on not skipping steps and he's OK with getting knocked around this season believinig a big payoff is in the future.

This next stretch of games is key in terms of piling up some wins because when the 2008-portion of the season begins, the Supes play 11 playoff-potential teams in 15 January games. They begin the month with a four-game trip (Phoenix, Washington, Cleveland and New Jersey) followed by home games against Dallas and the Lakers.

December 16, 2007

Mailbag

Posted by Jayda Evans at 1:01 AM

Word to the wise, never play Sonics GM Sam Presti in any type of music trivia. Before my interview with him in a Minnesota hotel lobby on Friday, he asked what I was just listening to on my iPod. I said, "A Tribe Called Quest," but when he asked what song, I looked at the thing and said "Longview" because the next track had just started.

"That's not the Tribe, that's Green Day," he quickly said.

Dang! Presti 1, Evans 0. (The Tribe song was "Find A Way" for those keeping score.)

But Aaron, that should show that Presti does have a personality, and it's actually pretty cool. To answer your question about his responses being so rehearsed, that's a funcation of the position he has. He said many times in the interview that he doesn't want to be the spotlight - that should be for the players and coach P.J. Carlesimo. And there are a lot of things he just can't say because of sensitivity to a deal. What GM really speaks his or her mind, anyway?

So the interview wasn't that enlightening on the record. To James Le's question about Presti's holiday wish-list, it's "continued growth in areas that are important to this organization." He declined to pick a specific position.

To the questions about how rebuilding the team would help muster support with arena situation, Presti said, "We want to make the best decisions we can for our basketball team and hopefully garner support with our play and work in the community. We work everyday to put a team together that will make the city proud and keep people coming out. The fan is an integral part."

Presti decline to talk specifically about trades, the center or point-guard positions, except to praise the work of Kurt Thomas and the professionalism of Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour. He also likes Delonte West and, along with Carlesimo, said the organization had hoped he be a bigger part of the season, but injuries happen. For the most part it seems Carlesimo has control of stating what he needs on the court. "We're on the same page," Presti said.

Lastly to David's question about how the win-loss record affects the budding "winning culture," Presti isn't worried about that yet.

"We're doing a good job and doing the work," he said. "Hopefully, it will dictate in our win-loss record as we lay that foundation. I like the way our group has approached this season."

December 15, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:54 PM

It's kind of expected at the end of a long road trip, but given that the Sonics now have three days in between games, you'd think they would have pushed through to get this win. Especially since they led by 10 in the opening quarter.

The Sonics split their matchups in Utah last season with a different roster, yet being up by 10 in a building you know is rough to play in should spark something. It didn't.

The loss of Kurt Thomas hurt, only I have a feeling at 35-years-old he would have showed signs of fatigue in this game. The real pain probably came from rookie Kevin Durant. He picked up three quick fouls, which limited him to six minutes in the opening half. Everything can't be pinned on him, but the Sonics needed scoring to complement Wally Szczerbiak's 24 points and Thomas is their offensive leader at 20.3.

He was a combined 7-for-28 in the back-to-back set.

Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo griped, again, about the travel for the opening part of the season. All teams have at least one horrible trip and this one was rough since the Sonics zigzagged from New Orleans, to Chicago, to New York, then back to Minnesota and to Utah. But what's Carlesimo going to do in March when the Supes leave for a seven-game road swing?

Maybe nothing if the team is playing better.

Jazz game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:48 PM

THAT'S IT: The Sonics concluded their five-game road trip with a 96-75 loss to Utah. Colorful streamers are falling on the court. The Supes were 2-3 on the eight-day stint away from KeyArena. They'll have a two-game homestand against New Orleans (Wednesday) and Toronto (Friday) next week.

RIDNOUR CHECKING IN: Ridnour is going to return to the court after the timeout. Not sure why Carlesimo is chancing it since the Supes are down 91-73 with 2:59 remaining. Watson just picked up his first foul, so there's no trouble there.

RIDNOUR BACK: Ridnour is back on the sideline, we'll see if he can return to action.

RIDNOUR OUT: PG Luke Ridnour just left for the locker room after committing a foul with 8:49 remaining. Assuming it has to do with his injured left quad since he was walking rather gingerly. Earl Watson replaced him and the Sonics trail 83-69.

CARRYING THE SUPES: It's not enough, but Szczerbiakis keeping Seattle close, scoring 11 of his current 20 points in the third quarter. None of the starters have cracked double digits in scoring.

GAME OVER: Hate to call it so early but when Jazz Ukrainian rookie Kyrylo Fesenko is able to take Collison off the dribble for a layin in the paint, you have to call game. The Sonics are down 76-62 with 1:03 remaining in the third quarter and it doesn't look good for the Supes.

BROKEN ANKLES: G Deron Williams just walked Sonics F Wally Szczerbiak down, causing him to tumble to the court. But Williams was laughing so hard, he missed the open shot with 3:37 remaining in the third. No biggie. The Jazz are ahead 68-57.

HALFTIME: The Jazz turned it on in the second quarter and lead 51-40 at the break. Turnovers killed the Sonics as they gave up nine points in the quarter alone to foiled passes. The Sonics' shooting percentage also dropped and they finished the half shooting 37.5 percent from the field. Seattle does have 11 assists on 15 shot attempts. But Utah, which is also playing the second game of a back-to-back set, is shooting 51.4 percent from the field with 13 assists on their 19 FG attempts.

PETRO BREAKS RECORD: It's hard for young players that get limited minutes to enter the game and sparkle in spot time, but foul trouble has been an issue for Petro since he entered the league. But he broke his own record today, not getting tagged for a foul seconds after checking in. He's going to see more minutes because of the absence of Thomas and Petro already has four points, four rebounds and only one foul in nine minutes.

GETTING SLOPPY: The Sonics started crisp, like coach P.J. Carlesimo said they would have to in order to keep pace with Utah, but they're starting to throw the ball away and are down 38-36 in the second quarter. The saving grace is that the Jazz are also careless with the ball, accounting for nine turnovers to the Sonics' 11.

WE'RE BACK: My bad on not posting a thread for the Minnesota game. You guessed it, computer problems. But it's all good now, so let's get rolling with the Jazz game in session. The Sonics started off shooting well from the field, 52.6 percent in the opening half, and are up 33-31 in the second quarter. Rookie Kevin Durant isn't a factor, however, sitting on the bench with three quick fouls. C Kurt Thomas is also out (sprained right ankle). Meanwhile the Jazz are playing without Matt Harpring due to gastric distress. Heard he was violently ill on the flight home from Portland, vomiting several times. It's the second time already this season that Harpring has had gastric distress, which a spokesman said might be because of Harpring's kids. A Utah reporter quickly retorted, "yeah, but a lot of people have kids."

Here's tonight's starters

Sonics
G Earl Watson
G Kevin Durant
C Nick Collison
F Damien Wilkins
F Chris Wilcox

Jazz
G Deron Williams
G Ronnie Brewer
C Jarron Collins
F Carlos Boozer
F Andrei Kirilenko

The officials are: Jim Clark, james Capers, and Matt Boland.


Thomas out

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:42 PM

Just as the Sonics were starting to feel their groove, they lost another player to injury. C Kurt Thomas was scratched from the starting lineup after suffering a sprained right ankle in the win against Minnesota on Friday.

Thomas said he rolled the ankle while coming down from a rebound in the fourth quarter, causing him to briefly hit the floor. He finished the game, including adding the exclamation point with a two-handed dunk in the waning seconds.

C Nick Collison will start in Thomas' place and coach P.J. Carlesimo said he'd probably go nine or 10 players deep early to keep pace with physical Utah. The rotation could include more time for Johan Petro, who has racked up three 'Did Not Play-Coach's Decision" in his past five games.

Thomas isn't the only new injury. Carlesimo has his left pinky finger bandage after suffering a paper cut while reaching into his briefcase in Minnesota.

"I'm going to tough it out," he teased.

December 14, 2007

Comedy show

Posted by Jayda Evans at 10:22 PM

The Sonics are starting to feel more comfortable around each other, which is evident in their on-court play (although still not top-level) and their behavior after games. Tonight it was Chris Wilcox who was on fire with his standup comedy act.

Reporters approached him to talk about his double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) in the win against Minnesota and he had to call a timeout to tease rookie Jeff Green, who was getting dressed behind the huddle of media surrounding Wilcox.

"Take a look at how small that T-shirt is," said Wilcox of Green's white undershirt that was shriveled as if washed too many times. "Come on now. That calls for a timeout. He's in the league now."

Everyone, including Green, started to laugh.

"A tank top is bigger than that," Wilcox continued.

Then C Kurt Thomas stepped out of the shower, looked at the shirt and added, "You make too much money for you not to go to the store and get you a three pack [of shirts]."

Green's reply?

"I'm saving it!"

Got questions for Presti?

Posted by Cathy Henkel at 9:06 AM

Calling all questions --

Sonics GM Sam Presti is speaking with the media today and since some of you have been critical of the new management, we'd like to know your burning questions to ask him personally.

So, what do you want to know?

December 13, 2007

Spreading cheer

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:56 PM

Sonics rookie Kevin Durant and his family will host their first charitable holiday event, sending fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders from the First Place School on a shopping spree at NikeTown next week. Each child will receive a $200 gift card then will be treated to dinner at Sport Restaurant where Squatch will also be a guest.

Ridnour and the PG situation

Posted by Jayda Evans at 5:53 PM

The Sonics were off today, traveling to Minnesota after celebrating their win over New York on Wednesday night. PG Luke Ridnour had his best outing since returning from a 12-game absence due to partially tearing his left quad against Orlando. He was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including making both three-point attempts. Ridnour also had three assists and two turnovers in 17 minutes.

Ridnour still isn't strong on defense, however. Since this was a weakness in the past, too, can't say if it's more of the same or the leg. Still, with the starting PG job up for grabs and Earl Watson playing well as the only healthy guard on the roster, it was a showing Ridnour had to have.

"There's still some soreness," Ridnour said. "I'm not 100 percent. I just want to keep testing it and making sure it keeps getting better and not worse."

Delonte West, meanwhile, continues to rehab the plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He's beginning to look bored on the bench and alludes to wanting to return, but apparently the foot won't let him.

December 12, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:18 PM

There were defensive highlights, but not a concentrated effort on defense, making it hard to put too much weight in this Sonics win. The team did show grit in not letting the lopsided Chicago loss and travel from a back-to-back get them down. But they need to play better defensively to really show improvement.

Posts Kurt Thomas and Nick Collison made several nice veteran plays. And rookies Jeff Green and Kevin Durant put on a nice show for the basketball junkies at the Garden.

If the Sonics can defeat another lowly team in Minnesota (3-17) on Friday and play competitively against Utah on Saturday, then I'd say they've turned the corner. For now, it's a nice game the Sonics should have won.

One downer was the play of former Washington and Rainier Beach star Nate Robinson. He was 5 for 17 from the field, including 1 for 8 from three-point range, for 12 points. He also had five personal fouls. Teammate and fellow Rainier Beach standout Jamal Crawford was his usual impressive self, finishing with a team-high 29 points and nearly leading the Knicks to the win.

"We're just not a very good team right now," New York coach Isiah Thomas said. "If things do change, it will be a conversation we have with the players before I have it with you [the media]. I am not going to come in here after a loss, tell you I am going to be changing things before I have said it to the players. We definitely have to regroup. We are not playing good basketball."

Knicks game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans at 4:42 PM

FIRE ISIAH: There was a time when "New York, New York" was the parting song from this famed arena. These days it's the "Fire Isiah" chant. Can't say it's all that harsh, though. It is New York after all. The Sonics don't care. They won 117-110 behind solid bench play and 30 points from Durant.

BOOING AGAIN: Thomas, a former Knick, caused the crowd to boo with his short jumper to make the score 112-105 Sonics. Looks like Seattle is going to win this one. Durant is a strong buoy, shooting 10-for-19 from the field for 28 points. But there's still 1:20 remaining.

CHECK THAT: Watson's back in the game. So, make that "Ridnour had a good run."

RIDNOUR RUNNING THINGS: Looks like Ridnour will play out the final minutes even though Seattle product Jamal Crawford has worked him a few times. But Ridnour had a sweet pass to Durant to keep the Sonics' flow rolling and the team leads 105-103 at the 2:43 mark. Rookie Jeff Green had a nice block on Crawford at the rim that got the MSG crowd cooing.

CLEB SIGHTINGS: Harry Cronnick Jr., Giants legend Carl Banks and actress Chloe Sevigny are some of the celebrities sprinkled in the Madison Square Garden crowd.

ZONE WORKING: The Knicks scored on one dump pass inside against the Sonics' zone, but for the most part, it's working and the Sonics have had some stops to lead 83-79 entering the final quarter.

HEATING UP: Durant is starting to feel it on the offensive end, although he missed the chance to take a charge on a driving Zach Randolph. Can't really blame him since Randolph is 260-pounds and Durant is listed at a generous 215. Anyway, the rookie has scored eight of the Sonics' past 12 points (Watson had the other two buckets) to help Seattle build a 73-70 with 4:50 remaining in the third quarter.

JUST IN: Richardson will not return tonight.

COMPARING LIPS: OK, C Kurt Thomas is obsessed with his busted lip. While Kevin Durant was shooting free throws in the second quarter, Thomas was talking across the lane with Knicks C Eddy Curry about whose lip looks worse. Curry had his busted by Dallas F/G Josh Howard on Monday - an inadvertent elbow. My vote is for Curry's, it looks gnarly and is in the center of his lip. Thomas has a gross stitch hanging out of his mouth, but the swelling isn't as obvious.

MINI TRIBUTE?: The Knicks are playing "Proud Mary" right now, I'm assuming it's in honor of Ike Turner, who died today.

NO REBOUNDING: The Sonics are down 56-53 at the half and even though they shot 50 percent from the field, they didn't try to get half the baskets they missed, accounting for two offensive rebounds to get outscored 10-1 in second chance shooting against the Knicks. New York outrebounded Seattle 28-18 overall in the first half.

RICHARDSON OUT: Knicks F Quentin Richardson strained a tendon in his right knee in the second quarter and is questionable to return.

SHOOTING BETTER: The Sonics are shooting better (51.5 percent) than against Chicago on Tuesday, even though they are still giving up shots to New York (51.4). The Supes trail 45-39 with 5:47 remaining in the opening half.

APPOINT GELLY: Second-year guard Mickael Gelabale is in at the PG position. Interesting since there's talk, again, out of Miami of the Heat wanting to upgrade for a PG and liking Sonics vets Luke Ridnour and Earl Watson along with Portland's Jarrett Jack and Sacramento's injured Mike Bibby. Coach P.J. Carlesimo said Gelly wasn't a long-term solution at PG, but I like him there. He's quick, can shoot better than Watson, plays better defense than Ridnour and is a matchup problem with his 6-foot-7 height. Plus, he's capable of playing any backcourt position.

BOO-BIRDS: True to form, the New York fans booed coach Isiah Thomas during pregame introductions and after forward Zach Randolph air balled the first basket of the game - a fadeaway 12-footer - by about 4-feet, the crowd started booing again. Should be interesting.

Anyway, here are tonight's starters

Sonics
F Chris Wilcox
F Damien Wilkins
C Kurt Thomas
G Kevin Durant
G Earl Watson

Knicks
F Zach Randolph
F Quentin Richardson
C Eddy Curry
G Jamal Crawford
G Fred Jones

The officials are: Bob Delaney, Phil Robinson, and Derrick Stafford.

December 11, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:31 PM

Sonics GM Sam Presti stood alone in the corridor of the United Center, studying the final box score before briefly going into the locker room. The coaching staff and front office have been talking to players on the five-game road trip and the Sonics aren't giving them many positive opening statements.

Delonte West is still unable to play. The team is still inconsistent with its defense. And even though the Sonics are playing teams with equal problems, they can't pull out a win.

It's difficult to swallow, but Chicago was simply making shots. I think the defense could have been a little tighter in many places, but it might have been a case where the Bulls would have just made the bucket with a hand covering their eyes. This is a team that advanced to the second round of the playoffs last season with defensive second teamers Kirk Hinrich and Ben Wallace. And the Bulls have won five of their past seven games, including the Seattle matchup.

So, maybe it's the Bulls that are the illusion. An upper-tier team that would have defeated Seattle anyway.

Bulls game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans at 4:57 PM

EVERYBODY SCORES: The Bulls received scoring from every player it used tonight in winning 123-96. In fact, only Mo Sene, who played nine minutes, didn't score in the game.

GETTING MINUTES: Carlesimo is giving a lot of time to his bench since the starters are ineffective. Collison and Green have 18 minutes each while Gelabale is back on the court. Sonics are down 99-75 with 10:05 remaining in the game.

WESTSIDE: OK, this game is a bust. Sonics are down 81-58. The good news is Seattle's Boom Squad is better than the Break-a-Bulls, a group of four breakdancers that just performed during a third-quarter timeout. Yeah, you know it's bad when you start talking about the gimmicky entertainment.

WHERE'S THE D?: Carlesimo spoke of the team playing better defense of late, but that wasn't the case in the second quarter as the Sonics were outscored 36-22 to a supposedly poor shooting Bulls team, trailing 67-49 at the half. Would say combinations have something to do with it, but everyone is missing assignments. And even though Chicago is putting on a mini show, it's oddly quiet in the United Center.

TIDE TURNING: The Sonics are getting sluggish with their defense from the reserves, allowing the Bulls to build a 46-35 lead in the second quarter. Carlesimo is playing both PG Luke Ridnour and F Mickael Gelabale and finding minutes for rookie Jeff Green, but all need to play harder.

BETTER START: Led by Kurt Thomas and Damien Wilkins, the Sonics are off to a better start than in Sunday's loss to New Orleans. They're still down 17-13 at the first timeout, but they're forcing turnovers, making better shot selections and Thomas blocked a Ben Wallace shot. Rookie Kevin Durant is even getting "superstar" calls, according to the Chicago press, drawing the foul on a driving layup.

SHOWING OFF: C Robert Swift and assistant coach Mark Bryant have been working out prior to games, trying to get Swift ready to return again from his right ACL injury. Well, after today's session, Swift tried a couple half-court shots, which caught the eye of the United Center crowd. He didn't make one, but threw down a thunderous dunk instead. Swift is dropping a little weight -- a good thing because even he admitted to probably putting on a little too much muscle mass while trying to work his way back from the Nov. 22, 2006 surgery. Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo doesn't expect Swift to return until January.

TRUE ROOKIE: Most of the time Kevin Durant plays it cool, not letting it be shown if he's nervous or in awe. But he couldn't hide his feelings when looking around the United Center, checking out all of the championship banners for the Blackhawks and Bulls. Tonight is his first time playing in the United Center. "I didn't get to see the famous [Michael] Jordan statue, though, our bus went the other way," he said.

Here are tonight's starters

Sonics
G Earl Watson
G Kevin Durant
C Kurt Thomas
F Damien Wilkins
F Chris Wilcox

Bulls
G Kirk Hinrich
G Ben Gordon
F Luol Deng
F Joe Smith
C Ben Wallace

The officials are: Steve Javie, Marc Davis, and Brian Forte.

Here comes the drag

Posted by Jayda Evans at 8:32 AM

Some players hit the streets of Chicago after practice on Monday night, checking out the scene. But it's the end of free time on this road trip. The Sonics' upcoming four games are back-to-back sets with one day of rest in between.

Here's a look at Chicago in a game that should be entertaining since both teams have stinker records. Ah, remember when this was a thrilling matchup, although not victorious for Seattle?

December 10, 2007

Still mending

Posted by Jayda Evans at 10:07 PM

Sonics guard Luke Ridnour felt soreness in his partially torn left quadriceps at practice on Monday. He played 12 minutes in the Sunday loss at New Orleans after missing the previous 12 games due to the injury.

Seattle had only a light session and reviewed film. So, Ridnour is a game-time decision for Tuesday's game against Chicago, as is guard Delonte West, who shot baskets on Monday but hasn't played since Dec. 2 due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.

Center Kurt Thomas did not practice because of swelling in his upper lip. He suffered the injury against the Hornets and needed three stitches. Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo said Thomas should be fine to start, however.

On the docket is more minutes for rookie Jeff Green, averaging 18.6 minutes his past five games, and hopefully a better start than the one displayed in New Orleans.

The Bulls are a lowly 6-12, but Chicago has started to play like people predicted it would prior to the season, winning three of its past five games. Carlesimo, still fuming at Sunday's 91-88 loss, warned that if his team begins the game similar to the way it started against the Hornets, "we won't be down 11 points at the half, we'll be down 111."

Pacers' Tinsley won't be punished

Posted by Jayda Evans at 2:23 PM

Just getting into snowy Chicago and saw this on ESPN's site. Perhaps you know the story about Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley being involved in his third incident, this time a shooting where the team's equipment manager was wounded following an altercation at a strip club.

Sonics broadcaster Kevin Calabro first told me of the story on Sunday and shared his memories growing up in the area where the club is located -- "the Westside" of Indianapolis he teased in Snoop Dogg fashion.

"It's a clash of all of these cultures," Calabro said. "Not the place you want to be if you have money."

Well, Tinsley and his crew keep finding themselves there. And the Pacers have yet to seriously penalize him for his actions, which of course he apologized for, again, after participating in practice today.

Everyone has a right to do what they want with their free time, but public figures have got to start understanding there are repercussions for their actions.

Coach Jim O'Brien said Tinsley "didn't break any of our rules."

December 9, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Jayda Evans at 8:29 PM

Of course P.J. Carlesimo is going to protect his players, that's probably why he ranted about the opening half insitead of dwelling on the play that truly cost the Sonics the game -- Nick Collison's bad pass.

You feel bad, especially because Collison is one of those players who seemingly does everything by the book. And since returning from a broken nose, his play has been great. But this loss is on him. It was a horrible pass at a critical time. If he were Jeff Green, maybe you brush it off. But Collison isn't a rookie.

Aside from the loss, which starts the five-game road trip off rough, Kevin Durant's electric play in the fourth quarter goes down the drain. He finally hit one of those icy three-pointers that gave Seattle hope with 24.1 seconds remaining. And he finished with 23 points on the same court where he might be playing in his first All-Star game come February.

But then there was the turnover. Not the end of the world, given the Sonics' record, but definitely a play that has to have a smarter decision in the future.

Hornets game thread

Posted by Jayda Evans at 3:58 PM

FUMBLE: The Sonics had a chance to win the game when the Hornets missed a pair of free throws to seal the game. But C Nick Collison felt rushed with just six seconds remaining, flinging a pass down court to Durant, who was standing out-of-bounds. The botched play cost the team the win, losing 91-88.

STITCHES FOR THOMAS: Word is Thomas has a cut on the inside of his upper lip and they're just starting to finish up putting in three stitches. Too bad for the Sonics because he was part of the rhythm that had the Sonics playing well. The team is still close, trailing 82-80 with 2:09 remaining in the game. But the Hornets are starting to make the hustle plays and Chris Paul is putting on a show, making a three-pointer as the shot clock expired and a running layup to regain the lead.

THOMAS EXITS: Thomas left the court and went to the locker room with athletic trainer Mike Shimensky. No word on what's wrong, but it appeared to be blood that stopped play.

ON FIRE: Thomas just checked out, scoring 12 points, shooting 6-for-8 from the field, to help the Sonics tie the score at 60 points apiece. Durant had the tying basket, flying in for a nice finger roll at the 2:48 mark of the third quarter. Thomas was scoreless, not attempting a shot, in the opening half.

HEATING UP: The Sonics are on an 8-0 run to pull within 52-49. C Kurt Thomas just hit an outside jumper that appeared way out of his range, but slipped through the net.

WHERE YOU AT?: It's true, attendance in the "Big Easy" is horrible for a team four-games back of San Antonio for the Southwest Division crown. Wrote an article about it today, but while natives agree, they've also written today to say that the real problem no one is writing about is that the Hornets played a second season in Oklahoma City instead of planning to return home like the Saints following Hurricane Katrina. Hornets owner George Shinn also balked at the idea, which turned people off. There's still hope that once football season concludes, folks will start supporting the basketball team. Until then, I guess it'll be more sparse nights like this -- a reported 10,773.

DRIED UP: The Sonics aren't generating much offense. Durant is 4-for-13 from the field while Szczerbiak is 4 of 7. The remainder of the team is 7 of 21. Add that the Sonics combined for 10 turnovers in the opening half (four by Damien Wilkins), which the Hornets turned into 12 points, and it's clear why the Sonics are down 52-41 heading into halftime.

SOMETHING IN RESERVE: While Seattle is still trying to get it together, New Orleans is getting help from all areas, including its bench. Rookie starter Julian Wright had a sweet no-look pass to Hilton Armstrong for an open dunk and on the next possession, Wright, who's starting in place of Morris Peterson, added a fastbreak dunk of his own to make the score 42-28. The Sonics bench is getting outscored 13-8 by the Hornets reserves.

WALLY'S WORLD: It was noted locally that F Wally Szczerbiak has trouble rebounding. I was told his father made note of the statement and told his son. Good thing because Szczerbiak had three boards in eight minutes of the first quarter, ending the period with a fastbreak dunk off a pass from Ridnour to pull the Sonics within 23-17.

RIDNOUR RETURNS: PG Luke Ridnour just checked in with 2:21 remaining in the opening quarter and the Sonics down 23-13. He's missed the past 12 games with a left quad injury.

COLD START: It's muggy outside but the Sonics basket is icy. The team is 1-for-7 from the field (14.3 percent) while the Hornets are shooting 50 percent to take a 10-3 lead. Not really a concern, though. Seattle appears to be pushing too hard and missing easy layups that should fall later.

SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY: New Orleans is a welcoming city, even when it comes to pregame intro music. Well, at least they hooked the Sonics up, playing the hot 1988 track "Supersonic" by JJ Fad as the players ran onto the court. Spotted a smile on Kevin Durant's face before the music cut off to switch to the Hornets' intro song, but since Durant was born in 1988, I'm sure the kid knows nothing about that.

Ridnour ready

Posted by Jayda Evans at 3:50 PM

Sonics PG Luke Ridnour is dressed and participating in pregame warm-ups now, meaning he'll be available to play tonight. Coach P.J. Carlesimo's only concern is playing Ridnour too much. The guard missed the past 12 games because of a torn left quad. Only foul trouble to PG Earl Watson could alter Carlesimo's plans.

Meanwhile, PG Delonte West is projecting returning to play on Tuesday against Chicago. He was soaking his injured right foot in a bucket of ice before the game, stating he's never had plantar facsiitis before.

"I didn't even know what it was when they told me. I thought it had something to do with your toes," he said.

Carlesimo said if either Ridnour or West look like long-term problems, then he'd discuss bringing in another point guard with GM Sam Presti, who is on the trip along with assistant GM Scott Perry.

Here are tonight's starters and officials:

Sonics
F Damien Wilkins
F Chris Wilcox
C Kurt Thomas
G Kevin Durant
G Earl Watson

New Orleans
F Julian Wright
F David West
C Tyson Chandler
G Rasual Butler
G Chris Paul

The officials are Eddie Rush, Tony Brothers, and Kevin Fehr.

Getting ready for New Orleans

Posted by Jayda Evans at 9:38 AM

The Sonics wrapped up shootaround and the usual suspects are out tonight -- PG Delonte West (foot) and C Robert Swift (knee). PG Luke Ridnour participated and didn't seemed bothered by his injured left quad as he boarded the bus to the hotel, but he'll remain a game-time decision against the Hornets. Coach P.J. Carlesimo said the final decision is up to Ridnour, along with athletic trainer Mike Shimensky.

The Hornets are also injury plagued, as you can read here. The loss of Peja Stojakovic, his first missed game of the season due to a pulled groin, is major because he's the team's third-leading scorer (14.4). But PG Chris Paul will be a handful, anyway, averaging 20.6 points and scoring 30 points of more in three of his past five outings.

Sonics star Kevin Durant has been hot lately, too, averaging 22.8 points in his past five games (all at KeyArena), including a pair of 35-point showings in wins against Indiana (Nov. 30) and Milwaukee (Friday). New Orleans coach Byron Scott said he'll have 6-foot-7 guard Rasual Butler play the 6-9 rookie if Morris Peterson (sore lower back) can't play.

December 8, 2007

Ridnour declaration

Posted by Jayda Evans at 7:23 AM

Sonics PG Luke Ridnour said he'll be officially ready to play in Sunday's game against the Hornets in New Orleans. He has missed 12 games with a partially torn left quadriceps, practicing for the first time Thursday.

"I just wanted to make sure I was 100 percent before I came back," said Ridnour, who chopped off his beard in anticipation of playing Friday against Milwaukee. "[Thursday] was my first day going live, so I just wanted to get a little more conditioning in and make sure I'm up to par and be ready to roll when I come back. Sunday is pretty much in the mix as far as me returning. Sunday for sure."

Ridnour won't get another full practice today as the Sonics are off and heading directly to New Orleans this afternoon. But seeing how the injury reacts to travel and getting a walkthrough in before tipoff on Sunday should help Ridnour determine if he's still on track.

And speaking of track, dare we wonder if the Sonics can piece together their first win streak of the season? The Hornets are 13-7, trailing San Antonio in Southwest Division standings. But New Orleans is 5-5 in its past 10 games. Seattle is 2-1 thus far in December, winners of its past two home matchups.

December 7, 2007

Milwaukee game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:27 PM

CRAZY NIGHT --- In more ways than one. Again, my apologies for abruptly ending the game thread. We're still having wireless problems at KeyArena. I'm working on it. Really. When the team returns, this shouldn't be a problem again.

SOME QUICK STATS --- Redd scored a game-high 41 points. Wilcox finished with 14 points and 13 rebounds. However, he had just 1 point in the second half. Watson was fantastic with 13 points, 9 assists in 40 minutes. Nick Collison and Wally Szczerbiak had 12 off the bench.

THREE OUT OF FOUR --- The 104-98 win is a nice way to finish off the 4-game home stand and start a 5-game road trip.

CAREER HIGHS --- Durant tied career highs with 35 points and 8 rebounds. He also had 5 blocks.

DURANT TAKING OVER --- On both ends of the court, the rookie is dominating. He's defending Redd and giving him fits because of his length. I think Durant has 4 blocks. And the rookie is carrying Seattle offensively. The Sonics are up 96-90.

WATSON ENDURES --- He played the entire third quarter. However, Gelabale is back in. Let's see if Milwaukee makes a run.

DURANT ARRIVES --- First he blocks Redd's three-point attempt with his left hand late in the third. Then he ends the period with a fastbreak dunk over Royal Ivey. Got to give kudos to Watson for a nice alley-oop pass outside the three-point arc. Seattle leads 73-68.

BUCKS BACK IN IT --- Mo Williams drained a pair of FTs that gave Milwaukee a 67-66 lead. It's there first lead since the first quarter.

REDD LEADS THE WAY --- Predictably, Redd has a game-high 16 points. Bogut has 12 points and 6 rebounds. Wilcox is bouncing back nicely from an off night Wednesday. He's got 13 points and 9 rebounds. Durant has 11 points and Watson 8.

HALFTIME --- This game looks a lot like the last one, which is good for the Sonics. They lead 53-49, but it's been an evenly played first half. Both teams are shooting 42.6 percent (20 of 47) from the field. Milwaukee is shooting better on 3s (3 of 6), but the difference is Seattle's FT shooting. The Sonics are 10 for 11 while the Bucks are 6 of 7.

WATSON RETURNS --- He'll probably play 36-38 minutes tonight.

GELLY NOT JAM --- With backup PG Mickael Gelabale on the court, the Bucks have cut the Sonics' deficit to three points (35-32). Apparently, Ridnour is not playing tonight, which is surprising because Carlesimo said he planned on using him.

THE YI FACTOR --- I know I'm supposed to have the answers, but will somebody explain to me why the Sonics didn't take Yi Jianlian with the No. 5 pick. I've been accused by some of you of not liking Jeff Green, which is not true. I've wrote it before and I'll write it again, I think he's probably the toughest player on the squad. I just think he doesn't have a go-to move offensively and at 6-9 he's too small to defend PFs in the Western Conference. I believe he's better suited to play SF, which is the spot that Kevin Durant will eventually play so there's going to be a log jam there some day soon.

Back to Yi. He might have been a smarter pick. He certainly would have helped the cash-strapped Sonics who claimed $14 million losses last season because of his marketability to the Pacific Rim. When chairman Clay Bennett led the Oklahoma City group that purchased the Sonics last year he talked extensively about the viability of the franchise to market to Asian countries. Imagine the sponsorship possibilities surrounding Yi, only the NBA's second Chinese player, in a place like Seattle that has a large Asian community.

The Sonics issued 12 extra press credentials to Chinese media for tonight's game.

I was told the Supes passed on him because he isn't their type of player, which is to suggest that he's not a gritty defender.

And drafting Yi makes sense now, but there would have been more than a few jokes on draft day if the Sonics had taken a 7-foot project for the fourth straight year.

So far, Yi has just 2 points on 1-for-3 shooting and no rebounds.

FIRST QUARTER STATS --- Sonics lead 31-24. Chris Wilcox leads all scorers with 10 points on 5 for 6 shooting. Earl Watson has 8 points and 2 assists. Andrew Bogut has 8 points for Milwaukee and Michael Redd 7.

RIDNOUR SET TO PLAY --- Luke Ridnour is on the court and should log about 12-15 minutes tonight, according to coach P.J. Carlesimo.

STARTING LINEUPS

Milwaukee
F -- Desmond Mason
F -- Yi Jianlian
C -- Andrew Bogut
G -- Michael Redd
G -- Mo Williams

Sonics
F -- Damien Wilkins
F -- Chris Wilcox
C -- Kurt Thomas
G -- Kevin Durant
G -- Earl Watson

Officials -- Joey Crawford, Michael Smith and Sean Wright

December 6, 2007

Ridnour returns

Posted by Jayda Evans at 2:55 PM

Sonics point guard Luke Ridnour returned to practice today, about three weeks earlier than the projected time frame to heal his partially torn left quadriceps. He said he didn't feel any stiffness or agitation immediately following the 75-minute session, but coach P.J. Carlesimo is leery of playing Ridnour in Friday's game against Milwaukee.

Because the team is just one quarter into the season, Carlesimo said he would rather wait until Ridnour is at 100 percent before playing him. Ridnour also wants to be cautious, but said if the leg feels fine at shootaround Friday, he'd prefer to play.

"You've got to be careful, you don't want to do something to it or come back too early," said Ridnour, who suffered the injury Nov. 13 in Orlando. "Overall I feel pretty good, just getting back into shape and testing it to see how it reacts in the morning. As a competitor you want to play."

It's the second time Carlesimo dismissed Ridnour's feeling about his ability to play, limiting the guard to open the season due to wearing a mask to protect a broken nose. Ridnour has played in six games, starting twice, and averaging 2 points and 3.3 assists.

"I think's he's got a little bit of pain," Carlesimo said. "We'll see how he is [Friday] what [athletic trainer] Mike [Shimensky] thinks - whether it's too soon or it's good to go for [Friday] night.

"We went hard, but we only went an hour and 15, so I'm not sure we're ready to say, 'OK, he's good to go and throw him into the game.' There's no sense in rushing him back. At this time of the year you would rather make the mistake of being too cautious. You trust players, but you only trust them to a certain extent. Guys always want to play. Maybe as a guy gets deeper into his career, you can ask them, but it's probably not good policy to put a lot of stock into what they say."

The same goes for PG Delonte West, who only participated in half of practice before again being bothered by the plantar facsiitis in his right foot. He's looking doubtful for the Milwaukee matchup.

But that doesn't make much of a difference in Earl Watson's evaluation for the starting PG role. He'll most likely make his 14th start at the position on Friday and has been the only healthy PG since training camp. Carlesimo said he knows what Watson can bring and still is questioning who the starter should be, admitting the position is the only question mark on the roster and is "a mess" because of injuries.

Carlesimo intended to rotate each through six starts to open the season and then make a final decision by now. West has only started in four games and Carlesimo hinted at wanting him to be the full-time starter but can't fully evaluate him against Ridnour.

Although Mickael Gelabale played well at the position, backing up Watson in the win against the Clippers, Carlesimo said it wasn't so fabulous that the staff needs to look at Gelabale running the point -- unless there's another major injury late in the season. And Gelabale is fine with that.

"I wasn't talking [loud enough]," said Gelabale, who admitted to not being comfortable in his opening minutes on the court. But the position, a change from his wing role, was a way for him to get some extended minutes.

"That's why I took my chances," he said of getting playing time. "I'm working on it, but we have three point guards. I don't want to be the fourth one."

December 5, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen at 11:00 PM

I must confess that I thought tonight's game would be the Sonics first win so in one aspect I was kinda right. Anyway, this was the kind of game that I'm sure coach P.J. Carlesimo loved. He didn't need Damien Wilkins to score 41 points or Kevin Durant to go off for 35 in a victory.

He got a balanced effort. No one scored more than 18. Nobody took more than 13 shots. They shot 54.5 percent (6 for 11) on three-pointers. They outrebounded the opposition by 10 (49-39). They had more assists (23-21). And most importantly, the defense was phenomenal. Seattle held Los Angeles to just 34.6, which is an opponent's low for the season.

In many ways it was an ugly win, but the kind of game Carlesimo would like this team to play more often. The problem is, there were too many other factors that led to this victory. Like I said at the start, I thought the Clippers would lose this game six weeks ago because they are in a brutal stretch of the season where they've played 4 games in 6 days and are on the 2nd end of a back-to-back set. The Clips played last night in Los Angeles and flew to Seattle for this game. That's not easy. I knew they would be without Elton Brand, who blew out his Achilles before the season, but I didn't know about the loss of Sam Cassell and Shaun Livingston. Without those three, the Clips are fighting Minnesota for the worst team in the league.

Corey Maggette (23 points on 7 for 17 shooting) was the only LA player who looked motivated. Chris Kaman (19 points and 14 rebounds) will always get a double double on the Sonics because of his size, but the team is doing well if they hold him to fewer than 30 points.

Carlesimo said at the beginning of the season that he has a dilemma at 4 with Collison and Chris Wilcox. Tonight, Wilcox made it easy on his coach after racking up 5 fouls. He played just 13 minutes and had 4 points and 2 rebounds. I'm thinking Carlesimo rides the hot hand each night between these two.

As for the PG spot, well, Earl Watson (10 points, six assists and 3 TOs) did nothing to prove he shouldn't start. I thought Mickael Gelabale was pretty spotty, but Carlesimo went out of his way to praise the 2nd year swingman who filled in as backup PG. He was scoreless in 11:19 minutes, 0 for 5 on FGs and had 3 TOs, 3 assists and 3 rebounds.

Still, Carlesimo commended Gelly for the spot duty and I got to believe that doesn't bode well for Delonte West. He's listed as questionable for Friday's game, but looking at him limp out of the arena tonight I'd say he's doubtful.

Plus Luke Ridnour is scheduled to return so if you have West in fantasy, you might want to consider benching him for someone else.

And finally a note on Durant. I sometimes feel like a broken record (do you kids even know what that is?) but he's best when he does something other than score. He attempted 13 shots, which is just about where you like him. He went to the line 8 times and made 7. He blocked two shots and and equally important, he grabbed 7 rebounds, which is one shy of his career best.

Clippers game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 7:26 PM

GAME OVER --- Sonics eke out a 95-88 win. The Clips chopped a 83-70 Seattlee lead to 93-85 in the final minute, but the Supes did just enough to keep Los Angeles at bay. Durant and Collison finished with a team-high 18 points.

FOURTH WIN AT HAND --- It would take another fourth-quarter collapse for the Sonics to blow this one. They lead 73-61 and all signs point to their second win in three games.

THORNTON ROY? --- I remember TNT analyst Charles Barkely saying he thought LAC F Al Thornton would win the ROY over Durant. There's a lot of basketball that needs to be played, but I don't think that's going to happen. The conventional wisdom was Thornton would take the minutes and some of the scoring for injured Elton Brand. But he can't beat out Tim Thomas and his game is limited offensively at this stage of his career. Durant will likely win every Rookie of the Month award and easily claim the ROY at the end of the season.

WEEZY FOUR FOULS --- I thought Wilcox might have succumbed to the assortment of injuries that's been bothering him, but was told by a PR person that the reason he's logged just 3 minutes in the second half is because he has 4 fouls. Without Wicox, Collison is flourishing.

GOOD START --- Seattle is ahead 43-35. Strange night. Aside from Collison, everyone is having an off night. Collison has 10 points on 5 for 6 shooting and 7 reboiunds. Say what you will about him, he's productive. Essentially, he's taking a lot of Chris Wilcox's minutes and stats. Weezy is 1 for 2 with 2 points. He's been hampered by nagging injuries for weeks, but has yet to miss a game. Tonight he's played just 8 minutes, which is the fewest among the starters.

BRING ON THE RESERVES --- The Sonics lead 18-17 affter one quarter, but now they've got 5 bench players on the court. This is an interesting mix. Gelabale, Wally Z at guards, Jeff Green and Johan Petro at forward and Collison at center. Gelabale is at PG and so far he's not bad. He's being defended by former Zag and Husky Dan Dickau.

GOOD DEFENSE OR BAD OFFENSE? --- The Sonics held the Clips to 17 points, which nearly tied a season low for a Seattle opponent. The Miami Heat scored 16 in the second quarter on Nov. 14. Los Angeles is shooting jsut 28.6% (6 of 21) from the field and they are 0 for 2 on three-pointers.

COLLISON BACK --- It didn't take Nick Collison long to get into the swing of things. After missing three games with a broken nose, the Sonics center scored after about a minute in the game. He's wearing a clear hard plastic mask that hasn't given him a problem yet.

DISMAL SHOOTING --- The Sonics are shooting 21.4% (3 of 14) from the field and the Clippers are 20% (2 of 10). Very ugly game so far. Los Angeles has commited 4 turnovers.

STARTING LINEUPS:

LA Clippers
F -- Tim Thomas
F -- Corey Maggette
C -- Chris Kamam
G -- Quentin Ross
G -- Brevin Knight
Inactive: Elton Brand, Sam Cassel and Shaun Livingston

Sonics
F -- Damien Wilkins
F -- Chris Wilcox
C -- Kurt Thomas
G -- Kevin Durant
G -- Earl Watson
Inactive: Luke Ridnour and Robert Swift

Officials: Greg Willard, Tony Brown and Derek Richardson

Scratch West

Posted by Percy Allen at 6:56 PM

PG Delonte West won't play tonight because of a flare up of plantar faciitis in his right foot. As I walked into the Sonics locker room, West was on the table receiving electric stimulation. His status for Friday's game is unknown.

Without West, Earl Watson will start and Mickeal Gelabale will serve as the backup and Damien Wilkins could handle some of the ball-handling duties.

When asked what he expected from Gelabale, coach P.J. Carlesimo said: "I'm looking forward with great anticipation. He looked good yesterday."

As for Luke Ridnour, he's expected to return to practice Thursday and will play Friday. Carlesimo declined to say whether he'll start or not.

One point of emphasis for the Sonics tonight is limiting their fouls. LA Clippers forward Corey Maggette is 4th in the Western Conference with 8.2 free throws attempts per game and the Supes commit more fouls than any other team, averaging 23 per game. That's a deadly combination.

December 4, 2007

Got toys?

Posted by Jayda Evans at 4:49 PM

The University of Washington Naval Reserve Officer Training Command (ROTC) will collect new unwrapped toys, cash and checks (made out to 'Toys for Tots') at two upcoming Sonics games as part of Holiday Assist, driven by Kia Motors America.

Wednesday's matchup against the Clippers and Friday's against Milwaukee are the games scheduled for collection. Active duty Marines will be present along with the support of Naval Midshipmen. They will be set-up inside the west KeyArena entry doors.

Rookie Kevin Durant is also preparing a holiday fundraiser/giveaway through his agent. His is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 18, but more details will be released soon.

West questionable

Posted by Jayda Evans at 2:58 PM

Sonics guard Delonte West missed the final part of practice due to plantar facsiitis in his right foot. Earl Watson ran with the starting lineup when reviewing the game plan against Wednesday's opponent, the Los Angeles Clippers. Watson could also return to the starting five if West is unable to play.

And if Watson starts, he could log major minutes as the Supes are out of traditional PGs. Coach P.J. Carlesimo said he could play Mickael Gelabale or Damien Wilkins at the point to give Watson a break, but it would be limited minutes. Rookie Kevin Durant can also bring the ball up the court.

"Maybe [athletic trainer] Mike [Shimensky] will let me throw Luke [Ridnour] in for 10 minutes, but I doubt it," Carlesimo said.

Ridnour is closer than the projected two-week return date, participating in non-contact drills today. He has also been shooting and doing light running, getting pushed to test his partially torn quad by trainers, but not getting the go ahead to practice. Carlesimo alluded to Ridnour returning for the five-game, eight day road trip next week.

While the perimeter can't seem to stay healthy, however, the good news from practice is that Nick Collison is ready to return. He missed three games with a broken right nasal wall. Although he's now also suffering from the beginning stages of a cold, he's going to wear a protective mask and play, stating he feels comfortable. He had a team-leading 10 rebounds in a loss to the Clippers in November.

December 3, 2007

Is that your final answer?

Posted by Jayda Evans at 4:47 PM

The one great thing about Sonics coach P.J. Carlesimo is that he'll answer your question. I mean so in-depth you could build six stories out of one response. It's been noted before, but it was humorous at practice today because a reporter asked about dribble penetration and received a 12-minute answer (as timed by the Sonics' public relations staff) that actually came back to the original query.

That's skill.

And it also went down on Sonics record as the longest answer to a reporter's question by Carlesimo. I'll save you the audio, although it was a wonderful historical refresher of the better penetrating guards in the NBA, like Tony Parker and Steve Nash. The gist is what could be the determining factor to the team's three-guard rotation.

"The pick-and-roll is really important for us," Carlesimo said. "We need to manufacture penetration for us. We need to get in the lanes and create shots...It's not just the point guard. We also need to set screens like Kurt [Thomas] and roll like Weezy [Chris Wilcox]....We're not as good at the pick-and-roll as we can be and as we need to be to help our guards."

Injured Sonic point guard Luke Ridnour (partially torn quad) could secure the starting role once he returns because he is the better player for this setup play. He has a nice teardrop shot that's effective when he has the confidence to penetrate the lane. Delonte West is a solid shooter, although he's been cold of late, and Earl Watson is best in transition. But both West and Watson could use help in the pick-and-roll.

Since Carlesimo is emphasizing this so much, it could be what he's closely evaluating to make a decision and set some continuity on the roster.

As for fan trade desires regarding the point guards, don't expect much. It appears the Sonics are going to ride out the season with the group they have.

Sonics general manager Sam Presti is expected to give a "state of the team" address at the quarter-mark of the season, which would technically be after the team plays Milwaukee on Friday. But since the Sonics depart for a five-game, eight-day trip the following day, he may wait until the team's return to give his evaluation.

Not to worry, Carlesimo gives more insight than imagined.

Practice overall was light. But not because Carlesimo felt his team was fatigued.

"I thought we needed being together more than we needed a day off today," Carlesimo explained. "It wasn't fatigue at all. We got a half-hour of shots and a half-hour of lift and stretch, that's all we did. I thought being together was good."

The Sonics will have a normal, full practice on Tuesday in preparation for Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. And forward Nick Collison should be back in the rotation after missing the past three games because of a broken nose. He was fitted for a mask, which he wore on Monday, and if it's not cumbersome on Tuesday, he'll play.


December 2, 2007

Final thoughts

Posted by Percy Allen at 11:04 PM

First let's deal with the loud-mouth fan who got tossed. It happened during garbage time in the fourth quarter, when Golden State coach Don Nelson pulled his starters. Stephen Jackson takes a seat on the bench when some guy sitting about 10 rows behind the Warriors bench yells: "Stephen Jackson where's your gun." Obviously it was a reference to last year's incident involving Jackson and a shooting outside a nightclub. Anyway, referee Bob Delaney hears the comment, alerts a Seattle police office who asks the guy to leave. But the story doesn't end there. Get this, about five minutes later the dude tries sit back down in his seat. The cops spotted him and escorted him out of the building. I didn't understand why the guy tried to return to his seats because at that time in the game, there were maybe 3,000 people in the place. Idiot.

As for the game, the junk minutes gave reserve center Mouhamed Sene a few possessions to practice his offensive moves against Ws' DJ Mbenga. While others may think this was a useless display, I thought it was a good learning experience for Mo who finished with 6 points on 2-for-2 shooting, 1 rebound and blocked 2 shots.

A CT scan on Golden State G/F Mickeal Pietrus did not reveal major damage and he doesn't have a broken nose.

Clearly it was Kevin Durant's worst game as a pro. He missed 10 of 12 shots, attempted just 2 FTs and finished with 6 points.

He was one of 6 players who had 6 points. On Nov. 19, the Sonics also had 6 players score 11 points.

This game was over early. The Warriors are a bad matchup for Seattle. C Andris Biedrins snatched 5 offensive rebounds and had 16 rebounds. He also scored 18 points. The Sonics obviously couldn't contain him, but they had difficulty almost every position. Monta Ellis was too fast and Baron Davis too explosive. The only the way Seattle was going to win was to get into a shootout and unfortunately the scored just 18 points in the first quarter and could never make up the difference.

Throw this one away. It hardly matters. What's interesting is the PG battle. Both Earl Watson and Delonte West expressed some displeasure about the uncertainty of things, but both said they have no choice but to deal with it. There is an uneasiness that the coaching staff has yet to figure things out after a training camp, 8 preseason games and 18 games. The tryout seems to be getting old.

West is the better shooter, but he still has problems running the pick 'n roll, which is odd. Watson had been more consistent, but his defense is lacking far too often. It will be interesting to see how Ridnour figures into all of this.


Golden State game thread

Posted by Percy Allen at 6:04 PM

WIRELESS PROBLEMS --- The fire wasn't the only thing faulty inside the arena tonight. The wireless failed for the second straight game so I apologize for not filing for a few minutes. Anyway, the game is over. Supes lose 109-96. Gotta head to post-game interviews and file a story for the paper. I'll return with post-game notes and file a post about a fan who was ejected and Sene who had good minutes in the end.

WHERE'S WEST --- Delonte has played just 14 minutes. He sank 1 of 3 shots for 2 points and has 3 assists. Not sure why he's not in. Maybe Carlesimo is saving him for the big finish. Watson has played 27 minutes. He's not bad, 11 pts, 5 boards and 5 dimes.

DURANT'S STREAK IN JEOPARDY --- He's scored at least 10 points in every game. There's 6:03 left in the 3rd and he's got 2 on 1-for-8 shooting.

DAVIS WORKING ON A TRIPLE DOUBLE --- Not sure if he'll get there if Golden State keeps this large margin going into the fourth quarter. But he's got 12 points, 8 assists adn 7 rebounds.

PIETRUS NOT RETURNING --- He was taken to a local hospital. Still no word on if he suffered a broken nose yet.

FOUR Ws IN DOUBLE FIGURE SCORING --- Al Harrington leads all scorers with 13 points. Biedrins adn Davis have 12 and Ellis has 10 for Golden State, wihch leads 60-41. Wilcox has 12 and Durant is 0 for 6. The Sonics have 23 points from their bench.

FIRE EXPLANATION --- The PR staff just issued a release on the fire that reads: "The fire tonight in the KeyArena main scoreboard was the result of a faulty cyberlight. Teh cyberlight is bolted via a bracket onto a center scoreboard beam. the fire was extinguihed and the cyberlight structure was removed from the scoreboard. At no time were any players, fans or staff in danger. The scoreboard rmains operational and in tact. Credit goes to the Sonics Game Operations department and teh Seattle Fire Department for their swift response."

PIETRUS IS DOWN AND OUT --- Ws G/F Mickael Pietrus stepped in front of Earl Watson for a charge. He also appears to have suffered some kind of nose injury. He was down for a few minutes before walking into the locker room with a bloody towel over his nose.

DURANT 0-FOR-5 --- The rookie is scoreless. He's missed all five shots and he's hot just one rebound. HIs only meaningful contribution so far is a nice block in the first quarter..Chris Wilcox is having a nice scoring night. He's got 8 on 2-for-7 shooting.

NOT LOOKING GOOD --- The Supes played their best defensive game on Friday against Indiana, but the Warriors are a different type of monster. The run, run and run. They post up with Davis, who passes out to good shooters on the perimeter. The Ws are shooting 53.6 from the field. They've knocked down 4 of 6 3pters. And they lead 35-18.

SICK MOVE FROM BARON --- Baron Davis is fearless. Charging into a 1-on-3 fast break, the Golden State guard drove hard at Earl Watson before stopping at the baseline, spinning and draining a 10-foot fallaway jumper. Davis has 10 points and Andris Biedrins has 8. The Sonics are trailing 29-12.

PLAY RESUMED --- They're playing basketball again after a 15-20 minute delay.

FIREFIGHTERS ON THE SCENE ---The Jumbotron is lowered and three firefighters extinguished the fire and removed what looked like a lighting devise. The Jumbotron is being raised and once it reaches its proper level, the players will be given 4 minutes to warm up. The place smells like burnt plastic and the building is a little smokey. I swear, you can't make this stuff up. Crazy scene.

ANNOUNCMENT MADE --- Now the fans have noticed the problem and arena officials have put a gray plastic tarp over the court to protect the court. Not sure why they chose plastic. That doesn't make sense. Anyway, this won't be resolved any time soon. They are lowering the Jumbotron now.

HOT NIGHT AT THE KEY --- Literally. There's a small fire beneath the Jumbotron that hangs over the court. This is crazy. Small sparks from the fire are falling on the court. This will surely cause a delay. The arena squad will have to lower the scoreboard to put it out. Stay tuned.

FAST START FOR Ws --- Golden State is out to a 17-8 lead.

TONIGHT'S STARTERS AND REFS --- Sonics: G Delonte West, G Kevin Durant, F Damien Wilkins, F Chris Wilcox and C Kurt Thomas. Warriors: G Monta Ellis, G Baron Davis, C Andris Biedrins, F Al Harrington and F Stephen Jackson. Officials: Bob Delaney, Olandis Poole and Scott Wall.

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