On Tap: The Seattle Supersonics

Kurt —  March 31, 2006

Just a head’s up, this preview may be shorter than normal but there will be two new posts over the weekend. For a change.

About Last Night: If you wonder why we need Mihm back and more depth along the front line long term, last night was the perfect example. Kwame did a respectable job man-up on Duncan, but that meant Cook on Nazr and Cook got destroyed. And I love Turiaf and what he brings off the bench, but he can’t cover Duncan. Of course, all the problems weren’t inside as Smush can’t cover Tony Parker and Bowen plus a sore back slowed Kobe.

Then there’s this — San Antonio may be the best team in the league, they are better than the Lakers. In the last two Spurs wins over LA the game was largely even save for one huge Spur run. That’s what they do to everyone, not overwhelm but as Steve Kerr put it last night, they just wear you down.

Kobe for MVP: The idea has merit, and at least a few smart people are pushing it.

Maybe my favorite NBA tidbit of the year: From the he’s-smarter-and-younger-than-me-so-I-
should-hate-him-but-I-like-him-anyway Kevin Pelton on the Sonics official site:

Seattle SuperSonics forward Chris Wilcox wears a tape wrap on his right thumb, and there’s a good explanation. Wilcox needs more protection because he was hurting his right hand when he dunked.

In the last 10 games, Wilcox has been scoring 15.8 points per game on 59.6% shooting and grabbing 7.7 boards. Overall, his numbers are basically equal to what they get out of Rashard Lewis.

The Sonics Look Better: Wilcox, Earl Watson and a the growth of Johan Petro are making the Sonics much better than their 29-42 record indicate. They are 6-4 in their last 10.

Last time the Lakers and Sonics hooked up, it was an up-and-down game and the Sonics shot 64% in the first half, and for the game shot 63.1% (eFG%) and 50% from beyond the arc. They simply outscored the Lakers for the win. Also, while the Laker starters played well the bench battle went to Seattle.

The Lakers tend not to play much defense on the second night of back-to-backs, and if they do that tonight the result may look a lot like the last game between these two.

to On Tap: The Seattle Supersonics

  1. I would make sure Kobe stays far away from Wilcox. Wouldn’t want him to get Mihmed. When you get dunked on so hard you have to sit out, you got Mihmed.

    What no more glowing praise for Odom and Brown? Aka Overrated and Below Average.

    And now for some Kobe fan-fiction:
    Kobe, welcome to the group my name is Professor Spreewell. This is Vince and this is Tracy. Since your body is aging you’ll never be the same slasher again. You should think about cutting back your minutes because, even as the best shooter in the group, if you can’t walk you can’t play. Also think about taking games off. No, show up to the arena and play in the game, but just phone it in sometimes. I know this isnt your style, but if you don’t do it now its just going to shorten your career. You say you can’t because your team is awful? Hmm, well that didn’t stop Vince here back in Toronto. You don’t really have a look at a championship anyway…no you really don’t…no, you don’t…no, look, Dr. Buss might be getting senile, don’t listen to him. Its the best thing for the fans too. Don’t string them along. Laker fans aren’t very smart or dedicated. They pay too much for tickets and they are more interested on who is at the game and what they are wearing. Just look at how often local cable interviews celebrities during the game. Let them turn away for a while during the “rebuilding”. You’re just giving false hope to the foolish. Its really cruel. Tell him guys, he can still start on the All-Star team anyway. The fans are stupid like that. Ok, well, keep a heat pad on that thing and get plenty of rest. You don’t want to waste the rest of Lamar’s prime with a back that just won’t go. phhhttBWAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAH. Lamar Odom’s prime. Phew, that was classic.


  2. Speaking of Odom… Is it just me or did the Lakers have a fair amount of success early posting him up, with Odom passing out of the doubles, then they just seemed to go away from that play? Does it seem they seem to do that fairly often, find something that works early then forget about it? Just a question…


  3. I feel like thats what they do every game, let LO (or Mihm or Brown or Smush ) get the ball early and actually run an offense until the 2nd quarter when the team turns into Kobe and his traveling band of 4 on court spectators..


  4. chris henderson March 31, 2006 at 1:47 pm

    wasn’t it the second unit on the floor at the end of the 3rd, and start of the 4th that cut the lead, though shortly, to a single digit, (9)…then midway through the 4th, when Kobe started launching trey’s, missing almost all, long rebounds…same ol’ story.
    sorry, I don’t want to be a Kobe basher, but the hustle and team work…(key word..TEAM ) was what was working and if we had any hope of catching this team, that was it.
    I wish kobe could find a way to work within the TEAM concept, we’d be much better if he could.
    and yeah, Ronnie was awesome last night, you could see that he really got under TD’s skin, even to the point that TD got all fired up, way more demonstrative than usual, seemed like he wanted to send Ronnie a message, I’M TD! DON’T MESS WITH ME!
    but that’s a compliment to Ronnie, that he can even have that kind of effect on someone like a TD. goodonhim!


  5. Ok see, here’s where I have been saying its Phil and that notion keeps getting dismissed. They lose 3rd quarters because the other coach adjusts to whats working for the Lakers. PJ doesn’t counter. Its not that they don’t WANT to go with what has been working, its just no longer available. The players then give up on it too easy and they don’t get another option beyond #8. This has been the pattern all season.

    It starts with the lineup. He is slow to recognize and go with what works. Why did Kobe come back in the 4th last night? He was poison. Phil is getting exposed here and noone is calling him on it. Sometimes Kobe hits 5 3’s in a row and it doesn’t matter, but when the Lakers shoot even a normal percentage (or worse), they get exposed.


  6. John R: Where was your deft analysis during the four game winning streak? No comments from you then. How come?


  7. Ouch, a personal attack not based on what I wrote but on what I did or did not do. I just didn’t think it was necessary to chime in on beating a bunch of mediocre teams. This is what playoff teams do, right? Though I guess those losses to Atlanta, Charlotte and Portland have been forgotten after Kwame’s thoroughly competent showings against the powerful (ew, I think I threw up a little) frontcourts of Boston, Milwaukee and New Orleans.

    There were two other factors here. #1 its review time at work and I had to personally write reviews for dozens of reports. Garbage. #2 I actually wrote some short things but decided to not post because I didn’t want to kill the good vibes. Suffice to say, any scenario that involved getting KG or Kwame becoming a consistant force where properly ridiculed.

    Finally, despite trying to respect Kurt’s call for a positive outlook, he opened up on Clipper fans on the frontpage. Understanding that its all in fun and that the real enemy is San Antonio, I thought it was time for a fun retort.

    I hear your call for more posts though Gat and I’ll try to oblige. If you feel like offering up why you think the consistent 3rd quarter collapses are NOT the fault of Phil and his staff, Id be interested to hear it.


  8. for those that criticize 9-time world champion Phillip Jackson, who would you put in when the Lakers starters (Smush, Lamar or Kwame) are faltering in the 3rd quarter, Sasha? Turiaf? Green? You could draw up the best plays and design the best schemes, but when you dont have the horses, you dont have the horses, plain and simple, Mitch’s fault, not Phil’s. That being said, Phil has got Odom playing his best all-around ball ever, and Kwame showing signs of becoming a contributing starting front-court player, while passing off Smush as a starting PG, if you cant respect that your whole perspective is wack.


  9. Hey everybody, let’s play nice.

    Kwame a.’s point ties back into the third quarter adjustment thing — Phil expects his teams go back to what works, and add that if you adjust to stopping what works, his vet teams knew what the counterpunch was. This team both doesn’t always know and, even if they do know, don’t always have the athletes to do it. Especially against San Antonio.


  10. no worries Kurt, its all friendly, but one more comment pertaining to adjustments and coaching. Last season the Clippers looked great for 3 quarters and would often lose the game in thr 4th. This was widley attributed to the youth of the team and the need of a strong point guard, not to Dunleavy’s inability to make 4th quarter adjustments. I believe this Laker is team is actually younger than last year’s Clipp squad and I awould argue that with a floor general of Cassell’s ability, the Lakers wouldnt have endured so many letdowns in clucth moments, guess having Cassell can even make Dunleavy appear savvy. My point is, this is a young team, and for those of us that have lost perspective, lets be happy were in the playoffs (almost) and that this young team is showing signs of consistency, its actually fun to watch


  11. Well said.

    And while I agree about Cassell on offense, who do you think is thhe worse defender, him or Smush? It’s a hard call.


  12. Uh-oh. There’s that youth red herring again. Take away Bynum and blah blah blah and the Lakers are one of the oldest teams blah blah blah. I’m sure this has all been said before so I’m not going to go into it. Youth is a red herring. Designed to distract.

    And according to PER, Lamar is having his 3rd best year in the last 3 years. Behind the year he had with “I-don’t-want-to-be-a-head-coach” Frank Hamblin. He didn’t make Hollinger’s all-Overrated team for nothing.

    I will grant that the Lakers’ personnel is inferior; I think I have been very consistant in that regard. That doesn’t explain why they fail in THIS PARTICULAR way. As was noted in the opening comments, they do well until an exact moment in the game. The exact moment after which the opposing coach could make the most sweeping and effective adjustments.

    I criticize 9-time world champion Phil Jackson because those teams didnt need adjustments. They could play through those situations because they could. This team can’t and yet Phil is still treating them like those teams. His timeouts are too slow. He doesn’t make any adjustments ever. At least once a game he makes a serious error. (Last game it was putting Kobe in in the 4th. TOTALLY stopped the momentum. Do I know it wouldn’t have stopped in the same way anyway? Nope, but it was like a switch when it happened.) He has the one player in the league who can single-handedly win every single game, and Coach has only managed to win 38. If PJ is beyond question to you, well I guess I am wasting my breath, but there is alot to be questioned.

    All that said, I know why you guys reflexively don’t like to read him attacked. He was the one that was supposed to make it all ok again. Placate the masses.

    Lets be happy to make the playoffs? If the price is Kobe’s back, I don’t think we (since you are obviously addressing me using the plural) are the one’s who have “lost perspective.” That’s a hefty price for a first round exit. I mean, it lines Dr. Buss’ pockets, but how does that help you or me? Can’t the almighty coach figure out a way to win with Kobe playing only 36 minutes a game? Shouldn’t all this YOUTH actually be playing and developing instead of the vets blowing it in the 3rd quarter? It IS the starters who are doing the failing to start the 3rd after all…

    But let’s be scientific. I don’t know whats going to happen tonight. I’ll be at Staples so I won’t even get to see. You tell me what changes Phil implements at halftime, if any. Can you at least admit a good coach MAKES adjustments? The Lakers SHOULD be able to play right through the Sonics regardless of Phil. Unless, of course, Kobe gets Mihmed.


  13. Not personal, just territorial.

    If the players surrounding Kobe are “awful”, what kind of 3rd quarter adjustments should Phil make? Trade Sasha and Brian Cook at halftime?

    Second half collapses have been the calling card of young talented teams forever. This has been Phil’s most challenging season since his days with the Albany Patroons. He is the kind of coach who knows what this team can and can’t do. Is he letting Kobe play too much? Probably. Is Kobe going to learn from this? definitely. The best lessons learned are those learned from experience.


  14. notreallyimportant April 1, 2006 at 12:07 am

    at what point are kobe’s teammates going to actually start blocking him?


  15. I was really watching for those second half adjustments, and I noticed Phil’s moves led to Seatlle shooting under 30 % in the second half and changed the tempo of the game.

    I know I criticize his defense, but Smush Parker is playing a much more cerebral game, pulling the ball out and setting up and attacking when necessary, he is distributing and intiating better than all season.


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