Records: Lakers 38-17 (1 seed); Sonics 15-39 (13 seed)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 113.6 (2nd); Sonics 101.7 (30th)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 106.5 (7th); Sonics 108.7 (18th)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Vladimir Radmanovic, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Sonics: Earl Watson, Kevin Durant, Jeff Green, Chris Wilcox, Johan Petro
What he said â€“ the Lakers: Busy morning for me, so this will be short and sweet. My thoughts on some current Lakers trends can be found at Kevin Peltonâ€™s very good Sonics Beat blog (should be up this afternoon).
And, why should I write more about last night when Drrayeye did such a good job in the comments:
In the beginning of this game, Lamar took the initiative, playing like the all star he can be, sending a friendly message to his old pal, Donald Sterling. Lamar had ZERO Oh! No! Dumb three point attempts, but made several long twoâ€™s in rhythm at the right timeâ€“with great confidence. Lamar played better than his 20/10 indicates. His confidence and joy were contagious.
Pau showed that he could score just about any time he wanted, scored whenever it was needed, and kept feeding his teammates with great passes. I donâ€™t think Kaman could have stopped him. I think that Pau had the most fun when he successfully led a fast break.
Even though Derek Fisher both bricked his 3 pointers and fouled himself to the bench in the first half, his teammates kept feeding him, and he hit a whole series of 3â€™s in the third quarter.
The Machine was The Machine from the three point line, but I will remember the drive and reverse layup that he must have learned from Kobe.
Kobe couldnâ€™t hit from outside if his life depended on it, and Dunlevy wasnâ€™t about to get him started, so Kobe decoyed, played great defense, assisted, tied for fourth in points on mostly free throws, and watched his teammates score.
The Sonics coming in: Iâ€™m still swamped, so more Drrayeye:
Even though the Lakers won last time they played in Seattle, it was in overtimeâ€“and they were saved from a loss in regulation by Kwame Brown.
Having lost Wally Z to Cleveland and Kurt Thomas to San Antonio, youâ€™d think that the Sonics would be in chaos. Wrong. Theyâ€™ve won two out of the last three, and could have won all three. Theyâ€™ve relied on the energy of their young players, who have nothing to lose.
The Lakers are playing the second game of a back to back. Their string of wins is about as long as it ever gets. Seattle would love to help them end it.
Keys to the game: The Sonics are young, athletic and want to run (sixth fastest pace in the NBA). The Lakers have been better about slowing it down lately, and I expect that will be the case tonight (second game of a back-to-back and all). If they can do that and run the half-court offense, this should be another win. Make it a track meet, and you play into the hands of the Sonics.
My Prediction: No Country for Old Men wins all the biggies.