Preview and Chat: Seattle Sonics

Reed —  March 21, 2008

Records: Lakers: 47-21 (1 seed); Sonics: 16-52 (Hoping for Beasley).
Lakers Offense: 113.8 pts per possession (4th); Lakers Defense: 106.5 pts per possession (6th).
Sonics Offense: 101.4 pts per possession (30th); Sonics Defense: 109 pts per possession 110.8 (23rd).
Starting Five Lakers: Odom, Vlad, Turiaf, Kobe, Fish.
Starting Five Sonics: Green, Wilcox, Petro, Durant, Watson.
Key Reserves Sonics: Collison, Ridonur, Wilkins.

Seattle Notes: Looking at the recent comments from Shaq and Grant Hill (basically saying they think the Sonics belong in Seattle) I found myself thinking, yea, why shouldn’t they stay. Great city, passionate fans (remember how loud it got there during the Payton/Kemp years) and people willing to put up the money (various billionaires have stepped forward with a plan that splits the bill with the State). Just doesn’t seem right for them to leave.

Laker Notes: The two wins over Dallas and Utah, coming against the two best home teams in the NBA, give the team a much needed boost headed down the home stretch. I think Phil Jackson should be at the top of the list for Coach of the Year. For all those that think of him as guy who can only win with talent, look at what he has done developing Sasha, Jordan, Ronny, even Luke. Finding roles that work for LO, Vlad, he has just pushed the right buttons this year, and with the talent on the roster (especially with the injured players coming back) I like the Lakers chances in any playoff series.

Tonight: The Lakers cannot take the Sonics lightly, they stuck with Phoenix the other night thanks to a sloppy 27 turnovers by Phoenix. The Sonics don’t really have anyone for Kobe, and this could be a game he goes off early and rests late. Regardless, it would be great to see the crisp offensive execution and focused defense by the team exhibited from basically start to finish against the Jazz.

Where to watch: FSN and League Pass (one of the Sonics announcer is the great Steve “Snapper” Jones).

Tournament: Whose bracket is still in tact? Whose bracket is busted? Western Kentucky game was awesome, Stephen Curry from Davidson dropped 40, and is Mayo going pro?

Kwame A.

News: Newble signing is official.

Reed

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32 responses to Preview and Chat: Seattle Sonics

  1. I’d like to see the Lakers just handle the Sonics tonight, make a statement that they don’t belong on the court with them.

    Bracket is looking OK so far. Western Kentucky was nice for me, almost had St. Mary too, but they fell apart in the second half. Everything else looks good today, but without AJ Price, San Diego could give me problems, although I like their game.

  2. I think we’re bringing in Newble to defend small forwards so that Luke can focus on his primary responsibility of missing layups and open jumpers (I’ve generally defended him, but ouch he was bad last night except on the one clutch layup where he didn’t have time to think about it).

    Also, am I wrong or has Kobe been hot early in games lately only to struggle as the game wears on? He started out 5-7 last night before struggling to below .500. If this is an actual trend, I have to think its his finger becoming more of an issue as games wear on. I realize he stepped up big in the 4th (thank you ref for calling the 4 point play), but it seemed even more impressive to me since he had been struggling since the first quarter. Just wondering if anybody else had noticed this.

  3. My bracket is busted. Though I did pick Gonzaga to lose. But I missed a couple others (stupid USC, though Beasley is a Beast).

    The Lakers need to come out tonight with a lot of energy and get a big lead then maintain it so the starters can get some rest.

  4. The Dude Abides March 21, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    I’d love to see the Lake Show blow out the Sonics tonight, with the Warriors beating Houston in triple overtime.

  5. My lady is going to that Hou/GSW game tonight (being a former dance team member has it’s perks, I guess), and I hope that the Dubs put a hurtin’ on the Rockets.

    I also think that the Sonics (like every other team, seemingly) will be really up tonight to play us. Durant has been much better of late, and he had a nice little duel with Kobe the last time (I think) these two teams met. So, I hope that we come prepared and do not have any thoughts about Denver hanging 168 on these guys not too long ago and thinking it will be an easy night. Play hard and agressive and it will be easy; play like we will win just based off showing up and it’ll be a long night.

    My bracket is okay….my only teams from the Sweet 16 that are out are UCONN (shoulda seen it coming) and USC (don’t doubt Beasley, I guess). So, I’m still in it in my pick’em pool over at Yahoo.

    And JD (#2), I think it’s just the ebb and flow of each game and I wouldn’t put too much into it. He was money last night, and 2 weeks ago against Dallas. He was bad pretty much the entire game against Houston, too, so maybe it’s just kinda flukey that it’s worked out that way in some other recent games. Also, I think he has adjusted pretty well to the finger, to the point where even the announcers said that everyone now takes it for granted that he will eventually need surgery.

  6. What a beauty of a game last night, would love to see more of the same tonight, can we somehow let the team know that they boo Fish in Seattle too? Don’t think the Lakers will need THAT much motivation to beat the Sonics, so it’ll be interesting to see if they revert to their “just enough to win” type of play that they came with against Sac the last time out. Still, coming out of that roadie 2-2 had to be a boost, and enough motivation to keep it rolling.

    Brackets: My attempt to steal the pool with Drake as a Final Four team is over. A simple number to represent seeding makes me love USD all of a sudden. I was wrong picking Kentucky too, but the worst part is now we don’t get to see Ashley Judd make school spirit look so hot at a game this year…

  7. Lakers Bringing Fear To The NBA March 21, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    My bracket is all messed up with San Diego beating Uconn. Its still good though since it makes it easier for my predicted champion UCLA and if they get past A&M, they’ll have to beat a mid conference team to reach the elite 8. Had Miami losing so thats another mistake for me. Always liked Davidson. Curry is gonna be a great pickup for anyone who takes him if he leaves to go to the draft(Dropped 40 tonight).

    As for this game, LA should really dominate. Ira is a good pickup and hopefully performs well so he can be signed for the rest of the season. He could be our next Trevor Ariza as a shut down defender.

  8. My only fear is Lakers might take it a bit easy after great two Wins on the road(mind you Dallas win was great because seeing the west all that matters right now is “W”) We have to go all out right from the word GO so that Kobe and Odom can get some rest. It will also help Bench get more playing time to get into execution mode which we would be needing for fast paced games against Warriors..
    We need to keep an eye to not be complacent and need to penetrate than just settling with perimeter shots. We need to force turnovers and get a big lead early on. We also need to get Mbenga to get some playing minutes so that he can get into the motion of things as we will be needed for this stretch till playoffs and our BIG’s return. I would love to see COBY getting some time.. he has such a good effect on lakers fan..

  9. So did we pick up Newble or not? I read something that he will sign with us but I haven’t seen anything anywhere else mentioned.

  10. I said it before, and I’ll say it again, Utah was HUGE. Dallas was nice (even though they haven’t beat a winning team since the Kidd trade), but Utah was the big one. However, how big was Utah if they don’t declare Seattle as worthless and in no uncertain terms? I don’t want to get into a discussion of “what have you done for me lately”, and I know we can’t (maybe can’t) win out, but a let down tonight is tough to swallow. The upcoming here/there Sunday/Monday deal with the Warriors might be a split, but that won’t be tragic. They’re a playoff teams. The Sonics have won less games than we’ve lost and if we lose that one we’ll be just like the Jazz on the road. Pitiful. Speaking of the Jazz, and their fans, last night I swear I heard someone in the audience yell to Turiaf “cut your hair ni–er!). Are you kidding me? I’ve heard rumors of their racial remarks, but haven’t before seen/heard evidence of it. I hope my ears were askew. If not, the NBA needs to get a policy in place to make sure racism is out of the family environment of the competitive arena or things are going to get off track. This is the only sport where fan access is so close to the players (hockey has glass, baseball and American football and soccer/football all have lots of grass between the front row and the players) so it should be regulated. Toss ‘em under suspicion and you’ll hear a lot less of that stuff. This is a burgeoning multi-national league of infinite growth and potential and it needs to stay that way. Home court advantage is one thing, but this is unacceptable at best.

  11. http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakerep22mar22,0,4615076.story?track=mostviewed-storylevel

    Yeah, there’s the official link on Newble. We’ve got him. I’m not very familiar with him though, I wonder if anyone could break down his game for us? Is he really like Ariza, or just a good defender? How’s his slashing game, his shooting game, post up? etc. etc.

  12. I just watched the game from last and the intesity was great to start off with. But it did the same thing it did in Dallas but I will say this we are playing good teams so it is expected. How we responded to their push was nice. LO came out and asserted himself. 21 points, 12 boards and 6 assists, I like it. I really enjoyed the KB24 interview after the game. He said he was made b/c of how they treated D. Fish last time.

    I really Steve snapper Jones. I expect the Lakers to come out with the same intensity that they did last couple of nights. I doubt that Seattle will be able to rally like the other teams. I am happy with how they handled the 2-3 last night. Attacked the core found the open shooter or made a few pases and attacked the middle.

    My bracket is pretty good only missed 2 as of right now. USD was a total shock, they aren’t that good but that’s why they play the game. I have a couple more questionable picks but it has been fun.

  13. Newble is a solid defender, big body, played some decent minutes Lebron’s rookie year before falling out of favor with Mike Brown (I believe that’s their coach’s name). Decent offensive game, I remember a few big games for him during his time with Cleveland. Anyway he will be a solid fill-in guy for Ariza, can probably help relieve Odom at the 4 during those stretches. Just makes us that much deeper.

  14. Is Newble just a stop gap until others get healthy? I know the answer is unofficially “yes”, but I thought it was too late in the season for new acquisitions to be elligible for playoff rosters. So wouldn’t Newble officially be a temp?

  15. 14 – As long as a player was cut BEFORE March 1st from their team, they’re eligible for the playoffs. So Newble is eligible for the playoffs. The only reason I know this is that some people speculated that Riley didn’t cut Smush until after the deadline, making him ineligible for the playoffs, just out of spite.

    That said–he’ll be an adequate fill-in as a defender while Ariza is out. But I’m not expecting anything from him on the offensive end, and with our roster, we really don’t need anything either He’s an average finisher and shooter, and doesn’t create well for himself.

  16. a win against UTAH may be emotionally big, but it’s WORTHLESS if we lose against seattle. might as well have lost against utah and won against seattle.

    well, not worthless, as utah is also one of those teams that can fight for the #1 seed, but anyhow, a win against a tough team isn’t worth much if you give one up to a lesser team.

    throttle seattle!

  17. That LA Times link says that he’s signed for the rest of the season, though every other source that I saw says that he signed a 10-day contract. Which is the case? (At any rate, I’d assume that he will be signed for the rest of the year, Mbenga-style, if it’s not already the case.)

    With Walton’s offense slipping, to join his always moribund defense, Newble playing 10 minutes a night would at least help us on one end.

  18. Ira Newble = Poor man’s Shane Battier?

  19. Just to clarify the Newble acquisition, almost all sources, including the Lakers website, said that Newble has been signed to a 10 day contract. It sounds like he will be extended for the season, that this is just a formality to allow Jackson to assess his progress in practice. He is a competent defender, even the 5 minutes he played against Kobe in Cleveland earlier this year showed his high effort on the defensive end. He is certainly no Ariza, but most all un-drafted players play hard defense, or they would have never made it into the league.

    I think that after Walton’s contract extension, it is kind of sad that we have to bring in a journey men to play defense and share his minutes. Hopefully this will motivate Walton to play hard defense and earn more minutes. I would love to see him put together the all around effort that he was displaying last year.

    Either way it is not a bad move and I like that Mitch is still working for us to solidify the bench mob. I have criticized him a lot in the past but this is his year of redemption.

    Even if the Lakers start off sluggish tonight after having displayed so much energy the past two games, I am confident their talent alone will carry them to a victory. GO LAKERS!

  20. Watching the game, Ariza is courtside and he’s walking so that’s a good sign.

  21. Lakers Fan #9,765,250,641,053,639 March 21, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Walton isn’t very good at all this year. Newble could help the lakers D until Trevor comes back or until Walton remembers how to play D.

  22. 8 guys in double figures, 36 assists, 4th quarter rest for Kobe and Lamar, just the kind of win they needed. Golden State lost a tough one tonite, so they will be looking to get back on track against us.

  23. We needed this game. Seattle’s defense is so bad that I scored 6 points.

    The last 3 games have been huge I think. As opposed to our earlier games without our centers (including the pre-Pau games after Bynum was injured when we barely beat this same Seattle team) we look like we’ve remembered how well we started the year when Kwame Brown was still our starting center. Before Bynum stepped up in earnest, he was just part of a very productive roster.

    The team looks like they’ve reminded themselves that even missing Pau and Bynum, they are better than last year’s team. Ronny and Vlade have been playing out of their minds on both ends of the court, playing smart aand active in all aspects.

    These injuries suck, and I’m still upset at them happening, but they could end up being a positive if it gets the rest of the team clicking so that they return to the form they had when they first got Pau.

    How we play the Warriors will be very telling.

  24. This game was lots of fun for the Lakers–notso for the Sonics.

    I doubt that “Showtime” was any more fun than tonite for the fans. I bet they didn’t even mind that they didn’t get their tacos.

    Just about everyone got more than 10. Luke got 17.

    Of course, even Mbenga looked unstoppable–and Ira got a basket.

    This was just the type of win the Lakers were hoping for.

    In his interview, Trevor Ariza said that he expected to play in the last few games of the regular season and was recovering fast.

    Ira looked happy in a Laker uniform. At this point, who wouldn’t want to be with the Lakers now? Bynum, Ariza, and Mihm must be just about dying to get back and play.

    Of course, we just can’t wait for the next game ourselves.

  25. I know this is kinda random….. but I had to share it with the gang. AB’s been gone for so long I think some of us (me included) might forget what he’s going to give us. I know he’ll have a break-in period before he helps us…. but…. geez. I miss that kid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd-FLEDTfao

  26. Does anybody else remember Newble playing for the Lakers during training camp and the preseason a few years back? It was the same preseason that Udoka played for the Lakers.

  27. Has anyone else seen the “Los Lakers” jerseys that they will be wearing on Sunday? I don’t like ‘em.

    http://lakersstore.com/product_info.php?products_id=836

  28. The Dude Abides March 22, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Udoka was on the Lakers preseason roster in Fall 2003. Newble was on Cleveland’s roster for the first time in that same preseason, and he was with Cleveland continuously until the recent trade with Seattle. It’s possible he got cut from the Cavaliers at some time after one of those seasons, and then re-signed, but I don’t really know.

  29. Newble is built knda like Ron Artest. Good sign to see Ariza is off the boot and Bynum is running full speed on the treadmill.

  30. While most here were enjoying the Lakers romp over Seattle I was watching a highly entertaining Hou/GS game. The two coaches may have started the smallest combined line-ups in decades. Houston had McGrady take the center jump,which he won. A couple of quick observations about GS.
    Monta Ellis and 3s get the GS crowd in a frenzy.
    GS O is a Denver that works. Lots of fast breaking,then 1-on-1 w/very skilled offensive players. Davis and Ellis shoot way too much off of solo moves. When they pass the ball around they are really good.
    Against any team w/a good inside presence GS is toast in the Playoffs. Only Biedrins can defend really protect the paint and he can get worn down/overwhelmed.
    Of interest to Lakers w/out the bigs,they had Stephen Jackson play McGrady VERY tight and everybody else collapsed in the Lane when he drove. Every other Rocket however had a clear path to basket until help D showed at rim.(Scola and Head couldn’t elevate to take advantage,Rafer was throwing up junk.When Landry came in he got several open paths-and dunks-off simple rolls.) Any Laker looking for pts will get them by going hard to hoop.
    The refs let GS be extremely physical,esp Jackson defending McGrady.I’d put Kobe on high post early and see if couldn’t pick up a couple of quick fouls on Jackson. And despite being very active and physical,McGrady was able to get past Jackson towards basket pretty easily,
    Pietrus was a monster on the glass and looks like he will get some money this summer. But in this game his O was outrageous putbacks and open 3s,so…buyer beware.
    Harrinton reminds me of Odom. W/the right coach,system and role he can be valuable,otherwise his talent and his game just don’t quite mesh. I know Phil won’t change his starters to match another team as it’s a sign of weakness,but a fun matchup against what GS started would be Fish,Sasha,Kobe,Walton and Lamar.

    I always thought Ira Newble was a defensive specialist w/no outside shot at all. Tough driving to hoop,mediocre/streaky mid-range shot and definitely somebody to slack off if he was around the 3pt line.(Rather like Ariza but smaller,slower,much more physical and not injury prone.)

  31. I guess Luke got the message. If you don’t contribute, you won’t be playing much with Newble on the roster. And especially when Trevor comes back.

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