Aliens vs. Turiaf?
I have to tell you, the Sonics surprised me with that last minute trade. When I say last minute, I mean it. At 2:59 pm on Thursday, the Sonics sent Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to the Cleveland Cavs for Ira Newble and Donyell Marshall, with Adrian Griffin from the Bulls in a three team trade. This is after trading Kurt Thomas to San Antonio for Brent Barry, Francisco Elson and a 2009 first-round pick. After all that, the Sonics released Brent Barry.
So who is going to play the Lakers tonight? All of them; my sources tell me that Sonics coach P.J. Carlisimo is going to send all these guys in to swipe at Kobe’s pinky in the first quarter – watch for it.
Who can blame P.J.? The Lakers have been practically unstoppable since their last loss at Atlanta during their 9 game road trip. They now sport a 7 game winning streak after trouncing their hometown rivals the Clippers Saturday night, 113 – 95.
Tonight, I expect the same intense dismantling play that the Lakers have been playing with since acquiring Gasol. Since then, they are 9 -1 pushing them to the top of the Western Conference along with the Hornets loss Saturday night at San Antonio. With the Suns facing Detroit on Sunday, I expect the Lakers to have a firm hold on the West’s top spot come Tuesday’s game vs. Portland.
On another note;
Did anyone else practically spew their beer all over their friends when Ronny Turiaf sent Dan Dickau’s lay up into the stands last night? My friends and I spent about 5 minutes rewinding that play over and over again on his DVR yelling, “Take that Dickau! Take that Dick-OW!”
Good times, good times…
Now, on to…
What the Sonics will want to do -
Offense: Run Forest RUN!!! The Sonics have had success running the floor and with “My Name is” Earl Watson and Luke Ridnour, they have a couple of guards who like to push the tempo. They have a big guy who benefits from the fast break, Chris Wilcox. Kevin Durant will have a hard time driving to the hole as his body is still very “stick-like” and Kobe will body him up, so look for him to use his height advantage and length to take a lot of jumpers.
Defense: Seattle has been known to switch up their defenses a lot this season. They are one of the few teams that also subscribe to the zone defense. So look for them to try to force the Lakers into a jump shooting team. If they can do this successfully, it will provide them with fast break opportunities. Remember that last time they tried this strategy with the Lakers; they scored 121 in a two point loss. I’m sure the Sonics remember that day clearly.
What the Lakers will want to do -
Offense: I see the Lakers utilizing their newest asset, Gasol, to attack the Sonics and their zone defensive set. Since they don’t really have a strong inside defensive presence at the 5 (excuse me, but Johan Petro doesn’t seem an abominable presense), I see the Lakers going in to Gasol when Seattle goes to zone. If the Sonics collapse on Gasol, I see him kicking the ball back to one of the Lakers many shooters. They will have to make the shot however, because if not, the Lakers run the risk of falling into the transitional game.
Defense: This one is pretty easy; if the Sonics like to run, make them run half court sets. This is where the Sonics will have many problems because of all the changes in their roster. It’s no big deal having new guys playing for you if all they are doing is running down court in a fast break and making layups. It’s a totally different game if plays have to be called in the half court. Look for the Lakers to slow down the tempo of the game in order to control Seattle’s run-n-gun style of play.
Projected Starters -
Sonics: Earl Watson / Kevin Durant / Jeff Green / Chris Wilcox / Johan Petro
Lakers: Derek Fisher / Kobe Bryant / Vlad “Rad” / Lamar Odom / Pau Gasol
Key Match Ups -
Chris Wilcox vs. Lamar Odom
Kevin Durant vs. Kobe Bryant
Amber’s Game Prediction: Amber seems to think that Gasol will have a huge game today. I have to say that I agree. Lakers win!
Mack’s Game Prediction: Kobe will show Durant what being a superstar is and what championship basketball looks like – Lakers win!
Amber’s Scorecard: 8 – 0
Mack’s Scorecard: 3 – 0
Next 3 games: vs. Portland, vs. Miami, @ Portland
Game Preview Questions for Discussion –
1. Will there be more Lakers fans than Sonics fans at the game?
2. Has anyone else noticed that Ronny Turiaf bears a strong resemblance to “the Predator”?
Game Time: 6:00 PM Lakers Standard Time
Local Broadcast: KCAL HD
National Broadcast: NBA League Pass
Radio: KLAC & KWKW