View Full Version : 2004-02-11 - [Not much in here today]

02-11-2004, 03:08 PM
Defense has been Sonics' undoing
By Terry Brown
NBA Insider
Wednesday, February 11
Updated: February 11
2:31 PM ET

The Seattle SuperSonics have found the enemy and the enemy is, well,

"In practice, we're knocking each other all over the place," said
guard Antonio Daniels in the Tacoma News Tribune. "We're killing
each other, fouling each other, being very aggressive with each
other: grabbing, throwing, everything. And then when the game comes
around, we're almost lighter on the other team than we are against
ourselves. We have to trust each other. When (Flip Murray) gets
beat, he needs to know I'm there, and I want (Ray) Allen to know I'm
there if he gets beat. We have to do that collectively as a team,
and it's something we're not doing."

After Tuesday night's loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Sonics
have now dropped seven of their last nine games despite scoring 98.8
points per game in that span. And that's because they're allowing
the other team to score 104.4 points per game.

"We've shown at times that we can defend, but it can't be 'at
times,' " head coach Nate McMillan said in the Seattle Times. "We
didn't have control of any part of this game. They (Golden State)
ran their sets, walking us to the post, walking us to the wing and
allowing the screen to come over right where they wanted. At times
we allowed them to go deeper. They walked us to wherever they wanted
to offensively."

In those nine games, the Sonics have given up 940 points. To put
that in perspective, the worst defensive team in the league gives up
an average of 100.6, and that's the Orlando Magic, who have the
worst record in the league at 13-40. But another week like this and
Seattle won't be too far off from claiming that title with its 24-27
record. Currently, the Sonics give up 99.3 points per game for third
worst in the league with the Mavericks at 99.9 for second.

"We're not organized on defense," said center Vitaly Potapenko.

"We're not disciplined. It's as simple as that. Everybody knows
we're a shooting team and we can score on offense, but the defensive
end is what makes the difference between winning a game and losing a

“We've been up and down this season, and when we've been down
I think most of those downs have been because we haven't
defended the ball. ”
— Nate McMillan

And, now, everybody knows that when the Sonics are on the schedule,
it's time to boost their statistics.

Golden State was putting up about 94 points a game on the season and
only 90.3 on the road. On Tuesday night, the Warriors scored 106 in
Seattle. And what makes it worse is that the last time these teams
played on Jan. 22, the Sonics held them to 87 points and won by 16.

"It's a bad loss," Daniels said. "But you can't look at it like, 'Is
this a low point?' because we play again on Thursday."
Well, what happened last Thursday or last Tuesday or the Tuesday
before that?

That's when this whole streak started with a 118-116 loss to the
Mavericks in Seattle. Sure, the Mavs can score a lot of points, but
on the road even they average 99.5, which is nowhere close to 118.
The Sonics also gave up 110 points to Sacramento that week, also in
Seattle, and then 117 to the Kings in Arco Arena the next week.
In between, they did beat the Bulls but still surrendered 97 points
to a team that scores only 89.4 a game. In their only other win
during this streak, they gave up 105 points to the Suns, who score
only 93.4 a game.

"You've got to defend, and you've got to take care of the ball,"
said McMillan in the Tribune. "You've got to commit to defending if
you want a shot at winning games. We've been up and down this
season, and when we've been down I think most of those downs have
been because we haven't defended the ball."

In all, the Sonics have given up 940 points to nine teams that
average 869.7. That's 70.3 more points than usual. That's 7.8 points
per game during this streak. That's got to be impossibly frustrating
for a team that just lost seven of nine games by an average of 5.6

In their 24 wins this year, the Sonics have given up an average of
94.6 points per game. In their 27 losses, they've given up 103.5.
"We've just got to be better defensively is what it comes around
to," Daniels said. "That's it, plain and simple; if we want to be
successful, if we want to make the playoffs, if we want to win the
games we should win. When March comes around and we go to San
Antonio and Dallas and Los Angeles and Houston, we want to make sure
that we're at a defensive level where we should be, playing playoff
basketball by that time."

02-11-2004, 06:28 PM
Peep Show
By Chad Ford
NBA Insider
Send an Email to Chad Ford Wednesday, February 11
Updated: February 11
9:52 AM ET

Washington Wizards: One of the most dangerous places to be these
days could very well be in a Wizard uniform after Larry Hughes was
declared injured for the next four to six weeks with a broken left
wrist. "It's very disappointing," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said in
the Washington Times. "He was playing well. He was taking a lot of
hits. When we got Gilbert back and Stack back it seemed like Larry
was flourishing with those two guys on the court. The game was
coming much easier to him, and he looked very comfortable on the

Orlando Magic: Grant Hill has reached the do or die phase of his
NBA career with rehab just about complete following his fourth
surgery to his ankle and a decision needed on when and if he should
return to the floor. "I haven't focused too much on the past -- good
or bad -- because I'm just pressing on," Hill said in Florida Today.
"Call me crazy, but I still feel I've got some good ball left in me.
It's just a (fractured) bone and not a joint or something
life-threatening. If the bone can heal and just stay healed, then
I'm a 31-year-old who hasn't played a lot in the past four years. I
can still go be productive. That's what led me to have this last set
of surgeries. I think last season showed me that if this ankle feels
good, I can still go play at a high level."

Los Angeles Lakers: Of course, Phil Jackson wants Kobe Bryant back
on the floor, so long as it's for the Lakers before the Western
Conference All-Stars. "He says he'll play (tonight)," Jackson said
in the L.A. Daily News. "If he can stand the discomfort, he can
play. There's nothing else we have to worry about. I think he should
play if at all possible before the All-Star Game, if he wants to
play in the All-Star Game. There's ample reason for him not to even
play in the All-Star Game if he wanted to sit it out. Having not
played in these last few games, I'm sure there's enough concern. But
I'm sure he wants to play."

Detroit Pistons: Larry Brown doesn't worry these days until his team
has the lead. "We completely forget how we got the lead in the first
place," coach Larry Brown said in the Detroit News after the Pistons
gave up a 14-point lead to lose to the Nets Tuesday night. "We have
no clue how to finish, no clue how to manage a clock. We need to be
responsible enough to handle those situations. They shared the ball,
the penetrated and got easy baskets. Who gets us easy baskets? We
don't get easy baskets. We don't create turnovers and we don't have
anybody right now that will penetrate and kick. You can't catch up
with one shot, and that's our mentality."

Philadelphia 76ers: Allen Iverson, apparently, doesn't like
surprises. "Being here as long as I've been here, yeah, I definitely
feel like someone should have said something to me," Iverson said in
the Philadelphia Inquirer. "But I feel like I'm supposed to be
involved with a lot of stuff, like trade talks, even if I'm
involved. Let me know. I think I've earned the right just to know
some of the things that are going on. For me to get awakened by a
phone call from somebody who's not even in the organization to tell
me that the head coach has been fired... it was a shock to me."
Portland Trail Blazers: Rasheed Wallace was, at least, beloved of
his teammates. "Rasheed is a great player," Dale Davis said in the
Oregonian. "He's just a super guy to be around, a super guy to play
with. He's the type of guy that has your back at all times . . .
probably one of the most unselfish guys that I've ever played with .
. . probably one of the most underrated defenders around. He comes
to work every day. A lot of people don't realize that. He'll
definitely be missed."

Hughes sidelined at least four weeks
John N. Mitchell / Washington Times
Magic debating Hill's return
John Denton / Florida Today
Bryant to return to lineup tonight
Howard Beck / Los Angeles Daily News
Brown questions Pistons' intensity
Chris McCosky / Detroit News
Iverson, clearly irked, asks for greater role
Ashley McGeachy Fox / Philadelphia Inquirer
Blazers describe 'empty' feelings after trade
Jim Beseda / The Oregonian