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Thread: 2004-02-11 - [Not much in here today]

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    Default 2004-02-11 - [Not much in here today]

    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,
    them.

    "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
    game."

    “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
    points.

    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."
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    Default Peep Show

    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
    floor."

    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
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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