Tuesday, December 14

Game Night # 22

The Seattle Sonics face off against the Los Angeles Lakers tonight at Key Arena.

There's something satisfying about being on the top of the standings. A certain swagger that envelopes a team and elevates each game to playoff-level intensity.

Regardless of the animosity between Ray Allen and Kobe Bryant, tonight's game looms large (so large that Dime Magazine labeled it the "Game of the Day.") The Lakers, while not a great team by any stretch, were certainly expected to be better than the Sonics. Because of the Sonics' record, other teams will face them with an intensity lacking from Key Arena since the days of Kemp and Karl, so from this point of the season on, the Sonics will need to elevate their play to match that intensity.

Here's to hoping that the Kobe-Karl feud supersedes the Kobe-Ray feud, and that Mr. Vanessa hoists a few errant 27-footers.

Good Sign:
Kobe was 6-for-23 in his last game.
Bad Sign: Ray-Ray couldn't hit Puget Sound - let alone a basket - in the final 3 quarters against the Celtics.

Questions: Will the Sonics rebound from a horrid performance against the Celtics on Saturday? Will the Kobeaires continue to contribute to the Lakers as they did against Orlando? Did you know that someone named Tierre Brown has played 20 games for L.A. this season?

Notes: With a win the Lakers will have put together their first 3-game win streak of the season ... Kobe has 3 triple-doubles this year ... The leading scorer for the Lakers against Seattle last year was, believe it or not, Gary Payton (20 ppg). Bryant only averaged 17 ppg vs the Sonics in 03-04 ... Rashard threw down 21 ppg vs LA last season ... Bryant is shooting only 39% from the floor in his past 10 games ... Laker opponents have only committed 41 offensive fouls, to 70 for L.A.

Vegas line: Sonics by 6
Prediction: Sonics 100 - Lakers 89
Record Against the Spread: 9-3

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