Tuesday, March 8

Game Night: Rock Steady

Is anyone else's all-time favorite Sonic memory the incredible run they made back in the spring of 1987, knocking off the Mavs and the Rockets before falling to the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals? I vividly recall racing home after baseball practice to watch Seattle take on Sampson, Olajuwon & Co. For crying out loud, a double OT deciding game, Bernie Bickerstaff getting named coach of the year, Dale Ellis is most improved ... man, the good times were gonna roll for us weren't they?

Well, it didn't quite happen as expected. Ellis, X, and Chambers couldn't maintain the glory they achieved that year, and it took almost ten years before Seattle rose to that sort of level again.

With my rambling done, let's look at tonight's game. In their only meeting this season, Seattle knocked off Houston 87-85 thanks in part to 10 more FTAs, a 50-37 rebounding edge, and in spite of hitting only 4 of 25 3 pointers. Yao took the Sonics to school, scoring 30 points before fouling out - a big reason why Seattle outscored Houston 26-19 in the 4th quarter.

Some writers will lead you to believe the loss to the Sonics was the switch that turned off the Rockets' red glare. After all, before their loss to Seattle, Houston had won 8 straight. Following that game, they went on a slide the featuring 3 straight losses.

I think the real culprit is Bobby Sura's back, though. After putting up Oscar Roberston-like numbers (or at least Fat Lever-like) for a couple of months, Sura's back has caused him to miss the last 6 games, during which time Houston's gone 2-4. A coincidence? I think not.

Since it looks like Sura won't play tonight, I think the smart money is on the Sonics. Hey, if they can knock off the Pistons at home, they shouldn't have any trouble with the Rockets.

Spread: Sonics by 4
Prediction: Seattle 96 - Rockets 87
Record against the spread: 15-11

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