Thursday, April 21

Why the Kings will win

The Seattle Sonics take on the Sacramento Kings Saturday night in the first round of the NBA playoffs.  Michael Buffer, meanwhile, will be hosting the Lingerie Bowl.
"Let's get ready to... uh... line?"

Somebody find Michael Buffer, because I’m ready to rumble. The Kings and Sonics are ready to go, and I can’t wait.

One problem: the Sonics are going to lose.

I know, Brad Miller’s ready to guest star on ER he’s been so banged up this year. And Bobby Jackson’s recalcitrance about playing hurt leaves many in Sacramento wondering if he should even bother coming off the IR. And their best shooter’s groin is strained, putting his status in doubt for the playoffs.

Forget about it. This Sonics team isn’t ready for the playoffs. They aren’t ready for the night-after-night sprints, not when Rashard Lewis is wondering if he can handle the 7-games-in-2 weeks strain, not when Ray Allen is begging his coach to let him rest up. Not when Radmanovic’s health status is as unknown as the late Pope’s was.

In Dreaming War, Gore Vidal’s book of essays on America, Bush & Co., and September 11th, Vidal touts something he labels as “Received Opinion.” ROs, as he calls them, believe only what they are fed; by the media, by their friends, by their family. In the ROs world, 9/11 happened because of angry Muslims, Pearl Harbor because of angry Japanese, and so on.

Well, ROs will tell you the Sonics will win because “they spread the floor,” because “they’ve got the Kings’ number,” and any number of silly reasons. Here are the facts:

· The Sonics are 13-13 since March 1st. The Kings are 13-10. If anyone can see an edge there, feel free to let me know.
· Ray Allen led the Sonics in scoring in every game of April. The Kings had 5 different guys lead them in scoring in that time. Depth isn’t important when you’ve got MJ, Shaq, or Iverson, but sure as hell is when your best player’s advanced beyond the first round exactly one time in his career.
· What happens when the Sonics go down 1-2? Is Allen going to be focused on sacrificing his points for better team play, or is he going to be focused on how his play is going to affect his next contract?
· Greg Ostertag has seen the light. After a talking to from a Kings’ assistant late in the season, Ostertag shook off the rust, dropped 15 pounds, and grabbed 8 boards in consecutive games, including a 4-block performance against the Jazz. A healthy Ostertag is a huge presence that will limit the Sonics’ ability to grab offensive boards.
· Kenny Thomas is playing better than any of the Sonics’ PFs. He’s averaged 15 points with 9 boards since the all-star break and at 76% from the line, he’ll make the Sonics pay there, too.
· Bobby Jackson is clearly healthy. Anyone who watched him go off against the Suns last night can tell he’s back to his energetic self. With Radman out and Daniels gimpy, the Sonics don’t have anyone to match his presence off the bench.

Tomorrow, Chunkstyle will tell you the Sonics will find a way. I say no way.

Kings in 6.

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