Friday, November 17


Want to scare the kids? How about a Carlos Boozer puppet?

Earlier this year, I wrote that there's no team easier for a Sonic fan to get up for than the Blazers.

I was wrong - I'd forgotten about the Jazz.

I think I speak for all Sonic fans when I say the greatest playoff win in team history was knocking off Utah back in 1996. It wasn't just that Seattle was going to the Finals, it was that Malone, Stockton, and Hornacek were all going home. In honor of that wonderful series, I'm asking all fans in attendance tonight to start a 10-count when Carlos Boozer steps to the foul line. You know, for old times' sake.

One thing in particular worries me about the Sonics this year - the amount of minutes Lewis, Allen, and, especially, Ridnour have been hauling thus far. Both Lewis and Allen are over 40 minutes on the season, and Frodo's been 40+ in each of the past three games. Considering Luke's never averaged more than 33 minutes a game in his career, how long can he maintain this Sprewell-like pace? Likewise, Allen and Lewis are both averaging career-highs in minutes (albeit not as extreme as Ridnour's case).

Unfortunately, Bob Hill doesn't have much in the way of options. It would have been nice to see the Sonics pick up an experienced 2-guard to back up Ray, and it would have been nice to see Earl Watson shoot better (at this point, I think Earl Hickey could pretty much do what Watson's done so far), but it didn't/hasn't happened.

Still, Hill's going to have to start going to the bench more, or else this team's going to crash and burn in January or February.

But enough of my pessimism - how about tonight's game?

Why I like the Sonics: Home team, coming off a strong road trip, second game of a home stand, Kirilenko's out, Giricek's out, great offensive rebounding, unbelievable foul shooting, strong play from the big 3.

Why I like the Jazz: Best start in team history, strong defensive rebounding, smart shooting, outscoring opponents by 8 a game.

Believe it or not, this could be a fantastic game tonight. Aside from seeing Utah wearing black sneakers (this is what passes for news in SLC), we've got two clubs seemingly on the upswing, and with K-Mart gone for the year in Denver, they are the favorites to win the NW Division. The Boozer-Wilcox matchup will be a good one (look for Carlos to easily get 20-10 against Chris), and when the top two most efficient offenses in the league get together, well, you know points will be scored.

Luckily for Seattle, they'll be facing a team that gets killed at the line. Both the Sonics and Jazz have seen opponents get to the line way more often than they do, but tonight it shouldn't be a factor, which will hopefully even out the field.

SPREAD: Sonics by 4
PETE'S PICK: Sonics 110 - Jazz 104

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