The worst aspect of watching your favorite basketball team pack boxes in front of your eyes?
Easy; not having an interest in the games any more.
Once upon a time, individual games meant a great deal to me. Now? Very little. Of course, a large reason for that is the team's ineptitude, but that's not as large a reason as the Bennett/Stern Show.
A mere eight games remain on the Sonics' schedule. Personally, I believe the team will still call Seattle home for at least two more seasons, but there is a strong possibility that these eight games are the final eight games in Seattle SuperSonics history.
So, yes, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic, but not completely "Let's name the All-Time Favorite Sonic Team" nostalgic. Not yet, anyway.
With that in mind, let's take a look at tonight's classic encounter at the Key between the Sonics and the mighty Clippers.
You know, I happened to watch about half of the recent Mavs-Clippers game in Los Angeles and I will say this: If you had not watched a single NBA game this season and went into the contest with fresh eyes, you would be hard pressed to determine which team was the one contending for the playoffs and which was the one headed for the lottery.
Some would say, "Yes, but Dirk was gone." Okay, so was Elton Brand. In fact, after the first quarter, so was Chris Kaman. Is it because the Mavs are becoming that bad, or is it that the Clippers are better than their record indicates?
Yes, they've dropped eight straight on the road, and, yes, they've lost 19 of 22, but when I watched Los Angeles on Monday I was not watching a team that looked to be nearly as bad as the Sonics. Quinton Ross (a future Spur if there ever was one), Thornton, Maggette ... there are plenty of more than just average players in their lineup.
The injuries have killed LA this year. That said, they are still clearly better than the Sonics.
Give Kevin Durant and Jeff Green credit - they each struggled at times earlier in the season, but both have shown definite improvement as the year has progressed. The Sonics' record doesn't indicate anything positive, but Durant's stellar March is hopeful as is Green's two 20-point games in the past week or so.
Both Damien Wilkins and Donyell Marshall will be sidelined for tonight's game (thanks to Gary Washburn for the information). That means, of course, that the two rookies will see even more time, and that Mo Sene may crack the 7-minute level in playing time.
Nick Collison went crazy in the last meeting between the two teams, finishing with 18-17 on the night in a 95-88 win over the Clippers in a game where the Sonics held LA to 34.6% from the field.
Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Tim Thomas are all going to be wearing streetclothes tonight, which is a strong positive for the Sonics. Of course, those three all sat out that Mavericks game, and the Clippers didn't seem to miss a beat. Wilkins and Marshall being out shouldn't have a huge impact on the game for the Sonics, although the irony of the Sonics going from having Rashard Lewis, Wally Szczerbiak, Damien Wilkins, and Mickael Gelabale all pass through the Small Forward section of the roster does make one laugh a bit.
The Sonics are laying five points currently, up from three earlier. As a Sonic fan, it pains me to say this, but take the Clippers and the points.
Los Angeles 112 - Seattle 102