Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sonics-Blazers Live Blog

Tip-off: A very good crowd is here for the finale of the NBA Summer League, at least here in Cox Pavilion (the game at Thomas & Mack tips off a half-hour after us, making it the very final game here). The Sonics and Blazers are both on the court and getting ready to square off.

Jermaine Jackson is in street clothes, so it looks like the Sonics point guard will not be able to go tonight because of his strained hamstring.

Portland 13-8, 5:10 first: The Sonics opened this game with Brandon Heath and Kevin Durant in the backcourt, Jeff Green and Kenny Adeleke at forward and Johan Petro in the middle. Petro has picked up three early fouls as the Sonics have not had crisp defensive rotations.

Jeff Green has the early play of the game, exploding through traffic for a dunk that caught the Blazers defense off guard.

There are a number of Portland fans in the house, and they are generally applauding each basket with more intensity than is probably appropriate for a summer-league game. Back in the crowd tonight: Gary Payton, who walked in with a group led by the Goodwin brothers, his agents who also represent Kevin Durant.

Portland 20-11, 2:43 first: Martell Webster and Joel Freeland have six points apiece to lead all scorers in the early going. Kevin Durant started out on Webster, which is another good challenge for him. If Durant is to log time at the two during the regular season - and it's starting to look that way - the biggest challenge for him will be chasing through off-ball screens on defense, something he presumably wasn't asked to do at Texas.

Jeff Green had another nifty dunk in traffic. He plays with a smoothness about him, if that makes sense.

Portland 26-17, end first: Durant leads all scorers with seven points after one quarter. He's 2-for-4 from the field and has made three of his four tries from the free-throw line. Durant drew a shooting foul on a call that the Blazers faithful in attendance vehemently disagreed with. They were probably right.

Sergio Rodriguez has been very good thus far for the Blazers, creating open shots with his dribble penetration. Rodriguez has four assists and four points.

Chris Ellis has checked in for the Blazers. You may know the Wake Forest product better as the son of Sonics 40th Anniversary Team member Dale Ellis.

Portland 30-27, 5:27 second: Little bit of a run here for the Sonics to get back within three on a Kevin Durant dunk. Durant now has 11 points on 3-for-5 shooting. He's defending 6-0 Blazers guard Taurean Green, which has to be one of the biggest size mismatches I have ever seen. Durant and Jeff Green have combined for 19 of Seattle's 27 points.

Portland 38-28, 2:44 second: The Blazers have successfully quelled the uprising after getting their starters back in the game.

If you're outside the Seattle area and unable to get the FSN feed, you can check out the webcast via Also see some other live blogs from The News Tribune's Eric Williams,'s Casey Holdahl and Dave from the Blazer's Edge blog. Phew. That's a lot of links.

Portland 42-34, halftime: A familiar story for the Sonics. Kevin Durant and Jeff Green have been strong in the scoring column, combining for 24 points (12 apiece), but haven't gotten much help from their teammates. Zabian Dowdell is the only other player on the roster with more than one field goal.

The Sonics have been very good on the glass, outrebounding Portland 29-17. Green is leading the charge with eight boards. Johan Petro has five in 11 minuts and Kenny Adeleke had four in his early stint. On the Blazers side, nice first halves for Joel Freeland and Petteri Koponen, a pair of late first-round picks from Europe who probably won't be with Portland next season but figure into the team's future plans.

Portland 54-41, 5:26 third: After the Sonics made a push, the Blazers have answered to lead now by 13 points. Kevin Durant has flashed the breadth of his skills in this quarter, including a three-pointer and a slithering drive to the basket for a southpaw finish.

During halftime, Franklin High product Aaron Brooks was presented with an award for winning T-Mobile Rookie of the Month honors, as we blogged about earlier.

Portland 56-47, 2:47 third: It continues to be the Kevin Durant and Jeff Green show. Together, they have 37 points on 11-of-24 shooting (with 14 free throws), but the rest of the team is shooting 5-for-21 (23.8%). That's not going to get it done.

Portland 63-56, end third: A night that was supposed to be about Kevin Durant and Greg Oden has been taken over by Jeff Green. The No. 5 overall pick has 23 points and 12 rebounds, both game highs, and did it all during the third quarter. Not to be outdone, Durant has 21 points on 7-of-21 shooting through three quarters.

Still, that hasn't been enough to make much of a dent in the Blazers lead, which still stands at seven entering the final quarter.

Portland 66-65, 6:10 fourth: Here come the Sonics. They've outscored Portland 9-3 here in the period to get within one point on a Jeff Green dunk in transition. Green now is up to 30 points on the evening, two shy of Durant's total on Friday. Is it too late to re-cast the votes for the NBA Summer League All-Star Team?

Portland 75-73, 1:39 fourth: We've got us a game. Olu Famutimi is headed to the free-throw line with a chance to tie the game. He's joined by Brandon Heath in the backcourt. Durant and Green are the forwards with Johan Petro in the middle.

The Blazers fans in attendance - and there are plenty of them - are cheering like this was at least a regular-season game.

Portland 84-76, final: The Blazers take this one, thrilling their fans in attendance. Zendon Hamilton and Stefano Mancinelli made big plays down the stretch, while the Sonics had a couple of costly turnovers. As I've been saying since day one, summer league is not about wins and losses. What it is about is a glimpse of the future, and what we're seeing with Kevin Durant and Jeff Green is very impressive indeed. Green finished with 32 points and 13 boards, both game highs, while Durant had 28 points. They scored 60 of Seattle's 78 points.

This last week has been a blast. Someday I'll be telling people about witnessing the first dominant performances (of many) by Durant and Green. The Sonics continue on to Utah for the Rocky Mountain Revue, but I'm headed home tomorrow. I want to thank everyone at the Sonics who helped get me down here (most notably my boss, Ron Matthews) as well as everyone who's been reading over the last week.