Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sonics vs. Milwaukee Live Blog

Pregame: Just about ready to tip off. We're at Thomas & Mack Center, the home of UNLV men's basketball (and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game), across from Cox Pavilion. The crowd seems small in this big building, but from my perspective this is better. The media seating has a good view of the court (and that's what really counts, isn't it), plus now there may be replays.

Another game, another lineup for the Sonics. Mouhamed Sene gets the nod in the middle, with Jeff Green (the only player to start all three games) and Kenny Adeleke in the backcourt and Jermaine Jackson and Olu Famutimi (yet to see action for the Sonics) at guards.

Sonics 4, Milwaukee 4: As I'm sure you know, Kevin Durant is not playing tonight for the Sonics because of his earlier commitment to attend the ESPY Awards in L.A. Mickael Gelabale is also sitting out tonight because of the sprained ankle suffered in practice last week.

In the early going, the Sonics are featuring Green and Sene.

Milwaukee 10, Sonics 8: Experience is hugely important in summer action. You can tell a major difference between players who have played in the NBA and those who have not. The Bucks have a lot of vets - their point guards are Lynn Greer and two-time Sonics callup Randy Livingston, who have both been around. Awvee Storey and Noel Felix (another former Sonics players) don't have as much NBA time, but have been pros for a while, as has Billy Thomas. That makes this game a good test for the Sonics.

Milwaukee 12, Sonics 9: Credit Sonics PR guy Kurt Fedders with a nice catch at the scorers' table on a ball tipped out of bounds that Ralph Lewis was unable to corral. Way to go Kurt!

Sonics 22, Milwaukee 18, end 1st: Nice finish to the quarter for the Sonics, who lead by four. Olu Famutimi has six points and has knocked down a couple of outside shots. Zabian Dowdell came in late in the period and did a fine job of running the team. He assisted Famutimi on an inbounds play, then got to the basket and banked in a runner on the last full possession of the period. Look for my feature on Dowdell tomorrow on SUPERSONICS.COM.

Sonics 35, Milwaukee 24: The run continues with a lineup of Dowdell, Julius Hodge, Antywane Robinson, Ronnie Burrell and Johan Petro on the floor. Dowdell, Robinson and Famutimi have combined for 19 points.

Sonics 36, Milwaukee 29: Is it possible to be kicked out of an NBA Summer League game? Bucks Head Coach Tony Brown might be. The Milwaukee bench has been unhappy with a couple of iffy block calls that went against the Bucks, amongst other transgressions. Brown did get a T between the quarters.

Signs this is, after all, only summer league: Awvee Storey's name is misspelled "STORY" on the back of his jersey.

Sonics 41, Milwaukee 33: Question of the first half right now: Who's Olu Famutimi? Famutimi was supposed to play for the Knicks in Vegas and join the Sonics only in Utah, but for whatever reason those plans changed. With Mickael Gelabale's injury, some minutes opened up and Famutimi has taken full advantage. He averaged 11.5 ppg last year for Arkansas in the D-League. He's looked automatic from about 20 feet, but only hit four three-pointers all of 2006-07, so his range must be a little limited.

Sonics 44, Milwaukee 39 (halftime): Strong first half for the Sonics. They didn't shoot the ball tremendously well (36.6%), but committed just five turnovers, which is incredible for a summer-league game. They also beat Milwaukee on the glass and got to the free-throw line more often.

One of the challenges with non-roster guys in the summer league is making sure they are playing as the teams needs them to instead of worrying only about "getting theirs." This Sonics unit has done a great jof of that tonight, sharing the ball and moving it around. Kudos to all of these guys.

I wanted to make sure I throw in a link to the scoreboard so anybody who had missed it can watch the webcast. Just click on "Watch" under the score of this game.

Sonics 50, Milwaukee 46: On the Bucks side, a big game tonight for former Sonics forward Noel Felix. Felix has 18 points to lead all scorers on 7-for-10 shooting, four rebounds and a couple of blocks. He has looked incredibly athletic tonight and has been the best player on the court.

This is summer league, part two: Milwaukee just tried to take the ball when the Sonics were inbounding on their end of the court. Everybody was lined up as if the Sonics were inbounding, but a Bucks player (didn't see who) went over and got the ball from the ref before another ref noticed the mistake.

Milwaukee 58, Sonics 55: This game has begun to get away from the Sonics a little bit here in this third quarter. Turnovers and penetration have both caused problems. After committing just five turnovers in the first half, the Sonics have six thus far in the period. Meanwhile, the Bucks got good looks and scored 19 points in the first six and a half minutes of the period. Lynn Greer looks like a veteran running the Milwaukee offense.

Milwaukee 61, Sonics 59: Looks like we should get a close fourth quarter tonight. The Bucks will enter with a two-point lead. The Sonics will go to the final period with the lineup of Dowdell, Heath, Hodge, Burrell and Petro that was very effective in the first half.

Sonics 64, Milwaukee 63: Last game I talked about Kevin Durant's ability to draw fouls. That's to be expected for a player of Durant's ability, but some guys just have a knack for drawing them. Julius Hodge is one of them. He's taken nine free throws tonight in 16 minutes.

Sonics 69, Milwaukee 67: This being summer league, wins and losses aren't hugely important, but I still think the Sonics coaching staff would like to finish this game out with a win. With 5:53 left, the Green and Gold is clinging to a two-point lead. Milwaukee clearly cares as well: The Bucks have now been called for not one but two technical fouls.

By the way, if Jeff Green has been conspicuous by his absence from this blog, it's because he hasn't played since early in the game. Green tweaked an ankle and, with no good reason to push him, he hasn't played since.
Update: Green said after the game he sprained his ankle previously and it was a little tight when he tried to go tonight.

Sonics 75, Milwaukee 67: The Bucks take timeout in response to a 6-0 Sonics run since the last break. Julius Hodge has the last two buckets, both transition layups after steals. Hodge has a team-high 12 points.

Milwaukee 81, Sonics 79: With 1:53 left, the Bucks have taken a two-point lead on a three-pointer from Damir Markota. The Sonics finish with Jackson, Famutimi, Hodge, Burrell and Adeleke.

Milwaukee 87, Sonics 82: Looks like the Bucks will take this one. Milwaukee has made its free throws, while Olu Famutimi has missed a couple of three-point attempts that could have been big for the Sonics. With 41.9 seconds left, it's a five-point deficit.

Milwaukee 92, Sonics 85, final: That's a wrap from the Thomas & Mack Center. The Bucks finished this one with a 14-6 run to take it from the Sonics, who didn't have the go-to scorer they needed down the stretch. Still, they have to feel good about how well they played without their two leading scorers in the NBA Summer League, Kevin Durant and Jeff Green (eight minutes).

Julius Hodge led the Sonics with 15 points and has posted a bizarre line this summer: 14 field-goal attempts and 29 free-throw attempts. Olu Famutimi (12) and Kenny Adeleke (10) were the other two Sonics who scored double-figures.

The Sonics will be back in action Friday, taking on the Golden State Warriors right here at 7:30 p.m.