Friday, July 13, 2007

Sonics-Warriors Live Blog

Tipoff: Another night, another starting five for the Sonics. Brandon Heath and Kevin Durant are in the backcourt with Jeff Green and Kenny Adeleke at power forward. Johan Petro, the lone player with NBA regular-season experience in the starting five, is at center.

As expected, Jermaine Jackson will sit out due to a hamstring injury. Mickael Gelabale also remains sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Looks like Durant will defend high-scoring Warriors rookie Marco Belinelli (and vice versa), at least to start.

11-9 Golden State, 4:57 first: Another slow shooting start for Durant, who has missed his first four shot attempts. He got to the free-throw line on the first Sonics possession, fouled in the act by Bellinelli. Kenny Adeleke is doing yeoman's work underneath but having a hard time finishing second chances. Johan Petro is very active in the early going and Jeff Green hit an impossible turnaround.

A huge roar goes up in the crowd as LeBron James has rolled in with a large group of youngsters. One phenom here to see another?

15-14 Golden State, 2:57 first: Durant headed back to the line after a nice play. As the only man back on defense, he read the ballhandler and stayed back, deflecting and stealing a crosscourt pass. Durant took the ball the other direction and was fouled as he went up for a layup. Julius Hodge is getting backup minutes at point guard right now with Jackson injured.

22-19 Sonics, end first: Mouhamed Sene had his best play of the summer late in the first quarter. The Warriors ran a gorgeous pick-and-roll that seemed sure to end in a layup, but Sene flew in from the weakside to send the shot attempt away harmlessly.

Professional Basketball Club, LLC Chairman Clayton Bennett is here, sitting with NBA legend (and one-time Sonics head coach) Bill Russell.

26-25 Golden State, 6:45 second: Kevin Durant has his first field goal of the evening on a three-point play. He was bumped on his cut and shot after receiving the ball, drawing the foul and hitting the shot. He hit the free throw to complete the play and give him six points.

29-25 Golden State, 5:56 second: The Warriors are led by the eight points of Toby Bailey. If you're an NCAA fan, surely you remember Bailey's name. It's been more than a decade - 12 years, in fact - since Bailey played a key role in UCLA winning the National Championship at the now-long-departed Kingdome. A teammate of Sonics guard Earl Watson when he was a senior and Watson a freshman, Bailey is giving the NBA another chance, having last played in the league in 1999-00 with Phoenix. So far, so good - Bailey has had a very nice NBA Summer League.

33-28 Golden State, 3:59 second: Let me make sure I get a link in here to the scoreboard, where you can watch the webcast of this game.

37-30 Golden State, 2:49 second: Tonight it's Jeff Green that is creating a lot of contact. He's had some close calls go in his favor and, a moment ago, was called for an offensive foul on what looked like a Carlos Powell flop from this vantage point. Green is 3-of-6 at the free-throw line and has hit both of his attempts from the field, giving him seven points to go with his four rebounds.

41-36 Golden State, halftime: Sonics done five at the break. They shot just 29% from the field, but attempted a whopping 28 free throws to stay in it. Golden State, by contrast, had only seven free-throw attempts. The Sonics also have an incredible 31-16 advantage on the glass, led by six from Kenny Adeleke.

Let me tell you, you have to watch Marco Belinelli at all times because you never know when he is going to pull the trigger. Has there ever been a player who has been such a perfect fit for his team's style of play? (Um, yes. Steve Nash and Phoenix. But I digress.) Belinelli has gotten Durant off balance at times and made him look a little silly, but Durant has done an excellent job guarding a perimeter shooter. His size and length give him the opportunity to recover even when he gets beat initially. Durant also used his long arms in the passing lanes, picking up three steals. He turned one of them into a dunk that could get him going.

Johan Petro's activity also deserves a mention. Officially, he's got four boards and a block in 11 minutes, but I think I saw him swat a second shot as well. Mouhamed Sene has a pair of blocks off the bench and Jeff Green has added one of his own.

An amazingly entertaining matchup of young kids during halftime has drawn cheers from the crowd.

54-47 Golden State, 5:18 third: Gary Payton has joined Clay Bennett and Bill Russell, only adding to the star power watching the Sonics tonight. And what they're watching is Kevin Durant's best performance in Green and Gold. He's hit two of his three shots since halftime and has nine points, giving him 21 for the game. Marco Belinelli (11 points on 5-of-15 shooting) has been left in the rear-view mirror, though the Warriors continue to lead.

Just a cameo for Payton, who appears to be headed out. I swear, by the way, that Bill Simmons of is sitting behind Payton.

56-54 Golden State, 2:44 third: Gorgeous tip dunk by Jeff Green, who has been quiet in this half. Not as nice as his dunk over Nate Robinson on Monday that Henry Abbott of TrueHoop called his highlight of the NBA Summer League, but nice nonetheless.

Great exchange involving Golden State summer Head Coach Keith Smart. A call went against the Warriors and a fan yelled to Smart to tell the referee he blew the call. Smart responded that the fan had to tell the ref because Smart already was called for a technical in the first half.

61-58 Golden State, end third: Dominant third quarter for Kevin Durant, his first extended superstar period of the NBA Summer League. Durant made four of his six shots and was 7-of-9 at the free-throw line for 16 points in the quarter and 28 in the game. I really liked a running banker off glass from the right side of the lane that showed deft touch.

71-64 Golden State, 5:59 fourth: The Warriors went on a 6-0 run to start the period before Ralph Lewis got Durant and Green back in, and that may doom the Sonics. They trail by seven with a little less than six minutes left.

As impressive as anything Durant has done on offense has been his anticipating and timing on D. He picked Belinelli clean for a fast break that ended in a Ronnie Burrell dunk (showing some unselfishness from Durant, who easily could have finished the break himself). Don't overlook Jeff Green either. He has 15 points and eight rebounds and has made some very difficult shots.

76-70 Golden State, 2:32 fourth: The Sonics are going to need a rally to get their first win of the NBA Summer League. A Brandon Heath layup got them within six, but Josh Powell was cherry-picking at the other end. A good foul by Kenny Adeleke sends him to the line for two.

I keep neglecting to mention it, but check out Eric Williams' live blog at as well.

80-72 Golden State, 1:21 fourth: Time may be running out on the Sonics. They'll have possession after a timeout.

85-74 Golden State, final: The Sonics can't rally, but that's ultimately of little importance. What is important is that we saw the future of the Sonics tonight in the performance of Kevin Durant and Jeff Green, and it looks very bright indeed.