Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Practice for Sonics

The Sonics returned to the practice court Thursday after an effort against the New Orleans Hornets that disappointed Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo. He liked what he saw Thursday much better.

"We had a good practice," said Carlesimo, who saw all 14 players make free throws consecutively to finish off the session. "We'll see if we have a good shootaround tomorrow, but we'll see at 7:30 tomorrow whether we do or don't (bounce back). We'll find out if there's anything to the first game back or Chris Paul or whatever it was."

Carlesimo had suggested after Wednesday's game that changes were possible in the future because the Sonics have gotten off to some slow starts at times recently.

"This group has done alright, record-wise, but if we start out this way again, we either have to shorten up rotations or look to change combinations or do something," he said. "First quarter and third quarter have not been good to us all year."

After that, Carlesimo mostly commented on features various writers are working on, but made an interesting digression to discuss the importance of confidence in general and for his team.

"Confidence is such a huge thing. It's a huge thing in everything, but in athletics it's unbelievable," Carlesimo said, pointing to the role of confidence in the inconsistent performances of golfers.

In the NBA, it's easier for teams who have enjoyed consistent success to maintain that level of confidence.

"With us, because we haven't had as much success as we need to have, we tend to go that way," Carlesimo said. "When we're feeling good about ourselves and we're out there and we're bouncy and everything, we look like a totally different team than we looked like last night. I just think if you're the Suns or Dallas or the Spurs and out of 25 games you do that 18 or 20 times, then you can put the first quarter or six bad minutes out of your mind and play good. But when you've gone the other way 15 times out of 25, it's really hard to fight through it.

"That's not why we played the way we played last night, but it is why we can do the peak and valley thing. ... At times, we've looked pretty good, but at other times we've looked really poor and the gap between our good and poor is bigger than it needs to be or should be."