Monday, February 11, 2008

Sonics Back at Practice After Two-Day Break

With a rare weekend off during the middle of the NBA season, the Sonics took both Saturday and Sunday off after playing in Phoenix on Friday. They still have two practices, today and tomorrow, before taking on the Utah Jazz Wednesday in their last game before the All-Star break.

Forward Chris Wilcox thought the break was helpful.

"Guys can get their legs back and we can work on some things in practice," he said.

Coming off the two days of rest, the Sonics had their largest practice contingent at The Furtado Center in some time. Guard Delonte West, whose knee was bothering him, was the only player unable to practice. That allowed Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo to run 5-on-5 scrimmages, a rarity at this point of the season.

How did the team look?

"Not bad, actually," said Carlesimo. "Not as bad as I would have thought. We didn't really get too much going other than some conditioning or some scrimmaging. It wasn't as ragged as you would sometimes expect after two days. I thought they were decent; I wouldn't say they were excellent, but they were better than I thought they might be."

The scrimmaging is particularly useful for center Robert Swift, who continues to work back into shape. Swift made his return to the court a week ago against Chicago, but did not see action in either of the last two Sonics games. Swift needs court time both for his conditioning and to get his game timing back, but that on-the-job training is tough to do during games.

"We got 18 minutes of clock time," Carlesimo said. "Robert may have played all of it; you'd have to ask (Assistant Coach) Ralph (Lewis). There were times it looked like he labored, but other times it looked like he was hanging in, doing a decent job."

Swift had one impressive sequence with the media watching where he blocked a shot on one end (possibly goaltending in the process, but showing the ability to get up either way) and then scored in the post with his left hand off the glass on the other end. Swift drew the foul and finished the three-point play.