Opponent: Los Angeles Lakers
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
TV: FSN (cable)
Radio: KJR (950 AM)
Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Rashard Lewis (6 feet, 10 inches) and Reggie Evans (6-8), center Jerome James (7-1), guards Ray Allen (6-5) and Luke Ridnour (6-2). For Los Angeles – forwards Jumaine Jones (6-8) and Lamar Odom (6-10), center Chris Mihm (7-0), guards Caron Butler (6-7) and Chucky Atkins (5-11).
Next game: Seattle at Utah, 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Bomb threat fallout
Because the call turned out to be a hoax, the Sonics could joke Monday about the bomb threat that forced the evacuation of KeyArena minutes after Sunday’s game with Utah.
And, yes, there were a few smiles.
Ray Allen told how the players were in the locker room, some sitting at their cubicles and others already in the showers, when trainer Mike Shimensky made the announcement. Because Shimensky was deliberately keeping his voice calm, Allen said, “we were listening to him like he was going to tell us there was no practice (on Monday) or something, and then he says, ‘There’s a bomb threat.’”
Picture immediate pandemonium. Though Shimensky tried to put them at ease – “He was like, ‘Guys, don’t panic,’” Allen said – these multimillion-dollar athletes became like school children in a fire drill.
Flip Murray went running back into the shower room, yelling “Bomb threat, bomb threat!” Allen and Rashard Lewis, who have adjoining cubicles, were tearing off their jerseys and pulling on their street clothes. In a matter of seconds, both had left the locker room.
“I took a shower when I got home,” said Allen, who went to fetch his family.
In the hallway outside the locker room, where word of the bomb threat had spread, the nervous wife of Antonio Daniels was still waiting for her husband. Even as teammates were hurrying off into the night, Daniels was still in the locker room, speaking patiently with a gathering of sports writers (who, we should mention, displayed courage, poise and professionalism in the face of perceived danger).
Coach Nate McMillan could smile about the incident on Monday, though at the time “you have to take that seriously,” he said. “You think it’s a hoax and that someone is just playing games, but you’re not for sure. But the way they handled that … the Seattle police were very serious about it.”
Medical report: Forward Vlade Radmanovic was sent home from Monday’s practice, due to a bad cough that has bothered him in recent days. Though he played 31 minutes against Utah on Sunday, “he was definitely feeling under the weather,” McMillan said.
Radmanovic was expected to join his teammates later in the afternoon for the flight to Los Angeles and tonight’s game against the Lakers, “but we don’t know (if he will play),” McMillan said.
On the road again: Ordinarily the Sonics play their West Coast road games on one-day trips. That is, they leave Seattle the day before the game and fly home immediately after the game. Occasionally there will be a two-game trip on the West Coast, but it has been a few years since the Sonics have had a three-game swing like the one they have this week when they visit the LA Lakers, Utah and Golden State.
This week’s trip will cut down on Seattle’s air miles, which are typically among the most in the NBA.
“With the way we’re playing these games, three games in four nights and with the cities pretty close, it shouldn’t be too bad,” McMillan said. “The teams will be tough, but I don’t look at this as a brutal trip.”
Three weeks and counting: The All-Star break, which is always a much-anticipated respite, is a little over three weeks away, and McMillan has already begun addressing the players about not being distracted by the upcoming vacation.
“This is a grinding time so to speak,” he said. “We’re almost halfway through the season, bodies are sore and we’re having illnesses, but we can’t make excuses. We have to play. We have to find some way to get it done and keep our focus for another couple of weeks.”
Rich Myhre, Herald Writer