Sonics Update

  • Thursday, December 6, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Miami Heat

When: 7 p.m.

Where: KeyArena, Seattle

TV: None

Radio: KJR (950 AM)

Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Vin Baker (6 feet, 11 inches) and Rashard Lewis (6-10), center Calvin Booth (6-11), guards Brent Barry (6-6) and Gary Payton (6-4). For Miami – forwards LaPhonso Ellis (6-8) and Brian Grant (6-9), center Alonzo Mourning (6-10), guards Anthony Carter (6-2) and Eddie House (6-1).

Next game: Seattle at Portland, 7 p.m. Saturday.

Scouting teams: On paper, you have to figure the Sonics will win tonight’s game. Not only is Miami riding a 12-game losing string, but the Heat has never won in Seattle (or Tacoma in 1994-95) in 13 tries. That makes Miami one of two winless teams (Vancouver/Memphis is the other) on the road against the Sonics.

Of course, Seattle coach Nate McMillan is hoping his players ignore such tidbits.

“It has to happen out on the floor,” he said Thursday. “As I tell our players, you don’t look at the uniform, you don’t look at the record. You play a team, and that team could get hot or they could do some things particularly well that night. So you have to be ready for them. The bottom line is that you have to play the game and win the game.

“I don’t want our team to look at any other team differently than they look at the (defending NBA champion) Lakers,” he added.

The big question for Miami tonight is whether guard Eddie Jones will be available. Jones, the team’s leading scorer at 19.5 points per game, missed Tuesday’s contest against the LA Clippers with a right knee contusion. He is expected to play tonight, but a final decision will not be made until game time.

Praising Pat: When Heat coach Pat Riley was coaching his first NBA championship team (the LA Lakers in 1981-82), Seattle coach Nate McMillan was still in high school. It is, McMillan admitted, something of a strange feeling.

“You’re just in awe,” he said, “that you’re competing against one of the best.”

Missing Mason: Sonics guard Desmond Mason, on the injured list with a sprained right knee, might have aggravated the injury when he returned to the court Sunday night, minutes after being hurt against the Milwaukee Bucks. Still, Mason played brilliantly, converting eight of nine field goal tries in Seattle’s 97-83 victory.

“When the adrenalin is flowing like that, and it’s an intense game, and you feel like you can go at that moment, your body allows you to go,” McMillan said.

The severity of Mason’s injury became apparent when he tried to leave the arena after the game.

“He was really limping,” McMillan said. “He could barely leave the building.”

Now in his second season, Mason has become “a key part to our team,” McMillan added. “He’s become one of our go-to guys. But I think it’s also the intensity that he brings to the game. I think his teammates feed off that.”

Mason must sit out a minimum of five games because he is on the injured list, which means he is eligible to be activated for next Wednesday’s game in Los Angeles against the Clippers.

Add, injuries: Sonics center Calvin Booth was close to going on the injured list himself last weekend. Instead, Booth has gallantly tried to contribute, despite a sore ankle that he sprained in Seattle’s last preseason game.

“He’s trying to play, but I know he’s not healthy,” McMillan said. “He’s trying to give us what he has. He knows we have injuries, and he’s doing what he can when he’s in there.”

The glamorous life: The Sonics played in Minnesota on Tuesday, flew to Detroit after the game, then returned to Seattle after Wednesday’s game against the Pistons. The team landed at Boeing Field shortly after 3 a.m.

Rather than put the team through a rigorous workout on Wednesday, McMillan limited the session to an offensive and defensive walk-through, films of Miami, and some time in the weight room. Given the fatigue factor, he said, “there’s just not too much you can do except review for Miami.”

Rich Myhre

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

State basketball roundup for Saturday, March 2

State basketball roundup for Saturday, March 2: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Richland’s Landen Northrop (1) shoots the ball during a 4A semifinal game between Glacier Peak and Richland at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Glacier Peak fell, 70-59. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Glacier Peak boys fade late against Richland in 4A state semifinals

An 11-0 closing run by the Bombers hands the Grizzlies a 70-59 loss.

Mead’s Teryn Gardner (24) moves with the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish girls get rolling too late, fall to Mead in 3A state semifinals

Snohomish makes a valiant second-half push, but comes up short 56-50 against the well-balanced top seed.

State basketball roundup for Friday, March 1

State basketball prep roundup for Friday, March 1: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Matt Brash delivers during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
Mariners get relieving injury update on Matt Brash

The hard-throwing reliever won’t need surgery. Plus, updates on injuries to Gregory Santos and Luis Urias.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Penix Jr. confident he’s answered concerns at NFL combine

Varying national reports have stated the UW quarterback has impressed teams in formal meetings

Snohomish junior Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles hits the floor trying to get the ball during a WIAA 3A Girls Basketball quarterfinal against Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish girls lock down Arlington, advance to 3A state semifinals

The Panthers run away a 45-25 victory in a rubber match between the Wesco rivals.

Glacier Peak junior Josiah Lee splits the defense on his way to the basket during a WIAA 4A Boys Basketball quarterfinal against Gonzaga Prep on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lee flips switch, Glacier Peak boys rally again to reach 4A state semis

Jo Lee pours in a barrage of 3-pointers down the stretch as the Grizzlies outlast Gonzaga Prep 65-58 in overtime.

State basketball roundup for Thursday, Feb. 29

State basketball prep roundup for Thursday, Feb. 29: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Mountlake Terrace’s Rayshaun Connor shoots a three during a WIAA 3A Boys Basketball quarterfinal against Mount Spokane on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Terrace boys overpowered by Mt. Spokane in 3A state quarterfinals

The Hawks struggle with the well-oiled Wildcats in an 82-58 loss.

Everett’s Alana Washington is called for an offensive foul during a WIAA 3A Girls Basketball quarterfinal against Garfield on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett girls fall to Garfield in 3A state quarterfinals

Katie Fiso and the Bulldogs prove too much for the Seagulls in a 54-43 loss.

State basketball roundup for Wednesday, Feb. 28

State basketball prep roundup for Wednesday, Feb. 28: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.