Sonics Update

  • Thursday, November 15, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

TODAY’S GAME

Opponent: Golden State Warriors

When: 7 p.m.

Where: KeyArena, Seattle

TV: None

Radio: KJR (950 AM)

Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Desmond Mason (6 feet, 5 inches) and Rashard Lewis (6-10), center Jerome James (7-1), guards Brent Barry (6-6) and Gary Payton (6-4). For Golden State – forwards Antawn Jamison (6-9) and Danny Fortson (6-8), center Erick Dampier (6-11), guards Jason Richardson (6-6) and Larry Hughes 6-5).

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

Injury update: Injured center Calvin Booth tried to practice on Thursday, but ended up sitting out the last half of the workout. He seems doubtful to play tonight.

“I’m just trying to keep from taking a step backward,” said Booth, who has played sparingly since spraining an ankle in the team’s last exhibition game. “I just want to keep getting better. But it’s tough to go through the preseason and then get to the regular season and get hurt, especially on a new team.”

Predrag Drobnjak (whose nickname is Peja, pronounced PAY-ja) is also recovering from an ankle sprain, and has been on the injured list all season. The 6-11, 270-pound Yugoslavian center (whose rights were acquired by the Sonics in exchange for Bobby Simmons, one of Seattle’s two 2001 second-round draft picks) practiced on Thursday for the first time since his injury.

“His ankle is still very sore,” said Sonics coach Nate McMillan. “We’ll want to see him on the floor practicing some more, so I don’t assume he’ll be with us these next two games (tonight and Saturday).”

Scouting report: The Sonics should remember the last two visits by the Warriors to KeyArena. At the very least, Seattle should remember Antawn Jamison.

A year ago, the Golden State forward had two brilliant games against the Sonics in Seattle. He scored 51 points in a Dec. 3 game (the top total for a Sonics opponent last season and tied for the fifth-best in franchise history), and followed that with a 38-point effort on April 11.

“He played well in those two games,” McMillan said. “It wasn’t so much what we did, he just had a hot night. He was knocking down 3s with (defenders’) hands in his face. If he’s going to shoot the ball as well as he did from the perimeter, you have to live with that.”

Tonight, McMillan added, “we won’t go and just send our whole defense to stop him. If he gets hot, then we’ll make some adjustments. But you have to play that whole team.”

Aside from Jamison, one of McMillan’s top concerns is Golden State’s rebounding prowess. The Warriors lead the league with a 51.2 average (Seattle is 11th at 43.7), led by 6-8 forward Danny Fortson, who is tops in the NBA at 13.9 per game.

” (Fortson) has a knack for knowing where the ball is coming off the rim,” McMillan said. “He’s committed to going and getting the ball. That’s his strength.”

The Sonics have 11 straight victories against Golden State and have won 17 of the last 18 games in Seattle, a stretch that includes nine seasons.

Righty, lefty: Ever wonder why guard Gary Payton is so good dribbling and shooting layins with his left hand? He is ambidextrous, sort of. Payton, a natural right-hander, writes with his left hand.

Rich Myhre

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