Opponent: Los Angeles Lakers
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
TV: KONG (Ch. 6/16)
Radio: KJR (950 AM)
Probable starters: For Seattle – forwards Jelani McCoy (6 feet 10 inches) and Rashard Lewis (6-10), center Patrick Ewing (7-0), guards Emanual Davis (6-5) and Gary Payton (6-4). For Los Angeles – forwards Horace Grant (6-10) and Rick Fox (6-7), center Shaquille O’Neal (7-1), guards Kobe Bryant (6-7) and Ron Harper (6-6).
Next game: Houston at Seattle, 7 p.m. Saturday.
Medical report: Not only were their egos bruised, but the Sonics were a bit battered in body after Wednesday’s 112-99 loss to Detroit. Thursday’s mid-morning practice was brief since “everybody had heavy legs and a bunch of people were sore,” coach Nate McMillan said.
One player who did not participate in the workout was guard Gary Payton. He was suffering from a sore back, an ailment that has bothered Payton at times in his NBA career. Payton, who was excused from the session, is expected to be ready for the Lakers tonight.
Another player still nagged by injury is forward Vin Baker, who practiced Thursday but is still not 100 percent. Baker missed weekend games against Denver and Golden State with a right leg injury, though he was able to play against the Pistons.
The next Michael? He is not only one of the NBA’s top scorers, he is one of its most dynamic players. Kobe Bryant is, in a word, special.
“He has that sort of swagger and attitude and the approach,” McMillan said. “He also has the athletic ability and the God-given talent to do it, and that’s a dangerous combination for opposing teams.
“He has,” McMillan added, “everything to be Michael (Jordan).”
Staying the same: Though he was plainly unhappy with his team’s effort in Wednesday’s game, McMillan said he will stay with the same starting lineup he has used in the five previous games for tonight’s meeting with the Lakers.
Trivia question: The Lakers have retired the jersey numbers of seven players. Who are they? (Hint: here are the numbers – 13, 22, 25, 32, 33, 42 and 44)
La-la land: Surprisingly, perhaps, the Sonics have fared well on the road against the Lakers in recent seasons. Only once since the 1991-92 season has Seattle failed to win at least one game a year at the Forum/Staples Center. That was in 1995-96, when the Sonics were 0-2 in LA against the Lakers. Seattle has split the two-game series in each of the past four seasons, and has a 10-10 record at LA since ‘91-92.
Trivia answer: Wilt Chamberlain (13), Elgin Baylor (22), Gail Goodrich (25), Earvin “Magic” Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (33), James Worthy (42) and Jerry West (44).