On a night when Sonics legends including Xavier McDaniel and the one and only Shawn Kemp were in the building, Seattle handed the Los Angeles Lakers their first loss of the year 117-101.
Both teams started at a torrid pace, with the Lakers hitting their first seven shots and the Sonics shooting 62% in the first quarter.
From that point on, it was all about turnovers. The Lakers committed a ton of them, 22 total, and the Sonics capitalized. The Sonics used a 15-0 run in the first half and a 16-2 run to start the second half to turn a competitive game into garbage time.
Seattle also continued to shoot the basketball well, hitting 60% of their shots from behind the arc. Ray Allen led the way with 32 points. Rashard Lewis had a big night, scoring 25 points and making 6 of 10 3-pointers. Earl Watson sparked the Sonics off the bench with 12 points and four steals, while his point guard counterpart Luke Ridnour continued his hot start to the 2006-2007 season with 22 points on 9 of 13 shooting.
For Los Angeles, this game was a major departure from their three victories. On offense, Lamar Odom lacked the aggressiveness he had in the previous three, when he averaged 28 points per game, finishing with 11 points on only six shot attempts. Kobe Bryant was also quiet, scoring only seven points in the first half and finishing with 15 for the game on 4 of 10 shooting.
However, the killer for the Lakers was settling for 3-point shots. In their three victories, the Lakers moved the ball well and got balanced scoring from unlikely sources like Luke Walton, Andrew Bynum and Ronny Turiaf. Tonight, L.A. settled for the long-range shot, and they lost because of it. They are not a team that can survive shooting 8 of 25 from behind the 3-point line.
So, what have we learned about these two teams in their home and home series? Well, they can both score with anyone. The keys to success for both teams will be how effectively they defend, and how well they move the basketball. We’ll see how things progress in week two.