Game Preview: '96 Seattle Supersonics vs. '91 Portland Trail Blazers Christmas Day Spectacular

Hop into the time machine with us and watch the '96 Sonics take on the '91 Blazers on Christmas Day!

Matchup Preview  |  December 25, 2013
@ Seattlessonics5_medium
1991 Portland Trailblazers
(63-19, 28-14 Away)
1996 Seattle Supersonics
(64-18, 39-3 Home)
Stats Comparison
114.7 Points Per Game 104.5
106.0 PPG Allowed 96.7
.485 Field Goal % .480
.377 3-Point % .364
.753 Free Throw % .760
45.9 Rebounds 41.5
5.0 Blocks 4.8
8.8 Steals 10.7
15.9 Turnovers 17.6
Projected Starters
Terry Porter Point Guard Gary Payton
Clyde Drexler Shooting Guard Hersey Hawkins
Jerome Kersey Small Forward Detlef Schrempf
Buck Williams Power Forward Shawn Kemp
Kevin Duckworth Center Ervin Johnson
Key Bench Players
Danny Ainge
Sam Perkins
Clifford Robinson
Nate McMillan
Wayne Cooper
Vincent Askew
Mark Bryant
Frank Brickowski

David Wingate
Game Notes

For the first time since 2008 the Seattle Supersonics are taking the court.  Granted they are coming at you in simulated form, but the simulated KeyArena is going to be rocking on Christmas Day!

TV
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Radio
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SonicsRising.com is the only place you can get the action!

The 1991 Portland Trail Blazers were the #1 seed in the Western Conference and the favorites to return to the NBA Finals and win their first championship since 1977.  Unfortunately, the Blazers ran into the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals and never made it back to the Finals.

In 1996, the Seattle Supersonics returned to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1979, losing in six games to probably the greatest team in NBA history: Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls.

It's been three and a half decades since either team has tasted championship glory, and almost a decade since one team has even existed. To put things mildly, both fan bases are a little frustrated.

Thus, this Christmas Day (simulated) game has been constructed by the great forward thinkers at Blazersedge and SonicsRising as a little Christmas present to all of you loyal fans.

Key Match-up
Can Buck Williams contain Shawn Kemp?  Kemp is definitely the younger of the two and much more athletic.  Williams, however, is a lot more physical.  His main responsibility is going to be keeping Kemp out of the paint and forcing him to take perimeter jumpers.

If things get out of hand, the Blazers are going to maybe have to roll Jerome Kersey over to him, but that'd mean taking Williams off the floor, bringing in Clifford Robinson, losing interior presence and arguably their best rebounder.

If Williams can't stop Kemp, then the Blazers are going to be opened up into a whole lot of hurt in the paint.

Also, how effective will Kevin Duckworth be when Sam Perkins is on the floor?  What does Rick Adelman do to counteract George Karl?

Can Gary Payton lockdown Terry Porter?
The Blazers offense definitely runs through Porter.  For the Sonics to have any shot at winning they need Payton to lockdown Porter.  He's got to keep Porter from getting the ball to Clyde Drexler and Kersey in advantageous spots on the floor. Payton also has to keep Porter from getting open shots.  Porter is the Blazers' best three point shooter and Payton needs to keep him from getting good looks.

I will withhold predictions this go around, but what are yours?  Who is the better team, the '96 Sonics or the '91 Blazers?

Predict the winner and closest to the correct score and you'll get a free t-shirt!

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