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Tight Rotations

At the game last night against the Bulls, I sat amongst the 16,000 lethargic fans wondering why Weiss wouldn’t put Reggie Evans in to bring some life to the most deflated effort I’d ever seen in a half of basketball. At the end of the half, I didn’t look at the scoreboard, but down at my ticket stub to make sure I wasn't in Atlanta instead of Seattle for NBA basketball.

But the big complaint of this board during the road trip cannot be a complaint anymore. Weiss stayed with his rotation and didn’t tinker even though any and all would have supported a full-scale search for even a pint of energy infusion. The reality is that the infusion came from within the rotation. Vladi, Damien and Mateen were awesome in the second half. First, let’s make no mistake it was Ray and Rashard shooting the basketball that doubled the points of the first half by the end of the third quarter, but the short, tight rotation had guys trusting each other and knowing what the other was going to do—where they were going to be.

Vladi’s two steals in the Bulls backcourt were huge. They told the Bulls that any control they held in the first half was gone. They said it was a battle. Vladi played smart offensively as well.

The blocked shots were equally as big as the Bulls stopped trying to go into the interior of the Sonics defense,; they then started settling for outside hoists that were off the mark.

Scott (Sonicscentral writer) has been asking if anyone else sees a young Dalembert in Johan Petro…eh…YES. Seattle fan: we can now stop complaining that we didn’t get Dalembert, Magloire, or Murphy in the late rounds—we’ve found him.

The tight rotation is important, but maybe just as important is role definition. I love Damien’s game, but he was killing us with his “offense” on the road. Weiss has reeled him in and reminded him what made him spectacular last season and what got him the money. His block, hustle play throwing the ball off Heinrich (out of bounds) and scoring on the mouse-in-the-house (Gordon) in the block was what we need each night from Damien. We don’t need Allan Houston, we need Bruce Bowen or Trenton Hassell, and that’s what Damien was last night.

Weiss staying with Mateen was huge. From what I’ve seen of Cleeves’ game so far, he has finally created his NBA identity. Good for him. I heard on the radio driving home last night that Cleeves is played great because he knew Brunson was coming off the Inactive Sunday, but with due respect to my favorite radio guy in Seattle, Mateen played the way he plays every single time I’ve even seen him play—hard, aggressive, and full of joy—just loving life, the game of basketball and being with the fellas.

The rotation is set. My only change would be more Danny and less Vitaly (when Danny’s healthy). Other than that, it looks great, and maybe the thing that set this rotation was finally figuring out that Nick is a starter and big minute guy in this league and not “good off the bench.”

Great game last night against a good Bulls squad.