Seattle embarks on a 6 game road trip tonight with two back-to-backs and contests against two division leaders. The combined record of teams theyâ€™re playing is under .500 (10-11), but when you remove Torontoâ€™s 0-4 (Iâ€™m not talking contraction, but itâ€™s a thought), thereâ€™s only one other team under .500 (Boston is 1-2â€”but I would add that we had real trouble with Boston last year).
Memphis is the only in-conference game so that would be really nice to get, plus it starts the road trip with a W. In a point thatâ€™s about as relevant as what youâ€™ll eat for your 4th of July dinner, if the playoffs started today, Memphis would be the 8th seed. Last year Seattle matched well against Memphis which is a nice perimeter team, but is not tough inside. Our strength against teams like Memphis is using heavy doses of Reggie, Danny and Nick to pound the boards and the interior. Gasolâ€™s a nice interior player, but, again, not known for toughness.
Memphis is a tough read. They got blown out at home against Miami, beat a potentially bad Orlando team by 9 before coming home to handle the Cavs who have looked anything but dominant.
Damon Stoudamire and Bobby Jackson are interesting additions to the team as is Eddie Jones.
Games Sonics fans really want to see to determine what type of team the Sonics are in this early season are the match-ups in Washington and New Jersey. AD turned his ankle the other night and might not be available to face his old team (I havenâ€™t heard this status yet), and Seattle faced NJ without Kidd or Carter last year.
Last year, this early road trip east was successful in win-loss terms, but even more important was how the team bonded. They found each other during that first trip east and really laid a foundation for what would be a great year of team unity through the season grind.
That might be most important to a team searching for its identity, rotations and style of play. Allen and Lewis provide solid veteran leadership which is vital, but with Coach Weiss searching for a rotation that works, team unity is a really important factor.
Oh, and Vladi, weâ€™re going to need you to be goodâ€”play in such a way that the coach CANâ€™T take you off the floor. Vladi had 29 points in a game in Memphis a couple of years ago, that would be nice tonight.
A plus .500 road trip would be incredible because the rest of November looks like this:
Fri 18-- Chicago
Sun 20-- Sacramento
Tue 22 --Utah
Thu 24 --@ L.A. Lakers (national TV)
Sat 26 --New Orleans/Okla Cty
Wed 30-- Charlotte