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Daily Roundup 12.18.06

Tough loss against the Pistons but one of those losses that can count as a moral victory. This team can play. They're just routinely coming up 2-3 plays short.

Maxiell was the primary reason the Sonics did not walk away from the Palace at Auburn Hills with a victory. He single-handedly pulled down more offensive rebounds than the Sonics and then canned an 11-footer with 6.8 seconds left in a 97-93 Detroit win.

Maxiell was a freak last night. Great game.

Gary Washburn blogs that the team needs better execution late in games and I'd agree.

It's the type of performance that separates the mediocre teams from the championship-caliber teams. Detroit just came off a rough game at New Jersey, yet it knew exactly what it had to do to take it to the final minutes. And the Sonics are gaining the reputation as a team that can't finish games.

When Rashard Lewis repeatedly got fed the ball in the fourth quarter, one scout said, "They can't do anything unless he shots. He's their designated scorer."

Another final play breakdown, but the minutae of who did what & where isn't really important to dwell on. Allowing 20+ offensive rebounds is the bigger problem.

"Rashard curled it and he didn't have to curl it [because] we had six seconds left," Hill said. "When he curled it, he allowed Delfino to get back into the play. ... So if he would have come off of it [a screen] straight up the court, we would have gotten it to him and he would have had Delfino on him in the middle of the floor, which is what I wanted."

Countered Lewis: "I did exactly what I was supposed to do. I curled to the ball, but obviously the guy — not my defender — the guy came from the corner and stole the ball. I thought the pass came a little bit slow.

"Maybe I should have stepped up and tried to come more toward it [the pass], but a situation like that, it's like a split-second decision."

Perhaps Lewis zigged when he should have zagged, but Hill put a halt to any second-guessing of the play-calling when he said: "That last play didn't work, but the story of the game is rebounding."

Both Hill and Lewis are correct. I thought Luke could have thrown a better entry pass, he led Rashard slightly to his left and right into the teeth of the defense. It might have been interesting to try to set up Wilcox on the block with Luke in the corner for a 3. Detroit was stretching the corners and shooting from the sidelines all night. It would be nice if the Sonics could space the floor like that sometimes.

An interesting potpourri of commentary:

Sunday, when asked if the team is pursuing another center, Hill said: "We just have to wait and see what we can do. Everybody is doing their due diligence. We just have to wait until somebody becomes available."

Jamaal Magliore, PJ Brown, hook me up ... and in Lewis contract extension news:

Lewis said he was making his final public comments about his contract situation Sunday, before Seattle's 97-93 defeat against Detroit, because he doesn't want to give the perception he's focused on a possible two-year extension while the team is struggling.

He clarified his stance on a potential two-year, $25 million extension and said he would entertain an offer during the season if the Sonics wanted to talk.

"That would be disrespectful if I didn't," Lewis said. "I've been with the team for eight years so I have to listen."

Understandable point on contract extension ...

Of course the big story everywhere is the Knicks/Nuggs brawl ... no word on suspensions yet but I am pretty sure it's going to be nasty ... There's a lot of idiocy going to be punished, from Melo's cowardly hit and run to the bench act, to Nate Robinson's ill-advised comments after the game in which he decried showboating, despite being the guy who once bounced the ball off the backboard to himself for a dunk in-game (thanks to johnemack for reminding me about that!). About the only person who won't draw a suspension is George "Respect the Game (By Playing Your Starters In A 20 Point Blowout)" Karl. Pity.

Chris Bosh is out indefinitely with a knee injury, which could certainly affect NBA trade talks the Sonics would be involved in. I'm doing a podcast this weekend with a Raptors site blogger and will have to ask him about that.

Clay Bennett could announce a new arena site as early as Wednesday. Stay tuned. Looks like Tacoma city leadership wants to revitalize the Dome District. Hadn't they heard that pro sports have no cultural or economic relevance?

Frank Hughes also writes that Lewis doesn't want to posture for an extension right now.

“I ain’t got nothing else to say about that, I’m done talking about it,” Lewis said. “I’m just going to focus on hoop.”

Lewis said he is avoiding contract questions because he does not want to give the wrong impression.

“I don’t want the fans to think that is the only thing I am worried about and not the season,” Lewis said. “Because we obviously aren’t doing too good. And they might start thinking he is worried about himself and not the team.”

And also in the TNT, the Sonics are looking for a veteran starting center.

General manager Rick Sund and director of player personnel David Pendergraft, both of whom were at The Palace of Auburn Hills on Sunday night, are evaluating talent and making calls to other general managers in an effort to pry loose a player that could help them. A player such as Detroit’s Dale Davis is a perfect candidate.

“Until our young bigs improve a little – and by young I mean Petro and (Mouhamed) Sene – a veteran big guy would give us a better chance to win,” Pendergraft said. “If we had Robert (Swift), we wouldn’t be having this discussion. He is a legitimate starting center in the NBA.

“We are hopeful that Petro will continue to do what he is doing and we will continue to look for help. I think having a starting center would be a comfort to Ray (Allen) and (Rashard Lewis).”

Jamaal Magliore ... size, experience, ending contract.