The Sonics welcome back Ray Allen in a nationally televised matchup on TNT "pronounced 'taint' " this evening.
Honestly I'll probably be happy if they manage to keep it close for even part of the game. Of all the games on the schedule in December this one has all the hallmarks of a blowout-down-by-20-after-5-minutes utter fiasco.
So what are some things to watch for?
1. Watch how Boston talks to each other on defense ... something the Sonics have been completely horrible at pretty much since Karl left. Rajon Rondo is developing into a very nice player for that team, getting into the passing lanes and being very effective at disrupting a team's offensive flow. Since the Sonics have been shall we say challenged in that department lately it might not take much for Rondo to go apeshit on the team's thin PG rotation. Both Ridnour and West are game-time decisions, though I'd expect West to play if he can.
2. The revenge factor. Szczerbiak and West could go into this matchup with chips on their shoulders. It would be nice if they did. Given how poorly the starting lineup has played I am interested to see how well the Sonic bench matches up against Boston's bench, which has been a pleasant surprise. All the talk at the beginning of the year was about how thin Boston was behind the big 3. So far they've put that issue completely to rest with Tony Allen, James Posey, Big Baby Davis and Eddie House all playing within themselves and consequently very well as a unit.
3. Damien vs. Ray. It should be interesting to see how much Damien tries to strut his stuff this game. He was basically Ray's best friend on the team last year and has basically tried to be his replacement this year. I could see Damien thinking that he's going to go toe to toe with Ray tonight, which probably plays right into Boston's hands.
The Sonics don't match up well with this team anywhere. Garnett has long had his way with Sonic interior players and if they don't close out on Pierce and Allen this one will be over quick. Hopefully they'll play more inspired defense than they did vs. the Blazers.
"I'm a sailor peg
and i've lost my leg
I've climbed up the top sails
I've lost my leg!
I'm shipping up to Boston"