My Christmas gift to myself is to just enjoy this game as a fan without worrying about who's doing what technically or, as it turns out, writing an extensive preview. (Don't worry, I'll still do a full recap, as will Ben from the arena.) So here's the abbreviated scoop:
--The Sonics are bad defenders, turn the ball over a ton, and average fewer rebounds than their opponents. That's an enormously bad combination.
--They are 5-6 when they score 100+, 3-13 otherwise.
Before this streak I would not have asked the Blazers to defend while keeping a straight face but hopefully that stand against Denver the other night lit a spark in them they won't go out for a while. So I'm asking. Defend, take care of the ball, and play your game.
I am only worried about a couple things. First this is a national stage for Kevin Durant and he is a special player already, even as a fairly poor-shooting rookie. He has the ability to light it up. Second the Sonics do have some rebounders and getting killed on the boards would make it that much tougher to win.
This game could be easy if we come with energy and smarts. This game could be dangerous if we take it for granted. I doubt it will be ugly either way. Either we're going to look really good at their expense or they will look good at ours...maybe some of each. I know which one I'm rooting for.