NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, April 8th (All times eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (33-42) at Seattle SuperSonics (50-24), 10:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Seattle SuperSonics will try for the third time to nail down the Northwest Division title this evening, when they tangle with the Los Angeles Lakers at KeyArena.
Seattle leads Denver by seven games with eight games to play. The Sonics need a win or a Denver loss in Minnesota this evening to secure the Northwest Division crown. Seattle is third in the West, 4 1/2 games behind second place San Antonio.
Seattle has lost consecutive contests, including a 122-101 defeat to the Sacramento Kings at ARCO Arena on Tuesday. Ray Allen led the SuperSonics with 23 points, Damien Wilkins had 20 and Reggie Evans scored 11 with 12 rebounds for Seattle, which has lost three of their last four.
Luke Ridnour registered 14 points and seven assists, while Jerome James tacked on 13 points in the contest for Seattle.
The Sonics shot 47.6 percent from the field, including 4-of-16 (.250) from three-point range. Seattle hit 19-of-26 (.731) from the free throw line, while committing 12 turnovers.
Seattle did not have star forward Rashard Lewis on the court due to a right foot contusion. Lewis isn't expected to return until next week, while guard Antonio Daniels (left knee cartilage) and forward Vladimir Radmanovic (leg) are doubtful for tonight.
The Sonics, who have four of their next five at home, are 25-12 in their friendly confines this season. Seattle has won four of five and six of its last 10 home games.
Los Angeles, in the midst of its first losing season in 11 years, has dropped five consecutive contests, including a 114-100 defeat to the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant posted a triple-double after missing LA's last game with an aggravated shin injury. He scored 19 points with 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Caron Butler added 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost 14 of their last 17 games. Chucky Atkins had 15 points in the loss.
The Lakers hit 37.9 percent from the field, including 10-of-29 (.345) from three-point range. Los Angeles managed to knock down 24-of-28 (.857) from the free throw line.
Los Angeles, which is opening up a two-game road trip, is 11-26 in foreign buildings this season. The Lakers have lost 12 of their last 14 road games overall.
Seattle has won all three meetings between these teams this season. The Sonics will be trying to complete their first sweep of the Lakers since 2000-01 tonight. Los Angeles has lost four of five and six of its last nine at Seattle.
04/08 10:11:25 ET