|NBA: Seattle Sonics at Orlando Magic Preview & Picks|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Tuesday, 13 November 2007 03:28|
Hot Start For Magic
Rashard Lewis spent nine seasons with Seattle, but decided to leave as a free agent over the summer when the SuperSonics began their rebuilding process. So far, Lewis' choice is looking like a smart one.
Lewis will face his former team for the first time on Tuesday when his Southeast Division-leading Orlando Magic look to send the Sonics to their first 0-8 start in franchise history.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Orlando -10 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 209.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 58% of bets for this game have been placed on Seattle +10 (View NBA Bet Percentages).
After declaring for the NBA draft directly out of high school in 1998, Lewis - then considered a potential lottery pick - dropped into the second round, where Seattle took him with the 32nd overall selection. Over the next nine seasons, Lewis made a lot of teams regret passing on him.
He averaged more than 20 points in each of his last three seasons with Seattle, including a career-high 22.4 in 2006-07, when he added 6.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals while shooting 46.1 percent from the field and 39.0 percent from 3-point range.
Despite Lewis' career year, the Sonics struggled and decided to begin rebuilding. In the offseason, they traded their top two scorers - Ray Allen and Lewis, who got a six-year contract worth more than $110 million in a sign-and-trade deal with the Magic.
Seattle expected some growing pains while starting over with rookies Kevin Durant and Jeff Green as the future cornerstones of the franchise. The Sonics, though, surely didn't plan on opening the season with seven straight defeats - breaking their previous record of six, set in 1969-70.
The 19-year-old Durant and the 21-year-old Green scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, as the Sonics overcame a 23-point deficit on Sunday, but Seattle eventually fell 107-103 against Detroit.
"When you come from that far behind, you have to play perfect or pretty close to perfect and we didn't do that down the stretch," first-year Seattle coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "We made some bad decisions, we tried some things we shouldn't be trying."
Durant, the second overall pick in last June's draft, remains upbeat despite going winless in the first two weeks of his first NBA season.
"We are playing together, we are playing harder. I think we are playing better defense, we just need to rebound a little bit better and we will be okay," he said. "Nobody around here likes to lose, but we have to keep working harder, keep moving forward and hopefully we will get that win next game."
Orlando (5-2), meanwhile, is off to its best start since 2002-03, thanks in part to Lewis, who's averaging 20.6 points and shooting 50.5 percent from the field.
Lewis, though, was held to a season-low seven points while going 3-for-14 in a 106-96 home loss against Phoenix on Saturday.
"I think they stayed a little closer to me out on the wings when they were rotating on the double team on Dwight (Howard)," he said. "They made sure they paid a lot of attention to me. But at the same time I missed a lot of easy shots - just couldn't get into a rhythm all night."
He'll try to bounce back against his former club, which is allowing 108.6 points per game, among the highest marks in the league.
Howard, Orlando's leader with 21.3 points and 14.7 rebounds per game, had 33 and 18 on Saturday for his sixth double-double in seven games. He averaged 16.0 points and 11.0 boards as the Magic won both meetings with the Sonics last season.
Lewis will visit Seattle for the first time Nov. 28.
By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us
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