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Saturday, November 08, 2003 - Page updated at 12:27 A.M.
By Percy Allen
George Karl plopped his expanding backside against the green padded scorer's table and let out a long sigh.
"Just like old times," said the former Sonics coach, who returned to KeyArena last night as an analyst with ESPN. "This is a lot easier. Not as much fun, but a lot easier."
Karl doesn't try to hide his feelings. He misses coaching. Anybody that talks to him can tell without him saying a word.
"He's doing good, but he still wants to coach," Sonics coach Nate McMillan said. "That's in his blood."
Karl said he's eager to guide another team, whether in the NBA, college or overseas. But for now, he's taking a year off and hopes to return to the sideline next season.
Before the game, Karl chatted with McMillan, his former point guard.
"Nate has done a good job," Karl said. "With the personnel that they have, he's adjusted. He's playing a very offensive-oriented basketball team. It reminds me of a little bit of how we played in Milwaukee. We weren't very good defensively, so we tried to hide our deficiency and play offense.
"Everybody says you need a big man, but there isn't a lot of them out there. And if you don't have one, you have to play another way. That's what Nate's done."
Player of the game: After scoring 22 and 24 points in Japan, Ronald Murray led the Sonics with 24 points on 9-of-14 shooting. He also had six assists and four rebounds.
Play of the game: Brent Barry stole a pass at midcourt to ignite a fast break. He avoided Portland's Damon Stoudamire and dished to Murray on the right wing. Murray maneuvered around a Blazer before flipping a no-look pass to Rashard Lewis. The forward dunked to cut Seattle's deficit to 48-47 with less than a minute to go in the first half.
Key matchup: Rasheed Wallace vs. Rashard Lewis. In the first quarter, Lewis sneaked past Wallace along the baseline, but his dunk rattled off the rim.
Sideline observation: It didn't take long for Wallace to blow. After being penalized for goaltending, which nullified a putback layup, he began a nasty dialogue with referee James Capers and received a technical early in the third.
Next: Against Atlanta, 6 p.m. tomorrow at KeyArena.
Injured guard Ray Allen hoped to attend last night's game against Portland but remained in Los Angeles, where he had arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle last Saturday.
Allen has complained of nausea this week, but is expected to return to Seattle tomorrow and should attend tomorrow's game.
Wallace goes mum
Rasheed "Both teams played hard" Wallace is ignoring interview requests once again, which is a no-no according to the NBA and the team's new 25-point pledge to fans.
Wallace talks on limited occasions, but the Portland media have contacted the league about his uncooperative demeanor.
The NBA hasn't indicated if it will administer any fines, but the Blazers may punish Wallace..
KeyArena suite holders can record and view replays, surf the Internet, check their e-mail, play music or videos and order food, tickets or merchandise on computers that debuted last night.
Seattle-based Avanade, a systems integrator of Microsoft technologies, designed and deployed the system and computer portal. HP, Flat TV USA and the Seattle Center are also involved in the service, which will be available in many suites.
Portland G Bonzi Wells got up hobbling and favoring his left knee after colliding with Sonics reserve F Reggie Evans late in the first quarter. Wells and went into the locker room with the assistance of a trainer. He returned less than a minute later.
Sonics F Rashard Lewis suffered an abrasion in his right eye in the second quarter. The NBA's leading scorer finished the first half with eight points on 4-for-8 shooting and had just one rebound.
"I used to copy his game, his and Magic (Johnson)," McMillan said about Portland coach Maurice Cheeks, who starred in Philadelphia. "Just the way he ran his team.
"Offensively, he wasn't much of a scorer. He tended to do a little bit of everything. Just solid. He wasn't a player that did a lot of talking."
Approximately 5,000 tickets remain for tomorrow's game against Atlanta at KeyArena, which range from $10 to $129. For more information, go to www.supersonics.com, or call 800-4NBA-TIX.
Portland placed G Derek Anderson on the injured list with back spasms and signed G Matt Carroll.
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