Count Pistons point guard Lindsey Hunter as one of those NBA folks who believes the Sonics need a new arena. Sitting at the end of the Pistons bench, he is in disbelief that fans are able to walk right past him during the game, close enough to shake his hand.
"This is a walkway!" he told teammates. "This is unbelievable."
What's funny (at least to me) is that Hunter has been to the arena countless times in his career but probably never noticed what life was like for the 12th man until this year.
As for the actual game, it was closer than it had to be but still a win, so you can't really complain. Rip Hamilton paced the team with 32 points on an efficient 11-21 shooting, chipping in five assists and four boards. It seems a lot of attention has been paid lately on the number of shots Rip gets versus Tayshaun Prince, but that wasn't a huge issue last night: Tay finished with just eight points but had plenty of opportunities, he just happened to shoot 4-13 for the night. Incidentally, A. Sherrod Blakely mentions on MLive that Prince is battling a sore big toe on his right foot which may be hampering his mobility.
Speaking of Prince, he had some unique insight on Kevin Durant, whom many "experts" have said needs to bulk up to have long-term success in the league. Prince has heard that his entire career and just doesn't buy it. From the Seattle P-I (via FanHouse):
Prince hasn't gained much weight since he entered the league in 2002. He said Durant doesn't need to, either.
"Once he gets into a comfort level on this professional stage, then you will see the real Kevin Durant," Prince said. "He needs to get his (lower body) stronger and work on that area, the outer feature is not the thing here. He's long and athletic enough to do what he's capable of doing on the offensive and defensive end. But just the base part of it is huge."
By the way, Durant is for real, but I think fellow rookie Jeff Green kind of gets lost in the shuffle in terms of getting his proper due. He was extremely effective for the Sonics yesterday and was one of the biggest reasons why this game was so close. In 25 minutes he finished with 17 points on 5-10 shooting (7-7 from the stripe) to go with eight boards and a block. All in all, he was +19 for the night, which is awfully remarkable in a game in which his team lost by four. If Durant is being hailed as the next (next) MJ, then Green deserves some attention as the next Pippen, even if he's not (yet) officially a starter.
Last but not least, Jarvis Hayes came up big in this one. It's easy to ignore the fourth-leading scorer when looking at the box score, but his 14 points (plus three boards, two assists and a steal) were timely. As I mentioned in the comments of the game preview, it's really nice how quickly he can put points on the board after he enters the game. He's been a solid fit for this team.
Pistons 107, Sonics 103 box score [NBA.com]