The Seattle SuperSonics hit the floor at America West Arena in Phoenix at 6 p.m. PST today to play the re-tooled and mysterious Suns.
But Sonics coach George Karl suddenly isn’t as worried about unlocking the mysteries of other teams with his own club - the defending Western Conference champion - struggling out of the gate to a 1-2 start.
“We just have to worry more about ourselves right now,” said Karl, in the wake of Tuesday night’s 117-95 ambushing by Atlanta at KeyArena.
After the game, Karl said he wasn’t sure his players had properly “respected” Atlanta. But after watching film of the game, Karl said Wednesday the effort was there.
“If we had done some things better, I’m still not sure we would have won,” Karl said. “They hit some tough shots. I thought we competed hard, but we just had no confidence in our own game.”
Karl said a few such games are inevitable in the 82-game marathon that is the NBA regular season. But he was a little surprised that it happened at KeyArena, where the team went 38-3 last year, and that it happened so early in the season.
“It’s a rude awakening,” said guard Hersey Hawkins. “No one’s happy about it and no one should be happy about it. We all need to look in the mirror and figure out why we didn’t get ready for the Atlanta game and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Karl said the Sonics simply need to get a few wins to get their confidence back.
Tonight would be a good place to start. The game is the first of a three-game road trip that continues to San Antonio on Friday night and Sacramento on Monday, and the beginning of a stretch of 10 of 13 overall away from Seattle.