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Monday, August 3, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sonics try to get past issues, back to winning

Tim Booth Associated Press

SEATTLE – All parties in the Seattle SuperSonics’ recent internal bickering sound ready to put the issues aside.

And yet, the problems seem to be festering instead of disappearing.

“It’s lingering too much. We’re focusing on the wrong things as a team,” reserve guard Earl Watson said Tuesday. “We need to focus on finding a resolution on how to win games and be mature and grow from this and get on the same page. These questions have been the same every day.”

Almost a month into the season, the Sonics are struggling both internally and in their home performance. The latest internal strife was evident in Sunday’s 98-78 loss to San Antonio and coach Bob Hill strongly criticized his bench after the game, saying Seattle’s first unit wasn’t getting help from its reserves.

Seattle fell to 6-9 overall and 2-5 at home, its worst home start since 1972.

That criticism led normally quiet Damien Wilkins and Watson to question Hill’s confidence in the Sonics’ bench, his rotations and a relatively short leash for Sonics reserves. Wilkins was miffed in part about being pulled just seconds after slamming a reverse dunk over San Antonio’s Tim Duncan.

The uneasy tenor continued at practice Monday, but by Tuesday, the issues between Wilkins and Hill sounded resolved.

“Damien is like one of my long-lost sons because I coached his uncle and his dad so my relationship with him is different than anybody on the team,” Hill said. “I had a meeting with Damien yesterday like a meeting with one of my sons.”

Wilkins was apologetic, saying the frustrations of his up-and-down minutes and the team’s record were at the root of his comments. Wilkins is averaging 18 minutes per game this season but his time has wavered from a high of 28 minutes to a low of 10.

“I was wrong for saying the things I said, and I was wrong for showing those frustrations publicly,” Wilkins said. “I just need to go play basketball, whether it be five minutes or 20 minutes.”

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