Zach Randolph, returning from microfracture surgery to his right
knee late last season, had 16 points and eight rebounds and the
Blazers beat the Sonics 82-75 Wednesday night.
"After the ball was tossed it was just another game," McMillan
McMillan was hired by the northwest rival Trail Blazers in the
offseason after he failed to agree to a contract with the Sonics.
It was surprising in that McMillan spent five years as head
coach of the Sonics, where before that he was an assistant coach
after a 12-year career as a player, earning the nickname Mr. Sonic.
His jersey hangs in the rafters of Key Arena.
But Blazers owner Paul Allen lured McMillan south.
The Sonics replaced him with Bob Weiss, who spent 11 seasons as
an assistant with the Sonics under George Karl, Paul Westphal and
McMillan replaces Maurice Cheeks, who was popular with the
players and the fans, but was nonetheless fired last March and
replaced in the interim by Blazers director of player personnel
The Blazers finished the season 27-55.
Not much was expected of the Sonics last season, but McMillan
led them to 52 wins and they took the San Antonio Spurs to six
games in the Western Conference semifinals.
The game was unimpressive, typical of the early preseason, with
both teams shuffling a variety of players in and out.
"You play to win. We wanted to see ourselves against and
opponent, and we were fortunate to get a win, but it all goes back
to zero at the start of the season," McMillan said.
The Blazers got a look at Martell Webster, the sixth overall
pick in the NBA draft this year, who played at Seattle Prep High
School. Webster's dunk put the Blazers up 67-60 early in the fourth
His long jumper made it 75-67 with less than five minutes to go.
The Sonics narrowed it to 78-71 on rookie Alex Scales' free
throws late in the game, but the Blazers hung on to win it.
Allen finished with 11 points for the Sonics, while Scales, who
played for Oregon but went undrafted in 2000, had 10.
"Nate coached the whole game, I know that much," Allen said.
"He wanted to beat us tonight."
McMillan's overall assessment of his new team?
"Wasn't bad," he said. "I thought the effort was there."