Wednesday, February 02, 2005
I didn't see the game. What I'm going off of for this post are the AP wire article, the boxscore, and some of David Locke's postgame material.
I said earlier in the week that maybe the Sonics might get bailed out by injuries to Chris Webber and Peja Stojakovic. Sure enough, those two did sit out the game due to injury. Of course, just because those two are out doesn't automatically mean the offense will perform more consistently or have better flow. Tonight they did.
I said last night that Ron Murray was a zoo. For every bit that he was a zoo last night, he was infinitely negative zoo tonight. His production tonight was a lot better, and it's enough to get me to turn the other cheek when it comes to his turning over the ball. Big credit to Dwane Casey for sticking with him after his game against the Spurs. Of course, Casey probably had no choice given that Ray Allen wasn't going to be able to play.
The bench showed up tonight, which is always good. It was the bench's second straight night of decent production, after they collectively took a game off against Golden State.
But what was nice to see other than Ron Murray getting warm is the fact that Danny Fortson was a legitimate factor on the offensive end for the first time in four games (he had 10 and 9 against the Lakers). If you look at Fortson's game log, it's not hard to see the drastic change in the points column after the game against Denver on the 18th of last month.
The Sonics allowed over 100 points again, but from what I heard there weren't any colossal collapses late or any stretches where the Kings scored on ten straight possessions in the second half or anything like that. The Sonics were down 20-9 at one point, but then ended up shooting 50% in the first half, so that took care of that.
Rashard Lewis led the team in scoring tonight, but David Locke ripped his defense, or lack thereof. Locke referred to Bruce Bowen's night against Rashard, with something along the lines of, "Bruce Bowen's only got one shot in his repertoire. GUARD THE FRICKIN' CORNER THREE!!" Rashard (or somebody) was routinely late in rotating out toward Bruce Bowen in the corner on Monday. Locke was also blaming Rick Adelman for a poorly-coached game because if the staff would have been watching game tape, they'd know that Rashard can't pass out of a double-team. The Kings forced two turnovers out of the three times that they doubled Rashard in the game, and Locke wondered why they didn't double him more.
Also on Locke's plate is the fact that the Sonics just aren't forcing turnovers like they used to, and Locke attributed part of this to the Sonics having to lean on Allen and Lewis for 40 minutes a night, and that those two are getting tired and therefore expending a much greater portion of their energy on offense.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Rashard Lewis 24 pts/4 reb/2 blk (9-21 FG, 2-4 3pt, 4-6 free throws), Ron Murray 23 pts/5 reb/2 ast (8-14 FG, 3-5 3pt, 4-6 free throws), Luke Ridnour 13 pts/2 reb/5 ast (2-9 FG, 1-3 3pt, 8-9 free throws), Reggie Evans 1 pt/15 reb/2 ast
Antonio Daniels 14 pts/2 reb/2 ast (5-10 FG, 4-4 free throws, 28 min), Danny Fortson 13 pts/4 reb (3-4 FG, 7-8 free throws, 20 min), Vlad Radmanovic 12 pts/5 reb (4-7 FG, 2-3 3pt, 27 min), Nick Collison 6 pts/5 reb (20 min)
Jerome James Watch
0 pts/1 reb/1 blk (0-2 FG, 3 fouls, 12 min, ejected 3rd qtr)
shot 33-for-71 (46.5%) from the field, shot 8-for-17 (47.1%) from downtown, shot 32-for-39 (82.1%) from the line, outrebounded Sacto 43-42, bench outscored Sacto bench 45-26 (outrebounded them 16-11)
The Sonics were a lot less three-happy, which is somewhat ironic since Sacramento attempted 30 three-balls, which is a season high for them. They did that in this game without Stojakovic.
Hooray for the Sonics' interior defense, or whoever it was that was busy holding Brad Miller to 4 points. Incredible job.
Though I'm disappointed with Luke Ridnour's shooting numbers from the floor, the fact that he was able to get to the free-throw line tonight enabled him to be a positive contributor to the offense.
Overall, thank goodness the Sonics have three days off and then a should-be-easy game against Charlotte on Saturday. Hopefully Ray gets well in time, and the rest of the Sonics can recharge their batteries.
I have to admit, I wasn't too high on this game for the Sonics after the egg they laid against the Spurs and the heavy hearts and adversity they'd been dealt, but somehow they managed to snap their four-game losing streak at Arco Arena on the tail end of a back-to-back set. Way to go, guys.
I asked Jinkies whether the Sonics could parlay this win into something bigger. His reply: "No MEOWING way! Get out of my town."
My, that's a bit discouraging.