Wednesday, February 16, 2005
(final content posted ~10:09p)
Here's what I have for tonight. Danny Fortson is back east attending to his ill grandmother, and is not in the arena tonight. Also, this one is also being carried nationally by ESPN, as well as locally by FSNNW. Of course, given the choice of Calabro and anybody, I'm choosing Calabro.
Those taste loss commercials have me in stitches. "Can you get taste loss from a foosball table?" "How you do fight taste loss?" "...with antibiotics?"
9:54 James banker low first basket TIE 4-4. 9:13 James turnaround fader SEA 6-4. 8:43 Evans hits two free throws! SEA 8-4. 6:48 Lewis spins by Richardson, lays up SEA 12-10. 5:28 James with another low basket GS 15-14. 3:36 Lewis alleyoop slam from Allen SEA 20-18 off Vladimir forced turnover. 3:12 Allen is on, SEA 22-18. 2:42 Allen double-pump in key SEA 24-20. 2:13 off a turnover, Daniels eventual three SEA 27-20. 1:32 Allen pull-up on the break SEA 29-20. 0:01 Daniels fouled, hits both SEA 31-26.
After one quarter -- Seattle 31, Golden State 26
It started out a bit sluggish, and the Sonic defense has been shoddy at times under the basket. However, the defense also got a couple of key turnovers and breaks going the other way, which enabled them to get the lead and build on it a little bit. Though Jerome James did get abused a couple times down low on defense, he also has six points after one quarter. He's been having some heightened offensive production as of late. It's a bit encouraging.
However, the first quarter was offensively all about Ray Allen, who has 5-for-6 from the floor and 2-for-2 at the line for 12 first-quarter points.
10:14 Ridnour and Collison connect on the pick-and-roll for slam SEA 35-30. 9:29 Murray to the rack, hits two free throws SEA 37-30. 6:45 Allen back in the game GS 38-37. 6:24 Lewis three SEA 40-38. 5:51 Allen free low, hit with a pass, lays up SEA 42-38. 5:22 Allen pull-up three SEA 45-38. 3:51 Radmanovic lefty hook SEA 51-41. 2:39 Collison taps in a Lewis miss SEA 54-42. 1:09 Lewis low jumphook SEA 56-46. 0:17.3 Allen is good from midrange SEA 58-50.
At halftime -- Seattle 58, Golden State 52
Well, the Sonics aren't getting the job defensively, they've been beaten under the basket for a few rebounds and some easy Warrior points, and they just allowed a 52-point half. Luckily Ray Allen is on fire and the team shot the crap out of the ball. Shooting 58% at halftime is always a good thing, but giving up 51% is not. Ray Allen has 22 (8-for-11) at half and Rashard Lewis has 11, with other Sonics scoring in scattered fashion. Nick Collison's favorite foul tonight is the illegal screen, basically a shout-out to Fortson, if you ask me. Collison has six rebounds to lead all players. As quickly as the Sonics have been able to build a lead at times, they've been able to see it dwindle via bad defense or some inopportune turnovers.
8:31 James falls away low GS 65-64, snaps 11-0 GS run. 6:35 Allen midrange, first basket of quarter GS 69-66. 6:16 Daniels inopportune four-point play (miss) for fisher GS 72-66. 5:56 Daniels drives, fouled, hits two GS 72-68. 4:35 Warriors outhustling the Sonics, timeout GS 76-68. 3:21 Lewis jumphook low GS 78-72. 2:38 Lewis layup GS 81-74. 2:05 Daniels drives to rack, fouled, hits one GS 84-75. 0:53.8 Collison behind defense, lays in, GS 86-77. 0:35.4 Richardson fouled for a four-point play (miss), GS 89-77.
After three quarters -- Golden State 89, Seattle 79
I don't think I can stress how much that quarter disgusted me, and I don't care how many threes Golden State nailed (7-for-9). Obviously, they have to find some other scoring option than Ray Allen, and he had one basket in the quarter. The defense is consistently a step slow, and they're getting beaten by an extra pass down low on many occasions.
Ugh. Just ugh. At least this game isn't nationally televised or anything. Oh wait...
10:58 Collison rebound, basket and foul underneath, misses GS 90-81, Murray rebound, Allen hits GS 90-83. 9:53 Murray baseline layup beats shot clock GS 90-85. 8:42 Daniels midrange GS 92-87. 7:04 Murray crazy freakin' reverse layup and foul, hits GS 95-92. 6:36 Murray drives, misses, Collison tips in GS 97-94, answered by wide-open Fisher three. 4:59 Daniels steals, Murray lays in on break GS 102-96. 4:20 Collison follows up Murray miss GS 102-98. 3:26 Daniels on break, drives to rack, hard foul, hits both GS 104-100. 1:48 Murray layup in lane and foul, hits GS 106-103. 1:31 Sonics beaten by the baseline pass low, end of game. 0:44.6 Daniels three GS 110-106.
Final -- Golden State 117, SuperSonics 110
Okay, I've said this way too many times this season...
Dude, where's the defense?
I was ticked off after the loss to Dallas, and some people were just chalking up the squandering of an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter to having three games in four days against stiff competition. The Warriors are the team that lost at home to Dallas last night. The Sonics hadn't played since Sunday.
It wasn't lack of rest that did the Sonics in tonight. It's being freakin' lazy on defense. I don't think it's too much to ask your players to put a hand in the face of his shooter a little more often. The Sonics haven't regained the form of what got them to this point. Furthermore, they haven't regained the form of what got them through to the end of December. They didn't play defense in January, and they've played a little better defense and have taken care of the ball better in February. At least they did until these last two games before the break. Though secondary, they've lost a little glitz from the free-throw line lately too, which I think is somewhat due to Danny Fortson getting less minutes (before the suspension).
It's too bad that a great night down the stretch for Ron Murray and a double-double night out of Nick Collison had to be wasted tonight. It's also too bad that Reggie Evans was a complete nonfactor as well. The streak of double-digit rebound games for Evans officially ended tonight.
Seriously, though. If I was expecting bench scoring tonight, I was expecting it from Daniels and Radmanovic, and not Collison and Murray. Speaking of which, where the hell has Vladimir Radmanovic been the last few games?
On an odd note, Jerome James had another productive night on the offensive end, cracking double digits. Someone check his gym bags!
Seriously, though. The last loss sucked, but this one sucks worse. Just disgusting.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 26 pts/5 reb/7 ast (10-18 FG, 1-4 3pt, 5-7 free throws), Rashard Lewis 17 pts/6 reb (6-13 FG, 1-4 3pt, 4-6 free throws), Reggie Evans 4 pts/4 reb/2 ast (0-1 FG, 4-4 free throws, 13 min), Luke Ridnour 2 pts/2 reb/3 ast/2 stl (1-4 FG, 0-1 3pt, 24 min)
Antonio Daniels 19 pts/4 reb/4 ast/2 stl (4-9 FG, 2-4 3pt, 9-10 free throws, 33 min), Nick Collison 16 pts/12 reb/2 stl/3 blk (7-9 FG, 2-5 free throws, 31 min), Ron Murray 14 pts/4 reb (5-14 FG, 4-4 free throws), Vladimir Radmanovic 2 pts (1-4 FG)
Jerome James Watch
10 pts/3 reb/1 blk (5-7 FG, 1 turnover, 2 fouls, 14 min)
shot 39-for-79 (49.4%) from the field, shot 4-for-16 (25%) from downtown, shot 28-for-36 (77.8%) from the line (Warriors shot only 14-for-22 from the line), outrebounded Golden State 41-40, bench outscored Warrior bench 51-30 (outrebounded them 21-17), led by 12 at one point in the game, were beat 18-9 on the fast break
I'd remarked about Evans and Radmanovic being nonexistent tonight, but I forgot all about Luke Ridnour. Through the boxscore alone, nothing really shines through as to why Ridnour and James were nonfactors, just that they didn't play a lot of minutes. Of course, it's weird to see Evans not stay in the game and collect rebounds like he has lately, but it's possible to think that maybe McMillan thought Collison was matching up a lot better, and likewise with Daniels and even Murray over Ridnour. Ridnour only shot 1-for-4, but maybe it wasn't the percentage that kept him off the floor, but rather that he wasn't taking or creating more shots.
As for the Warriors, big credit to them for holding Ray Allen to 4 second-half points. Great job to them. They held Ray Allen effectively out of the second half, started raining down threes, and the Sonics couldn't pick up enough of the slack.
I would have liked to have seen Radmanovic stick a couple of threes off the bench, but he's been a tiny bit cold lately. His last real Vlad-type game was either the game five days ago at Phoenix (13 points, 3-for-5 from downtown), which is kind of a stretch, or the game against New Orleans on the 8th (18 points, 4-for-6 from long). The games inbetween those, though, were putrid. I'm referring to the 3-for-10 game against Dallas (10 points) and the 1-for-8 game against Sacramento (9 points, mostly off free-throws).
[***Add 2:19a -- I'll back off a bit on Vladimir. He had a sore wrist coming into the game.]
Still, as we sit here at the All-Star break, I just hope the Sonics regain their defensive tenacity and their edge down low in the second half. More importantly, I hope Danny Fortson once again becomes a big part of what happens down low, because he really hasn't been that for the last month or so. Seriously. I know Nick Collison is taking some of Fortson's minutes, and I like how he's developing, but I need to see the Sonics pounding the ball down low to Danny Fortson late in the fourth quarter when they need points, and having him put up a shot and get hacked. I might be really hung up on this strategy, but I fail to see how it wouldn't work, aside from Fortson getting ejected or picking up six fouls in 30 seconds.
All in all, I just hope the guys come back more hungry after the break. They've had a good first 50 games, but the work is far from done.
Now play some defense again! It's what got you doing so well in the first place!
I asked Jinkies what he'll do to try to get the Sonics to play defense again. His reply: "This is good question. I don't mind the dogs, actually. I feel very sorry for them. God is cruel to make a creature so stupid and slow."