Wednesday, February 23, 2005
The Sonics got their groove early, and the Hornets were left in the dust. The Sonics had many reasons to come out sluggish, since it was the talk end of a back-to-back set and they didn't get into New Orleans until about 4:30am after having their plane diverted to Baton Rouge due to blankets of fog in New Orleans. They took a bus from Baton Rouge to New Orleans after touching down.
Still, Rashard Lewis had 20 points at halftime and was 6-for-7 at that point. He wasn't missing much of anything. Ray Allen was also doing Ray Allen-type things. Luke Ridnour and Antonio Daniels had a great night distributing the ball.
The Sonics absolutely were on fire from beyond the arc, even with Vladimir Radmanovic still not appearing to shake off the wrist injury.
Thanks to the fact that the Hornets are terrible, and that the Sonics stepped on the gas and never let up, Ron Murray was able to get some prolonged minutes, and Robert Swift even got to play the last half of the fourth quarter.
It also helped that the Sonics killed the Hornets on the boards. Reggie Evans had another double-digit night on the glass.
The Sonics were able to weather Jerome James tweaking his knee (or something) in the first quarter, as he sat out the rest of the half. Originally, the trainers were going to have him sit out the rest of the game, but he came back to play after halftime.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Rashard Lewis 26 pts/2 reb (8-11 FG, 6-8 3pt, 4-4 free throws), Ray Allen 25 pts/5 reb/2 stl (9-20 FG, 5-11 3pt, 2-2 free throws), Luke Ridnour 14 pts/2 reb/9 ast (4-9 FG, 2-4 3pt, 4-5 free throws), Reggie Evans 2 pts/14 reb (0-2 FG, 2-2 free throws)
Ron Murray 13 pts/2 reb/1 stl (5-8 FG, 2-3 3pt, 1-2 free throws, 24 min), Antonio Daniels 11 pts/5 reb/8 ast/3 stl (3-9 FG, 1-4 3pt, 4-6 free throws), Nick Collison 7 pts/5 reb/2 blk (1-1 FG, 5-5 free throws), Vladimir Radmanovic 5 pts/4 reb/3 ast (1-7 FG, 0-1 3pt, 3-4 free throws), Robert Swift 0 pts/0 reb/1 stl/1 blk (0-1 FG, 6 min)
Jerome James Watch
0 pts/3 reb/1 ast (0-2 FG, 1 foul, 2 turnovers, 13 min)
shot 31-for-70 (44.3%) from the field, shot 16-for-31 (51.6%) from downtown, shot 25-for-30 (83.3%) from the line, outrebounded New Orleans 42-30, got beat 18-12 on the break and 36-14 in the paint, had 17 second-chance points (Hornets 7), bench was outscored 38-36 (benches tied 18-18 in rebounds)
It was fun to see the Sonics shoot well and finally be able to run their offense with some consistency again. Though it was an all-out blowout, it was great to see the Sonics not kick this one away, because we saw that happen against a not-great Golden State team before the break.
You can sum this game up in a few ways, but I think it all boils down to two things. One, the Sonics weren't fazed by their travel difficulties the night before, which surely added up to more adversity, combining with this game being the tail end of a back-to-back. Two, the Hornets are terrrrrrible, as Bill Walton would say. You might need more than two hands to count the number of layups they blew tonight. JR Smith was the only Hornet that looked decent tonight. I guess Dan Dickau did too, to an extent. Dickau and George Lynch played the most minutes (29 each), but the rest of the minutes are scattered fairly evenly among the starting lineup and five guys off the bench. They played all twelve guys tonight. In a related story, Vitaly Potapenko wasn't even able to get into this game. That's gotta suck.
The Hornets actually drew 12771 to the game, though it sure didn't seem like there were that many in the building when I was watching the game on television. I know what'd bring more fans into the arena -- taking out yellow as a color in the uniform/logo scheme. I've said it before, but they shouldn't have added yellow after the move, and it has no place with the tealish and purple colors.
I asked Jinkies if he thinks the Utah Jazz should be renamed, enabling the New Orleans team to rightfully be named the Jazz. His reply: "Here's a quarter, call someone who cares. (I learned this phrase from a country music song performed by Travis Tritt. I am liking the honky tonk.)"
Another fresh reply. I'm crestfallen.