Saturday, February 26, 2005
Okay, I didn't see the game. The following is heavily KJR-aided, namely through the likes of David Locke, Dick Fain, and Elise Woodward.
The Sonics' defense kept them in this one, and the defense really has been solid since the break -- they've allowed 85, 85, and 88 points in their three games since the All-Star break. From the beginning of 2005 to the break, the Sonics had allowed 100 points in 12 of their 22 games. The crazy quarters where opponents score 28 points and higher appear to have gone away for now. The Timberwolves managed quarters of 21, 23, 25, and 19 in this game. The 19 points in the fourth quarter was especially important.
The Sonics started out in this one shooting a horrible 19-for-65. The Sonics blew 10 of 11 layups in the first half. To heck with not being able to shoot, not being able to hit layups is brutal. The Sonics were down by 14 haflway through the third quarter, and were down 65-54 with under two minutes remaining in the third. From there, they closed the quarter on a 10-4 run to get within five at 69-64. Rashard Lewis was the hot hand, scoring 12 in the third quarter.
Then came the fourth quarter. The Sonics were finally able to take the lead about halfway through when Ray Allen stuck the go-ahead three to put the Sonics up 80-77. In the log, there's a whole lot of Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic in bold type. It appears that Vladimir's wrist is getting better, and Ray Allen is Ray Allen. He had 18 in the fourth quarter.
Still, this win and the Houston wins are great wins after the break. Granted, they had some trouble, and dug themselves some holes, but they came out on top in the end. Somehow. Some way.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 32 pts/4 reb/6 ast/3 stl (10-22 FG, 4-6 3pt, 8-9 free throws), Rashard Lewis 16 pts/7 reb (4-11 FG, 1-4 3pt, 7-10 free throws), Luke Ridnour 1 pt/1 reb/5 ast/2 stl (0-7 FG, 25 min), Reggie Evans 0 pts/5 reb (0-2 FG, 15 min)
Vladimir Radmanovic 17 pts/7 reb/3 ast (6-12 FG, 3-6 3pt, 2-2 free throws), Vitaly Potapenko 10 pts/8 reb (4-6 FG, 2-2 free throws, 24 min), Antonio Daniels 6 pts/3 reb/4 ast (2-8 FG, 24 min), Nick Collison 4 pts/1 reb (2-4 FG, 10 min), Ron Murray 4 pts (1-5 FG, 0-2 3pt, 8 min)
Jerome James Watch
8 pts/4 reb (4-7 FG, 4 fouls, 12 min)
shot 33-for-84 (39.3%) from the field, shot 9-for-21 (42.9%) from downtown, shot 23-for-28 (82.1%) from the line, were outrebounded 41-40, forced 19 turnovers (had only 7 themselves), bench outscored Minnesota bench 41-32 (outrebounded them 19-11)
First off, it was a brutal shooting night for the point guards, though more so for Luke Ridnour. Of course, with that layup stat from earlier in the post, I'm guessing at least a couple of those were from Antonio Daniels driving to the basket.
Combine the off-shooting night with the fact that Reggie Evans only had 5 boards, and the fact that Danny Fortson wasn't available -- by conventional wisdom, the Sonics really shouldn't have won this game. A 19-for-65 start? That's just beyond horrid; however, going on a 14-for-19 tear to end the game is beyond insane/crazy.
Before the deadline, David Locke was arguing the point of keeping players like Ron Murray and Vladimir Radmanovic. Specifically, he did this after the game at Golden State where Ron Murray put the clamps down on Jason Richardson in the fourth quarter, helping the Sonics pull out that game. Tonight, Vitaly Potapenko stepped up and scored 10 and pulled down 8 boards. No Fortson? Only five boards from Evans? Just plug and play, apparently. Locke would argue that it's nights like this -- where the 10th or 11th guy off the bench can help you win a game -- that are the reason why you don't trade guys like Murray and Potapenko. You have a couple guys faltering or out, and you just plug these guys in and they produce. It's beautiful, dammit.
I have something sad to report. After using his guidance in 22 games, it appears that Jinkies has run out of fresh replies. I'd first sought Jinkies' wisdom after the game against the Wizards on the 4th of January, which was two games after the big road win in Miami (one game after the Orlando loss). Rather than try to replace Jinkies, let's just mark this on the calendar and keep using the replies. I'll just make sure the reply is never a repeat of the game immediately before it.
I asked Jinkies whether he likes the Isaiah Rider-era T-Wolves logo with the tame wolf or the decidedly angry wolf in the current logo. His reply: "Was that supposed to be funny to me? It was not. Take the hike."