Sunday, March 06, 2005
(final content posted ~9:19p)
Here's what I have for tonight's game...
10:59 Evans layup side basket TIE 2-2. 9:48 Lewis midrange PHX 6-4. 9:21 Evans hits one PHX 6-5. 9:10 Nash loses ball, Ridnour keys break, Evans finishes with slam SEA 7-6. 7:12 Stoudemire technical, Allen hits PHX 11-8. 6:52 Lewis fouled on dunk attempt, Nash mad, Lewis hits both PHX 11-10. 6:29 Allen three, answered by Nash PHX 14-13. 6:02 James works Stoudemire in key, answered by Amare PHX 16-15. 5:22 Ridnour hits both PHX 18-17. 4:45 Lewis follows miss PHX 21-19. 3:17 Allen soft layup PHX 23-21. 1:28 Fortson follows Radmanovic miss PHX 27-23, answered by Marion putback. 0:26.9 Allen off inbound PHX 29-26. 0:00.2 Allen drills on line after losing dribble PHX 32-28.
After one quarter -- Phoenix 32, Seattle 28
Definitely the polar opposite of the game on Friday. The Suns don't run plays, they just run. They follow their shots too. Basically, I think if the Sonics can't slow the Suns down, what they have to do is make sure they only get one shot, and make sure none of the other Suns are streaking to the basket for a tip-in. As for the Suns, they were blisteringly hot in the first quarter, shooting 14-for-24 (58%). Both teams grabbed 10 boards apiece. The Sonics shot 10-for-24 (41%).
10:53 Radmanovic drive and dunk PHX 32-30. 10:21 Radmanovic midrange, Fortson falls, hits PHX 34-33. 9:53 Daniels midrange SEA 35-34 after Ridnour offensive board, 7-0 run. 6:05 Ridnour midrange PHX 41-37. 5:38 Lewis driving layup PHX 41-39. 5:10 Lewis baseline jam (nice Ridnour pass) TIE 41-41, followed by Phoenix 10-0 run. 2:43 James slam PHX 51-43. 2:17 Lewis three PHX 53-46, answered by Barbosa layup. 1:52 James turnaround slam PHX 55-48, Phoenix timeout. 1:02 Lewis transition slam (Daniels) PHX 55-50.
After one half -- Phoenix 60, Seattle 50
Mike Gastineau put it best on the broadcast. The Sonics are getting the crap pounded out of them on points in the paint, and they're 2-for-13 from three-point range. The Sonics may have 50 points at half, but that still spells trouble.
To me, it seems the refs are letting a LOT of contact go uncalled go down low in the paint when the Sonics are driving to the basket. It's ridiculous. It looks like the freakin' Duke/UNC game from earlier today.
Of course, it didn't help that Nick Collison had his nose broken. The Sonics seemed to be able to slow the Suns down a bit when Fortson was on the floor, but once he got his second foula nd went to the bench, the Suns were right back at it again.
Basically, the Sonics have to seal off the paint as well as possible, and not leave anyone open behind the arc. Easier said than done, sure, but that's what has to happen. They also have to hurry the hell down the floor on defense after they make a shot. The Suns can score within four seconds or less if the defense doesn't get back in time. Just one baseball pass, and maybe the defense is drawn to the guy with the ball, then one short pass, and an easy layup.
Sure, we saw the Sonics play at the Pistons' tempo on Friday and manage to win, but I'm really not too keen on the thought of the Sonics winning at a tempo that favors the Suns. Especially if the threes aren't falling. I wish the Sonics could impose their tempo on this game, but I don't think that'll be happening tonight.
Rashard Lewis shot 6-for-11 and had 15 at the half. Ray Allen had 10 on 4-for-10 shooting. Jerome James scored 6. Lewis led in boards with 5, and Reggie Evans had 4. The team led in boards 23-22, and shot 20-for-50 (40%). The Suns shot 26-for-48 (50%) and nailed 5 of 9 threes.
11:18 Allen baseline layup PHX 60-52. 10:46 James turnaround baseline PHX 60-54. 10:03 James low PHX 62-56. 9:25 Allen midrange PHX 62-58. 8:53 Allen three after James screen PHX 62-61, 11-2 SEA run, Sonics doing nice job slowing Phoenix down, Allen appearing to heat up. 8:28 Ridnour steals, lays in SEA 63-62, answered quickly. 7:57 James low again TIE 65-65. 7:46 Ridnour nailed for 4th foul. 7:37 James stuffs Stoudemire. 7:22 Lewis top key off James screen SEA 67-65. 5:51 Ridnour 5th foul (stupid foul) on a Stoudemire breakaway dunk, PHX 72-67. 4:25 Daniels one-hander in key PHX 75-69, snaps 10-0 PHX run. 3:53 Allen baseline jam PHX 75-71. 2:42 Lewis turnaround baseline PHX 77-73. 2:31 Sonics over limit, Suns not called for foul yet in quarter. 0:41 Daniels draws charge. 0:33.2 Daniels fouled, hits both PHX 82-77.
After three quarters -- Phoenix 82, Seattle 77
Again, Gastineau put it best. The Sonics have probably led for about 8 seconds in this game. They'll get up by one basket, and then Phoenix will drill a shot within 5 seconds to get the lead back. It's insane, and the Sonics have got to get some stops.
10:13 PHX 90-77. 8:53 Daniels drives, fouled, hits both PHX 92-79. 8:01 McMillan tossed, and he should be pissed, because I sure as hell am. 7:30 Daniels furious driving slam PHX 94-81. 6:28 Allen midrange PHX 97-83. 5:59 allen follows own miss PHX 97-85. 4:23 Daniels drives, lays up, fouled, PHX 99-90. 3:58 Johnson reaches in on Allen, hits both PHX 99-92, 11-2 run. 3:03 Stoudemire fouled, finishes sequence where Sonics missed alleyoop and a three. 2:48 Lewis fouled, basket doesn't count, hits PHX 101-94. 1:26 Lewis lays in, is fouled, hits PHX 105-97. 0:30.1 meaningless Ridnour basket PHX 109-99.
Final -- Phoenix 110, Seattle 99
I don't want to totally echo Mike Gastineau once again, but I think he sums it up well again. He said he didn't think the Sonics ever had the lead and the ball in this game.
How do I sum up this game in two words? Abso-f%&$ing-lutely infuriating.
On Friday, Ray Allen shot horribly, Vladimir Radmanovic was nonexistent, and the pace of the game favored the Pistons. Tonight, Ray Allen shot well, but the other two things I mentioned also happened, just with the Suns' pace instead.
What did in the Sonics? Many things. I'll try not to mention the refs, because Nate McMillan doesn't just get ejected for the hell of it, but if I get to that, it'll be later.
The Suns absolutely could not miss, it seemed like. In the first half, they absolutely had their way in the paint on offense. If they missed a layup, someone would come streaking to the basket and tip the ball in. The Sonics couldn't seal off the paint in the first half, and that let the game get out of hand, though the Sonics had some mini-runs in the second half.
About the Suns not missing, they shot 45% and shot 58% from downtown. But when a great shooting team like that gets 12 offensive rebounds, they get more shots. That is never good.
Still, the Sonics' unofficial x-factor was a nonfactor tonight, since they shot 11% from downtown (even worse than Friday, amazingly) and Vladimir Radmanovic was brutal.
I won't say the refs had it in for the Sonics in this game, but there were about a billion plays under the basket that have gotten whistles in every other game the Sonics have played this year except for the one tonight. Daniels managed to get to the line somehow on the Sonics' last run in the fourth quarter, but it was nowhere near enough.
The Sonics didn't turn the ball over too much, but on more than one occasion it was Ridnour making a too-soft pass that was intercepted and run the other way for a basket. I'm also not sure what the hell he was doing trying to contest Amare Stoudemire's dunk on the one play.
I'm not sure how having regular time out of Nick Collison would have helped the Sonics in this game, but having more fouls to mess with couldn't have hurt.
I had a feeling the Sonics would have that great win against Detroit and come up with this stinker (maybe not quite to this degree) tonight, but ugh...usually I'm afraid of the Sonics winning against a great team or two and coming up flat against a team they should beat. Tonight, it's just a letdown after a great win.
The Sonics never controlled the pace of this game, and though the Sonics usually get beat on points in the paint every night, they had to find a way to not let the Suns in the paint so much in this one, and they never did.
Still, though. There were stretches where the Sonics were missing shots or couldn't finish, and when you combine that with not getting to the free-throw line enough, and going 0-for-forever from downtown, you're not going to win.
They lost to a good team, sure, but I'm ticked.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 27 pts/6 reb/2 ast (10-22 FG, 2-8 3pt, 5-5 free throws, 39 min), Rashard Lewis 26 pts/11 reb/2 stl (10-21 FG, 1-4 3pt, 5-5 free throws, 41 min), Luke Ridnour 8 pts/3 reb/4 ast/3 stl (3-10 FG, 0-5 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 4 turnovers, 28 min), Reggie Evans 5 pts/9 reb (2-3 FG, 1-2 free throws, 21 min)
Antonio Daniels 14 pts/5 reb/2 ast (4-9 FG, 0-2 3pt, 6-9 free throws, 31 min), Vladimir Radmanovic 4 pts/2 reb/2 ast (2-13 FG, 0-8 3pt, 31 min), Danny Fortson 3 pts/6 reb (1-4 FG, 17 min), Nick Collison 0 pts/0 reb (1 foul, 5 min, broken nose)
Jerome James Watch
12 pts/3 reb/1 ast/2 blk (6-9 FG, 5 fouls, 27 min)
shot 38-for-91 (41.8%) from the field, shot 3-for-27 (11.1%) from downtown, shot 20-for-24 (83.3%) from the line, outrebounded the Suns 45-41, bench was outscored 23-21 (outrebounded 15-13)
David Locke's geekdom that I'm listening to right now says that the Sonics had three catch-and-shoot points (one basket) all night. This is usually a facet of their game that's clicking when they're winning.
I'll probably simmer down in a bit (as opposed to "nah") over this loss, but I was just ticked off the whole time watching it. By the same token, the Sonics don't put up 27 threes if they're not good looks. You could argue that the Sonics should have stopped going to the dry well from downtown, but are you going to tell Vladimir Radmanovic to stop shooting? Are you going to stop telling Luke Ridnour to stop shooting threes? He's got a not-too-bad perimeter jumper.
But yeah, the one sore thumb in the boxscore is the three-point shooting, namely the combined 0-for-13 by Ridnour and Radmanovic. Though the boxscore won't tell you, the foul trouble for Luke Ridnour and Danny Fortson didn't help either.
Dammit, I'm spent. The win on Friday was great, I saw the Huskies blow it yesterday, saw Marvin Williams hit the gamer for North Carolina earlier today, and I just saw this letdown of a game for the Sonics tonight. I could try to squeeze more out of the boxscore, but I don't know if it'll bring up anything fresh.
Except for one thing...the Sonics wasted Rashard Lewis' double-double tonight. 26 and 11. Nice job, Rashard.
I guess I would have asked Jinkies if the Sonics ever stand a chance in hell of slowing down Phoenix's tempo if they ever meet in the playoffs.