Tuesday, March 08, 2005
Here's what I have for tonight's game. Admittedly, it's a little unbalanced, just like the Sonics ended up.
Sonics score first basket at 10:09, Evans fouled and one on Yao, breaking 6-0 Houston run to start game, followed by Lewis three to tie (6-0 Seattle run). Lewis hits another three on the next possession, off a turnover. Evans hook 8:38, SEA 11-6. 7:39 Allen three, SEA 16-10, hit six straight shots. 6:21 Ridnour/Lewis alleyoop SEA 18-10. 5:55 Allen wide-open drive and layup SEA 20-10 (fastbreak weave). 5:02 Ridnour loooong pass to Lewis for slam SEA 22-10. 4:21 Allen three SEA 25-12. 3:48 another Allen three, Sonics perfect from three SEA 28-12. 2:23 Jerome James draws second foul on Yao. 1:58 Allen beats the clock midrange SEA 31-18. 0:00.2 Allen lays up SEA 33-21, HOU ends quarter on 9-5 run.
After one quarter -- Seattle 33, Houston 21
The Sonics drilled 5 of 7 threes in the first quarter, had an 11-0 run to answer Houston's 6-0 run to start the game, and were able to capitalize on a couple turnovers. Of course, shooting 61% really helps. Ray Allen had 15 points in the quarter, Rashard Lewis had 10, Reggie Evans had 7 (with four rebounds), and Luke Ridnour had 8 assists in the quarter.
9:28 Ridnour wide-open midrange baseline SEA 37-30. 8:53 Fortson hits two SEA 39-32. 7:19 Lewis three off inbound SEA 42-34. 7:02 Radmanovic nearly loses ball on fastbreak, lays in SEA 44-34. 5:43 Lewis three off turnover SEA 47-34. 4:52 Radmanovic to Allen driving to basket, SEA 49-39. 4:21 Another Lewis three (his fifth) SEA 52-42. 2:28 Collison gets pass in key, lays in SEA 54-44. 1:57 Lewis long, but two SEA 56-44. 1:19 Daniels takes Yao's knee to quad. 0:15.2 Ridnour corner three SEA 59-50.
At half -- Seattle 59, Houston 50
Rashard Lewis was on fire, shooting 8-for-10 and having 20 points at halftime. Ray Allen shot 7-for-13 and had 17. Reggie Evans led the team with 4 boards. The Sonics were getting beat 16-15 on the glass. Thanks to Rashard's insane first quarter, Luke Ridnour was able to get the bulk of his 11 first-half assists. Vitaly Potapenko got put into the rotation because Nick Collison had three fouls on him late in the second quarter. Danny Fortson's two fouls were also in pretty quick succession. Jerome James hasn't been shooting as well tonight, as I remember two airballs on jumphooks.
3:52 Sonics blow lead, HOU 64-63.
After three -- Houston 72, Seattle 65
Seven turnovers in the third quarter for the Sonics, and they scored SIX freakin' points.
9:37 Ridnour on Mutombo crazy reverse HOU 72-70. 6:50 Allen three HOU 78-74. 5:26 Radmanovic three HOU 80-77. 4:53 Sonics force 24-sec violation. 4:36 Ridnour all the way to the glass HOU 80-79. 3:54 Allen midrange left HOU 82-81. 3:26 Houston three-second violation. 3:11 Radmanovic forces Yao foul, Rockets over limit, Vlad hits SEA 83-82. 1:40 Lewis hits two HOU 86-85. 1:27 James called for foul, Yao hits both HOU 88-85. 0:59.8 Lewis THREE off Allen offensive rebound, TIE 88-88. 0:35.8 Ridnour hits both HOU 91-90. 0:26.3 Yao plows James, bullsh**, hits layup HOU 93-90. 0:16.7 Ridnour layup HOU 93-92. 0:14.5 Barry waits on inbound, McGrady streaks to basket, lays in, fouled, bricks HOU 95-92. 0:04.5 foulfest. 0:00.1 meaningless Allen three.
Final -- Houston 97, Seattle 95
You know, I almost don't care that the Sonics nrealy got this one back into the win column in the fourth quarter. Just don't turn the ball over seven times in the third quarter alone, and for the love of God, don't score only six points. Good gracious. No, you didn't deserve to win that game. You can't half-ass it against a team like that, and if you look at the other three quarters (33, 26, and 30 points), you sure as hell can't 3/4-ass it against a team like Houston. For how great the win at Houston was for the Sonics, I'm equally disappointed by this loss. Especially for not just the offensive output of the other three quarters, but how they controlled the game for most of the first half. Disappointing.
Also, I'll have to investigate this more when I realize I have even less of a life than I do now, but it seems to me that the Sonics seem to squander a decent percentage of double-doubles. Just sayin'.
I'm not going to lie to you, I didn't see the third quarter. I'd now like to thank American Idol for diverting me away from the Sonics' franchise-worst single-quarter offensive output. I'm also hoping that Lindsey Cardinale can squeeze through to the next round, but I'm feeling less and less sure about that.
I'm not reeling into freak-out mode with this team, even though they've lost two straight home games to playoff teams (and they did lead by 16 at one point against Houston), but the high hopes I had for them after the great win against Detroit have fallen back to earth.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 32 pts/7 reb/4 ast (13-25 FG, 5-8 3pt, 1-2 free throws), Rashard Lewis 26 pts/3 reb (9-18 FG, 6-11 3pt, 2-2 free throws), Luke Ridnour 14 pts/2 reb/12 ast (5-12 FG, 1-2 3pt, 3-3 free throws), Reggie Evans 7 pts/8 reb (3-3 FG)
Vladimir Radmanovic 9 pts/5 reb/2 ast/2 stl (3-6 FG, 1-3 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 26 min), Nick Collison 2 pts/3 reb (1-3 FG, 15 min), Danny Fortson 2 pts/1 reb (0-1 FG, 11 min), Antonio Daniels 0 pts/2 reb/2 ast (17 min), Vitaly Potapenko 0 pts/0 reb (1 min)
Jerome James Watch
3 pts/4 reb/2 blk/1 stl (1-5 FG, 1-2 free throws, five fouls, 27 min)
shot 35-for-74 (47.3%) from the field, shot 13-for-25 (52%) from downtown, shot 12-for-14 (85.7%) from the line, matched Houston 35-35 on the boards, turned ball over 17 times, bench outscored Houston bench 13-12 (outboarded them 11-7)
What showed up? The three-pointer showed up again for the Sonics, and they shot very well from long distance. What didn't show up? Other than the entire team in the fourth quarter, the Sonics got next to nothing from their bench. Radmanovic did hit a key three, sure, but it's never a good night when Antonio Daniels goes scoreless, charley horse on thigh from Yao's knee right before halftime notwithstanding. As a result of the injury, Daniels saw less minutes, and Allen, Ridnour, and Lewis both were over the 40-minute mark.
As for the warm streak that Jerome James was on, it definitely didn't persist tonight. I guess my only beef with Nate McMillan tonight might be that Vitaly Potapenko didn't see much time, when he did so well in Houston on Yao the last time these two teams met. With James, and actually anyone else out there, it seemed Yao was able to get deep enough into the paint to where all he had to do was turnaround and throw in or bank a hook shot whenever he got the ball. The Rockets would get into a set, and when Yao's within 8 feet of the basket and he gets the ball, there's pretty much nothing you can do, and not even the 7'1" James can do anything about it, other than maybe not letting Yao get that position, but that's never easy to do.
Also, Rashard Lewis wasn't able to get quite as many key stops in on Tracy McGrady in this one. At least not enough to win.
Speaking of defensive stops, the Sonics did get quite a few in that fourth quarter to get within shouting distance of a win. They forced the Rockets into a 24-second violation, and forced them into a three-second violation as well.
I guess one thing that ticks me off now that I look at it is this -- Jerome James got whistled with a minute and a half left on a foul close to the basket while guarding Yao, and the Sonics were down one before Yao hit both free throws. The Sonics were down by one a minute later when Yao was close to the basket one more time, and he bowled James over (no whistle for a charge) and laid it in uncontested. I can see Tracy McGrady getting that no-call, but not Yao. Come on.
I guess my main point of all of this is still that if you're going to win in the NBA, 99% of the time, the opposing team is going to force you to play four quarters of passable basketball to win. SIX POINTS, people.
What would I have asked Jinkies? I would have asked him if he could ask Vladimir Radmanovic when the freakin' hell he's going to be consistent again, and when the wrist is going to heal up. I'm not sure how much longer the Sonics can afford him to have one good game and a couple of okay-to-mediocre games. Heal, Radman, heal!