Friday, March 11, 2005
Guess what? The Sonics just lost three straight for the first time this year! All three of the losses are home losses! They've lost five of their last seven home games! They're 6-6 in their last 12 home games!
Okay, the fact that it wasn't on TV in Seattle made it rare this year in itself, but the game unfolded in an even weirder fashion. This was even after Danny Fortson was held out of the game, which was apparently GM Rick Sund's call.
The Sonics started out sort of slow in the first quarter, and then reeled off a 14-4 run to get a five-point lead. They nailed 4 of 7 three-pointers in the first quarter, though they went the entire quarter without an offensive rebound.
In the second quarter, the Bulls started out by going on a 13-3 tear, later to be discussed. There was one sequence where the Bulls turned the ball over twice and the Sonics failed to convert on the break; Antonio Daniels blew a layup on which he may have twisted an ankle, and then Luke Ridnour double-dribbled on the way down the floor. The only reason the Bulls didn't pull away was because they turn the ball over like they usually do.
At half, the Bulls were up 56-53. Ray Allen was shooting 2-for-10 at the half, and Vladimir Radmanovic was shooting 1-for-4. The Sonics went 0-for-4 from downtown in the second quarter.
About the Bulls' 13-3 run turned out to be a 10-3 run. Ben Gordon put up a long-range shot which was called a two by the sideline official and a three by the baseline official. Also, Tyson Chandler was shooting a free throw after hitting a basket, and they apparently gave him two more points. Or something like that. From what the broadcast crew was told, NBA rules say that if there is a scoring discrepancy, play can go on until the start of the fourth quarter, which is when the scoring discrepancy absolutely has to be rectified. The scoring people were working on the discrepancy during the second quarter as soon as they noticed it, and a couple of the sportswriters came to the scorers' table and wondered where the extra three points came from. In any event, the game went on with the incorrect score, and it more than likely affected how both teams approached certain situations, but more importantly for the Sonics, the crowd was a lot less into it.
Granted, the Sonics went cold in the third quarter, which didn't give the fans much to cheer about. The Sonics were also preoccupied with the officiating all night, the Bulls were more than likely pushing the envelope and getting away with everything as possible, but it sure was ticking off Ray Allen to the point where he missed a key free throw. Allen was 2-for-13 through three quarters of play.
Before the start of the fourth quarter, the score was changed from Bulls 78-69 to Bulls 75-69.
In the fourth quarter, the Sonics got back to tie on multiple occasions, but never got the lead (CORRECTION Sat ~2:53a -- they actually did lead with 20.7 seconds left after a Collison basket made it 98-97). Ben Gordon scored 14 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, like he usually does. As I mentioned, Ray Allen missed one of his two free throws with 4:53 remaining; hitting both would have gotten the Sonics to within two instead of just three, and the Sonics would have led instead of just tied after Vladimir Radmanovic's three off an inbound, which was the next scoring play in the game. That three happened after Luke Ridnour stole the ball after a Chicago offensive rebound. Unfortunately, Reggie Evans went to the floor in a heap on that play, the Sonics called a 20, and Evans had something wrong with his left leg. I don't know if Evans ended up playing any more in the game, but one could say that hurt the Sonics' chances for offensive boards down the stretch, and they really could have used those extra boards to get extra shots. Hopefully those extra shots weren't going to go to Ray Allen.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Rashard Lewis 27 pts/5 reb (10-20 FG, 3-6 3pt, 4-6 free throws, 29 min), Ray Allen 17 pts/7 reb (5 turnovers, 4-16 FG, 2-6 3pt, 7-9 free throws, 32 min), Luke Ridnour 14 pts/3 reb/7 ast/4 stl (5-9 FG, 1-3 3pt, 3-3 free throws, 29 min), Reggie Evans 9 pts/11 reb (3-5 FG, 3-4 free throws, 25 min)
Antonio Daniels 10 pts (3-8 FG, 1-2 3pt, 3-4 free throws, 19 min), Vladimir Radmanovic 9 pts/3 reb (4-10 FG, 1-5 3pt, 13 min), Nick Collison 9 pts/4 reb (4-7 FG, 8 min), Vitaly Potapenko 0 pts/0 reb (1 min)
Jerome James Watch
2 pts/4 reb/1 ast/1 stl/4 blk (1-4 FG, 2 turnovers, 24 min)
shot 34-for-79 (43%) from the field, shot 8-for-22 (36.4%) from downtown, shot 21-for-27 (77.8%) from the line, were outrebounded 43-37 (had 10 offensive boards, Chicago had 15), turned the ball over 16 times
I'm still waiting for the day that Vladimir Radmanovic warms up again. He nailed only the one three-pointer, though it tied the game late in the fourth quarter. Of course, the height advantage that Radmanovic usually has on everyone that's guarding him wasn't there tonight because 7'1" Tyson Chandler was on him like a blanket tonight.
As for Ray Allen, he had nowhere to go all night. Chicago's one of the better defensive teams in the NBA for a reason. There was a point in the game where they would double up on Ray and cover everyone else except for Reggie Evans. Reggie Evans is not a shooter, as we know, and he's definitely not a free-throw shooter.
There's also some questions on the postgame show as to whether the games are getting called differently, and David Locke seems to think that the officials are calling it differently since the All-Star break, as if someone told the refs to call the games like they would in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Sonics' point guards and other ballhandlers, they've been able to take advantage of the rule changes (which I think include strict calling of hand-checking above the free-throw line) early in the season, and tonight they get Ray Allen getting hammered left and right and getting miffed.
The post-Jordan hangover in Chicago just might officially be over.
I guess I would have asked Jinkies if the Sonics will ever have a home winning streak of more than three games for the rest of the year. I could have asked him about the offensive boards too.