Wednesday, March 16, 2005
In the first quarter, the two teams pretty much traded baskets until the Pistons went on a 17-6 run to end the quarter. The Sonics were beat 10-0 on second chance points, 16-6 in the paint, and 15-6 on the boards. They also had zero offensive rebounds to Detroit's eight. The Pistons led 27-19 after one.
Then the Sonics awoke in the second quarter. They went on a 12-0 run to start the quarter, and Detroit didn't score until the 7:52 mark. Two Sonic baskets later, the run turned into a 17-2 run. The Sonics weren't whistled for a foul in the game until the 6:16 mark of the second quarter. The Sonics led 47-42 at halftime, thanks in part to going to a zone defense for the second night in a row, and they looked like they might have had some control over this game. Assistant coach Jack Sikma was on the broadcast at halftime crediting the big run to the zone and to the fact that the Sonics had a fast lineup off the bench during that time to turn Detroit's missed shots into fastbreak points.
The bench scored 22 points (Detroit had 2 bench points) of the Sonics' 47 points in the first half. Antonio Daniels had 8, Vladimir Radmanovic had 7, Ron Murray had 4 (some productive minutes), and Nick Collison had 3. As for the starters, Rashard Lewis had 14, and no other starter had over 4. Ray Allen had 1 point, and shot 0-for-5. The Sonics got pounded on the boards in the first half 25-15. Radmanovic had a very productive first few minutes of the second quarter, and ended up leading the team with 5 boards. Reggie Evans and Jerome James combined for two rebounds. The Sonics had 11 assists at the half, which might be somewhat surprising. Radmanovic had 4 of the assists, Luke Ridnour had 3, Ron Murray had 2.
The camera spotted Kid Rock courtside right before the second half, and Kevin Calabro had a hilarious line, though I can't remember exactly how it started. It was something like, if Kid Rock wasn't watching basketball/making music, "he'd be installing faucets somewhere." Hilarious stuff. It was just as good as when Calabro reads off the plugs for next year's season tickets. He'll mention that operators are standing by and then toss in something like how they're fluent in six languages or something, followed by some more ad-libbing before the ball gets inbounded.
The Sonics then proceeded to score 25 points in the third quarter. That's always a good thing. Twenty-five-point quarters are usually solid offensive quarters. They're also thoroughly negated when you allow the other team to score 36 points in the same quarter. There were a billion lead changes in the quarter, and the Sonics had five-point leads on multiple occasions. The score was pretty even until the Pistons ended the quarter on a 7-0 run for a 78-72 lead. For the record, Reggie Evans grabbed his only offensive rebound of the night at the 3:51 mark and laid it back in for two of his four points.
I'll touch on the fourth quarter after the peek.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Rashard Lewis 26 pts/5 reb/4 ast/3 stl (10-21 FG, 3-7 3pt, 3-3 free throws, 44 min), Ray Allen 20 pts/6 reb/3 ast (6-11 FG, 3-5 3pt, 5-6 free throws, 28 min), Luke Ridnour 5 pts/5 ast (3 turnovers, 18 min), Reggie Evans 4 pts/4 reb (3 turnovers, 24 min)
Antonio Daniels 10 pts/4 reb/4 ast (5-10 FG, 0-2 3pt, 31 min), Vladimir Radmanovic 9 pts/6 reb/2 ast (4-12 FG, 1-6 3pt, 30 min), Ron Murray 6 pts/4 ast (3-6 FG, 19 min), Nick Collison 3 pts/2 blk (1-3 FG, 5 fouls, 17 min)
Jerome James Watch
12 pts/4 reb/2 blk (6-11 FG, 29 min)
***shot 39-for-79 (49.4%) from the field, shot 8-for-23 (34.8%) from downtown, shot 9-for-11 (81.8%) from the line, were outrebounded 47-31, surrendered 16 offensive rebounds (got only 4), turned the ball over 13 times for 17 Detroit points, bench outscored Detroit bench 28-4 (were outrebounded 14-11)
Well, this is one of the few games where I feel afterward that the Sonics hung close the whole way and just plain lost in the end. Still, there's a few things that stick out like sore thumbs (in a bad way) in the boxscore. Reggie Evans was a complete nonfactor tonight, and he couldn't shake Ben Wallace down low for any rebounds. Luke Ridnour had very limited minutes, he turned the ball over three times, and I think all three of his fouls were dumb fouls. The Sonics shot crappy from beyond the arc again, and the Sonics in a way will be trying to win with a hand tied behind their back if they don't start hitting those three-pointers again. Directly related to that is Vladimir Radmanovic, who hit one of six threes tonight, though he did hit a few more shots inside the arc.
There's two things that stick out the most, though. One is that the Sonics only got to the free throw line 11 times, and hit 9. Antonio Daniels wasn't too bad tonight, and I know the Detroit defense is tough, but how does he not get to the free-throw line even once? Secondly, the Sonics were blasted on the boards 47-31. That's probably the death-knell stat of the night. Well, that and the fact that they only haf 4 offensive boards and gave away 16, which is just brutal. A lot of Seattle's game and flow depends on offensive boards, and not having those and not having the threes falling is a double-whammy, really. The Sonics could have used Danny Fortson tonight, sure, but he had the ankle injury. It also didn't help that Nick Collison piled up fouls Fortson-style in the fourth quarter to the point where James had to come back into the game. Speaking of James, he once again looked like a world-beater against Detroit, which I have fun seeing. He had a pretty solid night offensively, but like the rest of the Sonics, he didn't rebound much. Let's face it, when Ray Allen and Vladimir Radmanovic are leading this team in rebounds, that is never a good thing.
Really, though, the Sonics let this game get away with two plays in the fourth quarter. The first was with the Sonics up 90-87 and had the ball with 2:23 left. Antonio Daniels was bringing the ball upcourt and was going to wait to cross the time line before calling timeout. He slipped up or something, and Rasheed Wallace snatched the ball and dunked it. Rather than the chance to go up five, the Sonics were now up by only one. To drive the nail into the coffin, Vladimir Radmanovic had a pass intercepted on the very next Sonic possession, and the Pistons converted. That was basically the end of the game, which sucks because it was well within reach for the Sonics. The two teams had traded baskets back and forth in the quarter up to the two turnovers by Daniels and Radmanovic.
Yeah, it would have been a good road win. This wasn't one of those losses where the Sonics shot 35% and got blitzed or anything like that. Rather, it was a game where they hung close even though two staples of their game -- offensive boards and three-point shooting -- were either way off or nonexistent. The Sonics hung tough and lost it on a couple plays late when it could be said that they had no business even being in this ballgame. Still, it's weird how quarter-to-quarter this team is when it comes to opposing points. Tonight, it's 27 (ugh), 15 (yay!), 36 (vomit), and 24 (decent). This team just needs to play consistent defense for 48 minutes. Yeah, I know that's easier said than done.
I guess I'm really surprised that out of the two games this year in which these two teams squared off, the Sonics won the game with the lower scoring (197 points in this one, 182 in the game on the 4th). I'm really not sure what to think of this.
I would have asked Jinkies if he's riding the Mocs to the Sweet 16 in his bracket.