Sunday, March 20, 2005
Danny Fortson and Jerome James were still nursing their injuries and did not fly to Los Angeles with the team.
The first quarter was pretty fast-paced, and it was punctuated by the Sonics with an 11-3 run that got them a 21-16 lead with 2:22 left in the quarter. The quarter ended with the Sonics up 27-23.
Of course, one problem about the first quarter of play was the fact that Ray Allen went down late in the quarter in the backcourt as play carried to the other end of the court. He was examined and was said to have a sprained ankle. Certainly the absence of yet another player wasn't what the Sonics needed.
In the second quarter, the Sonics hit the first three baskets and carried a run over from the first quarter that totalled out to 10-0. Vitaly Potapenko laid some lumber on the jaw of Kobe Bryant, though Bryant stayed in and proved in later action that he wasn't fazed by it. The Lakers had a fast break and Rashard Lewis put a royal stuff on a Chucky Atkins layup. There was another play in the game where Ridnour altered a shot on the fastbreak, which the Lakers missed, and then it was cashed in on the Sonics' end with a three. I didn't know the Sonics' transition defense had that in them.
The Sonics' skeleton crew led 46-41 at halftime. They shot 45% from the field, 2-for-6 from downtown, and 12-for-17 (70%) from the line. Lewis had 16 points. Daniels, Murray, and Allen had six each. Collison and Potapenko had four each. Luke Ridnour and Damien Wilkins had two each. Collison and Lewis had six rebounds each. Murray, Wilkins, Evans, and Allen had two boards each.
For the opposition, Caron Butler was the one doing most of the damange in the first half with 17, while Kobe Bryant had 10, and had picked up three fouls fairly quickly.
The Sonic lead hovered around or just under double digits for the third quarter of play. Much of this was thanks to the fact that Ron Murray went nuts and scored 12 points in the quarter. As a matter of fact, Rashard Lewis had a double-double after three quarters of play.
Then Kobe Bryant hit a few threes in the fourth quarter and the Lakers were back in it. Just inside the final minute of play with a 94-90 lead, Nick Collison fouled Brian Cook, putting the Sonics over the limit. Cook made the first free throw, but missed the second. Luckily Ron Murray was able to get the rebound, and he was fouled. He only hit one of his free throws, though, but the Sonics still led 95-91. The Lakers scored on the other end and were down only 95-93 when Daniels drove to the basket and dished a no-look pass to Collison, who was shoved as he put the ball up, but it was still good. The Sonics led 98-93 with 28.2 seconds left. Kobe launched a three on the next possession and missed, but Caron Butler rebounded it, put it back, and was fouled. However, Butler bricked the free throw, but Kobe got the rebound, went straight to beyond the arc, and rifled another one that luckily missed. There was a scramble as the ball went out of bounds, and it was ruled Sonic ball though replays may have indicated otherwise. From there, it was a parade to the free-throw line for the Sonics. The Lakers 98th, 99th, and 100th points were due to a meaningless three at the final buzzer.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Rashard Lewis 27 pts/11 reb/2 ast/4 blk (9-15 FG, 4-7 3pt, 5-6 free throws, 43 min), Luke Ridnour 11 pts/2 reb/7 ast (4-14 FG, 1-4 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 34 min), Nick Collison 7 pts/5 reb (3-3 FG, 22 min), Ray Allen 6 pts/3 ast (2-8 FG, 1-3 3pt, 10 min), Reggie Evans 0 pts/6 reb (0-1 FG, 24 min)
Ron Murray 25 pts/5 reb (8-17 FG, 0-3 3pt, 9-13 free throws, 35 min), Antonio Daniels 13 pts/4 ast (5-8 FG, 3-3 free throws, 29 min), Vitaly Potapenko 11 pts/4 reb (2-4 FG, 7-7 free throws, 28 min), Damien Wilkins 2 pts/3 reb (1-2 FG, 0-2 free throws, 15 min)
Jerome James Watch
still out with a right quad contusion or hip bruise, depending on the source
shot 34-for-72 (47.2%) from the field, shot 6-for-18 (33.3%) from downtown, shot 28-for-35% (80%) from the line, outrebounded Lakers 38-37, turned ball over 11 times (forced 10), bench outscored Laker bench 51-17 (outrebounded them 13-10)
The Sonics knew beforehand that Jerome James and Danny Fortson would be out for this game. Knowing that Vladimir Radmanovic will be gone for a long time, just the fact that James and Fortson was going to make it pretty hard for this team.
When Ray Allen fell to the floor late in the first quarter, that would have made it even harder. Later in the first half, the broadcast crew passed along that apparently he had sprained an ankle. Without James and Fortson, the Sonics had lost a lot of size, fouls, a couple blocks, and a few rebounds. Without Ray Allen, the Sonics lose a ton of points to which they're normally accustomed.
Rashard Lewis getting 27? Okay, that's not so surprising. Eleven rebounds to go with the points? That's impressive. This was Rashard's 7th double-double of the year, which leads the team. The four blocks were a very nice supplement as well.
Rashard stepped up with the absence of Allen. What Ron Murray and Vitaly Potapenko did, though, was great. I thought those two would get a few points, sure, but to combine for 36 (both had season highs)? No, I can't say I expected that. The fact that these two guys can come in and do this is just a testament to how hard they've been working for the season even when they weren't getting minutes and weren't in the rotation. What made this even nicer was how many times they got to the free-throw line. Murray missed a couple early before hitting nine of his final eleven, and Vitaly was perfect in seven tries, looking like Fortson out there at the line. Making up for having a bunch of guys get injured and be put on the shelf really shouldn't be this easy. Since Allen went down early, it greatly skewed the bench scoring, what with all the minutes that Murray got.
With this win, the Sonics are 3-0 against the Lakers this season, which means they've won the season series against the Lakers. That's always a good thing. Jolly good, even.
I would have asked Jinkies if Peja has ever played a practical joke on him and put dog food in his bowl.