Tuesday, March 22, 2005
The Sonics did get Jerome James back for this one. Ray Allen sat, as did Danny Fortson. Vladimir Radmanovic, well, he's out for a long time.
The Sonics got down by six points (12-6) early in the first quarter before pulling back ahead on a Rashard Lewis three at 16-15. It was a seesaw affair for the rest of the quarter, which ended with the Sonics up 27-25.
In the second quarter, a clear path foul put Antonio Daniels on the line, where he capped a 16-4 Sonic run. This gave the Sonics a 43-31 lead with 5:28 remaining in the half. Then the Sonics missed their last five field goal attempts, or seven of eight going into halftime. Thus, the Bucks used that and the fact that they'd put their rebounding shoes on to get within seven points at halftime, 50-43.
Craig Ehlo always brings up on Sonic broadcasts that many games are won or lost depending on how you play right after halftime. How did the Sonics do? They blew the seven-point lead and missed five straight shots. If you're still counting, that was 10 straight jumpers overall and 12 of 13. Ouch. Worse yet, the Bucks tied the game at 50 with 9:06 left in the quarter. The Bucks never got the lead, but the Sonics never led by more than six points in the quarter. As a curious note, Jerome James drew his fifth foul with 3:40 to go in the quarter. Not a lot of minutes for him after that, as is predictable. Though it was an off night for Ron Murray, he accounted for one-sixth of the Sonics' third-quarter offense with his buzzer-beating heave from the capital "A" in KeyArena just inside the halfcourt line. The Sonics only scored 18 points in the quarter after having decent offensive outputs of 27 and 23 in the first two quarters. The Sonics led 68-63 after the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the teams traded baskets before Erick Strickland tied it for the Bucks at 73 with 7:54 left in the game. The Bucks were called for illegal defensive three-seconds, Luke Ridnour hit the free throw, and the Sonics had the lead from that point forward. Vitaly hit a layup on that possession, and Antonio Daniels hit a three on the following possession to get the Sonics a six-point lead at 79-73. A couple of Desmond Mason free throws and a Calvin Booth dunk cut the lead to two before Luke Ridnour hit a wide-open Vitaly down low with a nice pass and an easy layup. Calvin Booth free throws got the Bucks back to within two at 81-79 before Rashard Lewis threw the dagger, a three-pointer with 2:29 to go to all but ice it at 84-79. To pour salt on the wound, Antonio Daniels stuck a jumper on the next possession for an 86-79 lead with just over a minute left, when the parade to the free-throw line started. The final was 92-84.
Yes, the Sonics avenged that horrible loss in the Bradley Center where they couldn't shoot for beans, and they did it tonight without Ray Allen. Of course, Ron Murray did a decent impersonation of a Ray Allen off night.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Rashard Lewis 29 pts/5 reb/4 ast/4 stl (11-23 FG, 7-11 3pt, 40 min), Luke Ridnour 21 pts/2 reb/9 ast (6-12 FG, 9-9 free throws, 33 min), Ron Murray 13 pts/3 reb/3 ast (5-16 FG, 2-7 3pt, 1-2 free throws, 39 min), Reggie Evans 2 pts/6 reb/3 ast (1-1 FG, 19 min)
Antonio Daniels 10 pts/4 reb/4 ast (4-14 FG, 1-3 3pt, 30 min), Vitaly Potapenko 8 pts/4 reb (4-9 FG, 23 min), Nick Collison 5 pts/7 reb (1-2 FG, 3-4 free throws, 28 min), Damien Wilkins 0 pts/2 reb (0-1 FG, 10 min)
Jerome James Watch
4 pts/3 reb/2 blk/1 stl (2-6 FG, 1 turnover, 18 min)
shot 34-for-84 (40.5%) from the field, shot 10-for-22 (45.5%) from downtown, shot 14-for-16 (87.5%) from the line, were outrebounded 46-36, bench outscored Milwaukee bench 23-17 (outrebounded them 17-15)
Two career highs on the night: Luke Ridnour's 21 points were a career high, as were the seven three-pointers nailed by Rashard Lewis.
After their free-throw output in the Laker game, I was a bit disappointed to see Murray and Vitaly not get to the line more often, especially because it seems that Vitaly's got a pretty good stroke from the line. By the same token, hooray for Luke Ridnour, as he was perfect in nine attempts from the line, spurring his career-high night. Luke is almost flawless at the free-throw line, and I think sometimes he should do some Daniels impersonations and take the ball to the rack and get fouled. If you're going to go perfect from the line, why not?
Just a toast to Ridnour for an all-around great game. Great scoring, great from the line, and great at creating, with the nine assists. I guess the Ray Allen pep talk from a few days ago must have helped or something. That or maybe they shot something into his feet to dull the pain/fatigue.
You know, I hope when this entire season is all good and done, Rashard Lewis just does nothing for about two weeks. Does a guy with knee tendinitis just go out and drop 29 points and play 40 minutes? I keep waiting for this guy's minutes to get cut a little bit to rest as we go into the playoffs, but like Coach McMillan says, there are just too many points in the game where they need him in there to produce. Of course, it's a good thing he nailed the 7 of 11 from downtown, because he was 4-for-12 from inside the arc. Weird thing that he didn't get to the line at all tonight, but I'll let that slide due to all those other points he scored.
Well, Reggie Evans dishing out three assists was a little unusual, I have to admit. I thought his minutes might have been a bit low, too, but they were obviously throwing Vitaly in there as well, and it appears they did that when they wanted scoring. With Jerome James, well, he picked up too many fouls. It's a half-blessing, though, as he gets a bit of game action, but not too much. Let him get his feet wet again, but rest the quad bruise a bit too. That said, he had some crummy shot selection at times in this one.
It's been three games without Radmanovic, and it's been three wins. Granted, you could argue that for almost a month before that, we were getting a player wearing Radmanovic's uniform that was less than Radmanovic anyway (wrist), but still, it's still encouraging to know the Sonics won't fold up shop with him on the shelf.
I would have asked Jinkies if he'd seen any wiener dogs on his road trips to Milwaukee. I should note that when I first typed in "wiener," it ended up being spelled like it is in Todd Weiner's name.