Thursday, March 17, 2005


Welcome to Thursday.

***NOTE -- posted at 7:56a, to keep Jeremy's running comment thread post at the top

There's about an hour remaining until the brackets lock as I type this (which I usually type last), but if you haven't joined our insanely fun bracket group thingie, then knock yourself out and have some fun...
Group: sports and bremertonians
Password: bremertonians

Brackets lock at 9:20a.

For today's random...a couple last inches of the post to Lindsey Cardinale, my pick from the auditions to take it all, she of the "sultry, sexy" (Paula's words) voice who was an endless victim of song choice, week in and week out. Much to my chagrin was the contestant that got spared, who in my opinion is infinitely less talented and...dresses in a special manner, I guess is the nicest way I can put it. For God's sake, she did Streisand songs. Of course, one could argue that the show would be somewhat boring without a contestant to despise.

To the post! I guess my juiciest contribution in this one is where I try to wrap my brain around Ray Allen's postgame comments from last night; kind of like thinking out loud, except with a keyboard.

The Mariners' pitching is starting to not suck in Cactus League ball. More importantly, Gil Meche has cut out the slider and is going with 4-seam/curve/change, while Bobby Madritsch is putting in the slider more. Madritsch was great to watch last year with just the two pitches, and now I can't wait to see how he does with three pitches, because last fall I thought he'd desperately need a third pitch to get through a full season of major-league ball. If he nails it, hoo boy. Also, Joel Pineiro threw a bullpen and feels good, though he still worries about the shoulder a bit while he's throwing.

Yes, there were cuts. No, none of them involved Willie Bloomquist (foiled again!). Clint Nageotte, Shin-Soo Choo, Justin Leone, and Michael Morse are Tacoma-bound, Rene Rivera and Yuniesky Betancourt are San Antonio-bound, Wladimir Balentien is going to Inland Empire (remember the old San Bernardino Spirit?), and Jon Huber and Mickey Lopez are now in the minor-league camp.

The Mariners "Horse (bleep)" clubhouse manager has more Super Bowl rings than the Mariners franchise has World Series trophies. That article also made me hugnry because it's the wee hours of the morning and now I'm craving waffles.

Finally, the Weekly Zumsteg laments Mike Hargrove's insistence on taking 12 pitchers north with the club. Hopefully that extra arm in the pen isn't as much of a lead balloon as Luis Ugueto circa 2002. There is also some stuff about the cut players in that piece.

The Seahawks have signed Denver cornerback Kelly Herndon to an offer sheet of five years, $15M, with a $4.5M signing bonus. The Broncos have seven days to match. If unmatched, the Seahawks are off the hook for draft compensation because Herndon was never drafted. Oh yeah, Heath Evans is now a Dolphin.

Also, Dallas and Seattle will be facing off on Monday Night Football once again...in the preseason. Also, Tampa Bay wide receiver Joe Jurevicius was visiting, are awaiting Baltimore linebacker Ed Hartwell's decision, and have spoken with Houston linebacker Jay Foreman's agent.

While I agree with Steve Kelley that the Seahawks' doings in the free-agent period have been incredibly mind-numbing, a lot of that could change if the Seahawks manage to reel in Ed Hartwell. I'm not sure if Kelley is saying that the Seahawks need a running back before next season because Alexander will leave, but I'm not so convinced he will. Who's got the money to sign him long-term without having the rest of the team suck, and would it be worth the draft picks too?

The Miah Davis Update
The Roanoke Dazzle hosts Fayetteville Saturday and Sunday.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels face Oakland (Michigan) in the East 1/16 game, tomorrow at 11:50a. The winner gets the winner of the Minnesota/Iowa State 8/9 game. That second-round game will be Sunday at 11:30a.

Can we just go and play the games now? Nine articles on one team in one night is a lot for a man to read. Still, this provides some great halftime and commercial break reading material. People reading the final link will probably be reading about what they're doing at the time: being "sick."

The Huskies face the Montana Grizzlies in the West 1/16 game, today at noon. This game's winner will face the winner of the Pacific/Pitt 8/9 game. The second-round game will be at 12:20p on Saturday.

Gonzaga gets love too. Gonzaga fans can't be too ticked off over the Times' coverage of the Zags, because they're still getting decent-sized articles. Sure they'll never match the output of the more local team, but having Bud Withers fly down to Tucson to cover you bears something in itself.

Gonzaga faces Winthrop in the West 3/14 game, today at 4:25p. The winner will get whoever wins the Texas Tech/UCLA game. The second-round game will be Saturday at 10:10a.

For my take on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if this is the only post on the page.


Ray Allen after the Chicago game two nights ago (P-I quote)...
"It's satisfying that the other guys can step up and make a play. But it is very frustrating when I run down the floor and I don't touch the ball. A guy is sitting there on me. He doesn't leave me, and I'm just an extra body on the floor. If a guy is guarding me tough or not leaving me, that doesn't mean you have to put me over in the corner and isolate me. You still have to find ways to exploit that defense."

Ray Allen after last night's game (Times excerpt)...
"No, I'm not getting enough looks. You've got to talk to the coach."

Predictably, you won't find the latter quote on the postgame quote sheet at SuperSonics.com.

For the record, Allen went 6-for-11 last night, with 11 attempts being his second-lowest amount of shots in a single game for the season. The last time he shot over 50% in a game was the home loss against Houston on the 8th where he went 13-for-25 and scored 32. Frankly, I'm looking at Ray's game log right now, and it appears that since the break, he's done great against all the West teams and crappy against Milwaukee (all the Sonics were crap that day though), Detroit, New York, and Chicago. Chicago and Detroit are two great defensive teams, and the Sonics did just play them a combined four times in a seven-game stretch. In those games, Ray went 3-for-17, 4-for-16, 5-for-18, and 6-for-11 (last night). If you want to throw in the New York game, he was 7-for-20 in that one.

There are probably a billion ways I could go with this. I'd already mentioned opposing defenses, which are making adjustments. Last night in particular, though, the Sonics didn't have Danny Fortson setting solid screens, and they really could have used him. Without Fortson last night, I'm not really keen on anyone else other than maybe Reggie Evans and maybe Jerome James once in a while setting a pick, and they're not going to be rock-hard shake-your-foundation-type picks like Fortson sets. They sure as hell beat the crap out of Radmanovic's screens. With Evans, there's no way you're going to roll him to the basket and expect anything, though we've learned lately you can do that with James once in a while and Collison whenever you want.

I guess one other reason I can think of as to why Ray Allen might have been doing crappy and not getting looks in these games is because Vladimir Radmanovic's wrist has been jacked since before the All-Star break. I can't say that other teams are leaving Radmanovic open or anything, but since his production has been way down lately, I would have to think that opposing teams might shy away a tiny bit and then stick more heavily on Allen if he's on the floor at the same time. If Radmanovic is ice-cold, and if they deny Ray Allen the ball or make him pass out, then we see things like Radmanovic bricking 7 of 8 three-pointers a night or whatever. Radmanovic has hit a couple of clutch shots lately, but he hasn't been red-hot at any point in quite a while.

What's my conclusion here? I'm not sure. But Ray Allen's gripes kind of coincide with games against the Bulls and Pistons, production deficiencies on the part of Vladimir Radmanovic, and missed games by and/or a maybe-not-full-speed-yet Danny Fortson. I think Ray Allen could use more solid screens and another option to draw defenders away from him. I'm just pulling stuff out of thin air, but oh well.

About the game itself, the Sonics had a great second quarter, a third quarter where the Pistons scored a ton of points, and then hung close in the fourth quarter before blowing it with about two minutes left.

In the injury report, Danny Fortson is day-to-day with a bruised left foot and may or may not play tomorrow against Orlando. Luke Ridnour's decreased minutes the last couple games can probably be attributed to back spasms.

Tomorrow vs. Orlando (7:30p, FSNNW)
Sunday at Lakers (6:30p, FSNNW)
Tuesday vs. Milwaukee (7p, FSNNW)

Everett beat Seattle 4-2. Seattle has lost all five times in Everett this season. This one was sort of punctuated at the end by James McEwan of Seattle "charg[ing] the goaltender from the blue line," acording to Everett coach Kevin Constantine. McEwan is awaiting league review of the tape; he is facing an intent-to-injure penalty (a "match penalty" in the NHL). The top performer of the night, though, was Everett's Karel Hromas, who netted the hat trick. Bretton Stamler scored with just under six minutes remaining in the first period, and Everett didn't draw first blood until Hromas got the ball rolling on the power play with under three minutes remaining in the middle frame. Denis Tolpeko got the T-Birds another lead early in the third, but what happened then was a Kyle Annesley goal sandwich, with Hromas goals as the meat. Annesley's winner came with 2:06 to go, and Hromas' capper was put in with around 25 ticks remaining in the game. Alex Leavitt also assisted on the first three Everett goals. Shots were only 22-20 for Seattle. Bryan Bridges stopped 17 for Seattle, and Mike Wall stopped 20 for Everett.

Portland shut out Spokane 4-0. Portland is 8-0-1 in their last nine road games, and haven't lost a road game in nearly two months. The entire first half of the game was 23 seconds from going scoreless, but Brandon Dubinsky tallied to finally dent the scoreboard in the second period. Though they wouldn't know it at that moment, it was the winner. Sasha Golin scored 3/4 of the way through the second. The Winter Hawks added another pair in the final frame, with Colton Sceviour and Dubinsky (again) scoring early in the period to account for the final score. Kyle Bailey and Cody McLeod had two assists each for Portland. Shots were 30-28 for Portland. Blake Grenier pitched his second shutout in three games, stopping all 28 in this one.

Tonight: Manitoba at Milwaukee
Tomorrow: Seattle at Portland, Tri-City at Everett, Vancouver at Kelowna, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 3 of Cascade Cup finals)
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Tri-City, Kelowna at Vancouver, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 4 of Cascade Cup finals)
Sunday (end of WHL regular season): Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Houston at Manitoba, Queen City at Puget Sound (Game 5 of Cascade Cup finals, if necessary)

Have a jolly fun Thursday, everybody.

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