Wednesday, April 06, 2005
You know, this is tough. If you just looked at the score alone, and see that the Sonics lost by 21 points, you would immediately think, "man, they need Rashard Lewis back immediately." They do, but just getting Rashard Lewis back isn't the difference between giving up around 97 points as opposed to 122.
The Sonics didn't lose this one in the first quarter. It ended with the Kings up 27-24, and the Sonics never trailed by more than five. Damien Wilkins scored 8 points in the quarter, including the final four Sonic points. Luke Ridnour chipped in with 4 as well. Meanwhile, Mike Bibby had 11 in the quarter for the Kings.
Both teams would put the scoring speed into hyperdrive for the second quarter. The only problem was that the Sonics came in trailing by three and came out trailing by eight to once again trail at half. It's been a disturbing trend the Sonics have taken up lately, this whole "down at half" thing. The Kings used a 21-8 run to turn a lead of three into a lead of 16. That, my friends, is a HUGE hole, even against a Sacramento team without Brad Miller. An 11-4 Sonic run cut the lead to 9 at 52-43, and eventually the Sonics were able to get it to within 6 before Kenny Thomas hit two free throws before halftime to make it 65-57. Ray Allen had 12 points in the quarter, and Darius Songaila of the Kings had 9 points in the quarter.
Seattle hit two straight baskets after halftime to close the gap to four points. Maybe they had some new spark after halftime? Kenny Thomas answered with a dunk. Ray Allen drained a jumper on the other end, but it was answered by a Peja Stojakovic three, the first of six three-pointers the Kings nailed in the third quarter. In one sequence, Ray Allen and Jerome James sank jumpers, and Sacramento answered both of those shots with three-pointers. The weird thing was, there were no really crazy runs by the Kings, they were just nailing their shots a bit more often that the Sonics were, and they hit their threes too.
Then Sacramento opened the fourth quarter with three straight baskets, and Coach McMillan called time out. Right about here, my lineup would have been Robert Swift, Damien Wilkins, Vitaly Potapenko, Nick Collison, and Jerome James. Screw it. The way Sacramento was shooting, there was no way in hell the Sonics were going to make up a 21-point deficit in a little over 10 minutes. The Kings' lead eventually reached 26 when Kenny Thomas dunked with 2:24 to go to make it 121-95.
Ouch. Just ouch.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 23 pts/6 reb/4 ast (8-18 FG, 2-5 3pt, 5-6 free throws, 41 minutes), Damien Wilkins 20 pts/5 reb (9-17 FG, 2-6 3pt, 40 min), Luke Ridnour 14 pts/4 reb/7 ast (5-12 FG, 0-2 3pt, 4-4 free throws, 38 min), Reggie Evans 11 pts/12 reb/2 stl (4-8 FG, 3-6 free throws, 28 min)
Danny Fortson 8 pts/3 reb (2-4 FG, 4-4 free throws, 15 min), Nick Collison 4 pts/4 reb (2-2 FG, 14 min), Ron Murray 3 pts/3 stl (1-9 FG, 0-2 3pt, 1-2 free throws, 23 min), Antonio Daniels 2 pts (1-2 FG, 10 min), Vitaly Potapenko 2 pts (1-1 FG, 4 min), Robert Swift 1 pt (1-2 free throws, 4 min)
Jerome James Watch
13 pts/2 reb/1 blk (6-9 FG, 1-2 free throws, 1 turnover, 1 foul, 23 min)
shot 39-for-82 (47.6%) from the field, shot 4-for-16 (25%) from downtown, shot 19-for-26 (73.1%) from the line, beat Sacramento 52-46 in the paint, were beaten 14-9 on the break, outrebounded Sacramento 37-35 (16 offensive), turned the ball over 12 times, bench was outscored 33-20 (and outrebounded 10-8)
Daniels' minutes are low because he (quoted in the Times story) felt a "pop" in his left knee before the game. He will get an MRI.
One could see how much points the Sonics gave up in this game quarter to quarter (27 38 32 35) and assume they just didn't play defense. While sometimes that is the case with the Sonics, what I didn't put in this post yet was that the Kings shot 47-for-80 (58.8%) from the field and drained 11 of 19 (57.9%) three-point attempts. That is abso-freakin'-lutely nuts. Sometimes you can give teams a ton of wide-open shots and they won't them at anywhere near a clip that the Kings were hitting in this game. You can look through the game logs too, this wasn't a 58.8% with a bunch of layups and dunks, this was a rainstorm of jumpshots. The Kings' accuracy was just blistering.
As for the individual players themselves, Damien Wilkins bounced back from his off game at Golden State, but Nick Collison had another off game. Danny Fortson topped bench scoring but didn't grab too many boards (got to the line a couple times though). Luke Ridnour dished out 7 assists, so that's good, and the 14 points were too. Solid game from Luke. Jerome James and Reggie Evans combined for 24 points, which isn't something I expect too often. Oddly, I'll bring it up again, but it seems that the Sonics lose every time they have somebody get a double-double. Evans had 11 and 12 tonight. And oh yeah, Ron Murray was terrible from the field, but the 3 steals at least brought some value.
Man, does this team need Rashard Lewis back and playing.
I would have asked Jinkies if he thinks there's a conspiracy involving the identical colors for both the Los Angeles and Sacramento Kings.