Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Yeah, there wasn't anything for the Sonics to play for going into this one. The division title had been sewn up, and the Sonics getting homecourt in the first round was decided before the Minnesota game. Thus, it was believed that the Sonics would use this game and the next to rest a few of their players. For example, Antonio Daniels was placed on the injured list before the game, and Robert Swift came off of it. This was mainly to give Daniels some rest from the icky knee cartilage injury he has under his kneecap. Coach McMillan was going to cut Rashard Lewis' minutes a bit, and spell Luke Ridnour and Ray Allen a little more since they've been logging heavy minutes, especially during the Sonics' six-game slide.
The funny thing is, it seems like whenever McMillan plans on rest for people, it never ends up that way. In Rashard's first game back, he was out there for a lot more minutes than originally planned. He wasn't out there quite as long tonight, though he was still out there for more minutes than anticipated. Ray Allen playing 39 minutes and especially Luke Ridnour playing 42 minutes wasn't expected.
Still, there was a game to be played.
The Sonics showed up in the first half, but they didn't play. The first half was an absolute embarrassment.
Seattle actually had a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes after Rashard hit a three and Reggie Evans cashed in a layup. The bad news? That was their largest lead of the game. The other bad news? Dallas went on a 12-0 run after that. How bad was that stretch? The Sonics missed nine straight shots and turned the ball over SIX times. Evans cleaned up a Nick Collison miss with about a minute and a half to go to get the Sonics to within four at 18-14 before Devin Harris sunk a three and Shawn Bradley (yes, THAT Shawn Bradley) hit a layup before the end of the quarter. Dallas led 23-14 after one. The Sonics shot 5-for-21 (23.8%) in the first quarter of play. Jolly.
The carnage would continue. Dallas went on a 14-3 spurt that put the game way out of hand in the latter part of the second quarter. Dallas led by 20 at 47-27 with 2:47 left in the half. The Sonics went into the locker room down 19, 51-32. The Sonics shot 6-for-17 (35.3%) in the quarter, and shot a stellar 11-for-38 (28.9%) in the first half. That's ungodly. I thought the Sonics were playing in Milwaukee again or something.
So it's inexplicable how nuts the Sonics went in the third quarter of play. They shot 14-for-19 (73.7%) in the third quarter. It was borderline insane. Thus, the Sonics were back into a game that they had absolutely no business being in after the first half of play. It was astonishing. Seattle went on a torrid 30-8 run to take THE LEAD at 64-63 with 2:52 left in the quarter. Of course, the Sonics never led after that. Still, that's an incredible run. Ridnour dished off five assists and scored 10 of his points in the third quarter. All of his points in this game were in the second half. Rashard Lewis scored 12 in the quarter. Allen chipped in with 8. Dallas led 74-70 after three.
The Sonics held fairly close in the fourth quarter until Marquis Daniels all but ended it with 4:35 left to put Dallas up 91-82. A small 5-0 run had stretched the Dallas lead from four points to nine, dooming the Sonics, who didn't have time on their side. Dallas led by 10 inside the final minute until the Sonics hit a couple of meaningless baskets.
PEEK AT THE BOXSCORE
Ray Allen 21 pts/4 reb/3 ast/2 stl (7-17 FG, 5-11 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 39 min), Rashard Lewis 21 pts/5 reb/2 stl (7-12 FG, 2-3 3pt, 5-5 free throws, 27 min), Luke Ridnour 15 pts/3 reb/8 ast (4-9 FG, 2-3 3pt, 5-5 free throws, 42 min), Reggie Evans 8 pts/9 reb (4-7 FG, 24 min)
Nick Collison 9 pts/9 reb (4-6 FG, 1-4 free throws, 29 min), Damien Wilkins 9 pts/2 ast (3-9 FG, 1-3 3pt, 2-2 free throws, 26 min), Vitaly Potapenko 7 pts/4 reb/2 stl (1-5 FG, 5-6 free throws, 22 min), Ron Murray 4 pts/2 reb (2-5 FG, 0-1 3pt, 11 min), Danny Fortson 0 pts/0 reb (0-0 FG, 2 min)
Jerome James Watch
2 pts/4 reb/3 blk (1-3 FG, 3 turnovers, 4 fouls, 18 min)
shot 33-for-73 (45.2%) from the field, shot 10-for-21 (47.6%) from downtown, shot 20-for-26 (76.9%) from the line, outrebounded Dallas 41-38, were beat 52-40 in the paint and 16-11 on the break, turned ball over 17 times, bench was outscored 47-29 (and outrebounded 20-16)
Well, it's not really anything to get worked up over, and I would have thought the same thing even if the Sonics would have played the last 24 minutes like they did the first 24. I know Dallas was resting their guys as well, but Dirk Nowitzki was on the floor for that big Sonic run in the 38-point third quarter. I'm not saying he's a defensive stalwart or anything, but he couldn't answer back and key a huge run or anything.
Bottom line is, it gets back into full throttle on Saturday with the Sacramento Kings coming to Seattle. What do we know about the Sacramento Kings? If you're Tim Legler, you're handing Sacramento the series based on playoff experience alone, Sonics winning the season series 3-1 be damned. What else do we know? The Kings are a better team without Chris Webber; they don't kick the ball to him on the post and then wait for him to do something with it. Mike Bibby could probably torch Luke Ridnour at will. Peja Stojakovic can be deadly. However, the Kings don't play a whole hell of a lot of defense, and that bodes well for the Sonics. Peja pulled a groin recently. If Vladimir Radmanovic comes back anytime soon, we could have a battle of gimpy three-point shootin' Yugos. The Kings also should get Brad Miller back. What do we know about Brad Miller? Reggie Evans ticked him off earlier this year, so we know Miller hates that kind of play down low.
This game? Who cares? I wish Luke and Ray would have gotten less minutes, but nobody got hurt, and Antonio Daniels got all the rest he needed. I might be ticked if I'm Ron Murray getting only 11 minutes in a game where the starters are supposed to be resting, but oh well. Sheesh, the Sonics were deadly from three. I wish Radmanovic could be a part of this. Soon.
I would have asked Jinkies if Peja has ever put any special playoff catnip under his food bowl.