Saturday, January 22, 2005


If you haven't read Eric Adelson's piece at ESPN.com on Rick Lopez yet, you need to.

It's also in the current issue of ESPN Magazine. So check it out either in the Magazine or at ESPN.com. It's well worth your time.

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Well, it's another weekend.

In local news that wouldn't fit anywhere else in the post, Stanford's women's swimming team had their first Pac-10 meet last night (a 177-117 win over Arizona State) and Bremerton's Dana Kirk swept the 100 and 200 butterfly (yards) with times of 54.50 (her season-best) and 2:00.78, respectively. Both times are NCAA "B" qualifying times. She also helped out on the victorious medley relay team. I was in time to chime in on this meet, but I missed the boat on Stanford's warmup 159-96 win over Pacific a week ago, where Dana also posted a "B" time of 54.70 in her 100 fly win and was on the winning medley relay team. Hooray, Dana. The team has another meet today at Arizona (1p).

On TV today -- Gonzaga at San Diego (4p, KONG 6/16 Seattle, Q6 NBC Spokane).

We are drawing ever closer to spring training. Just about 25 days until pitchers and catchers report, and even closer to the first full day of camp.

The Seahawks are biding their time to make the right hire, since the president and VP of football ops posts are highly important and because they'll pilot the direction of the freanchise for now. Again, if they don't hire at least one of Mueller and Reinfeldt, I'm not going to raise a huge stink, but...I'm going to be looking back all the time and wonder what could have been. Hopefully at this point it's just a matter of trying to decide which one of them gets what post. Or maybe it's just not likely that both of the guys get brought back. I hope Paul Allen can manage to make three good moves in a row here. Canning Whitsitt was the first. While the Seahawks should make sure they do this right, time is a-wastin' here.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels are home against Miami today.

Watching the game tomorrow might be like seeing schizophrenia on the basketball court. The Huskies play fast, faster, and fastest, while the Cougars are slooooow. Well, the game itself might be schizo, not just one team in particular.

The Huskies are home against Washington State tomorrow (FSNNW).

The Zags are at San Diego today (4p, KONG 6/16 Seattle, Q6 NBC Spokane).

For my take on the game, scroll down a post or click here if you're in the archive.

Ray held the ball a lot. This would explain the utter lack of assists in the boxscore last night for the Sonics. Once again, a team found a way to match up small (no center) with the Sonics, and once again they got burned. O'Neil also points to the Sonics' ability to let the Timberwolves to get off some quick runs at the ends of quarters.

Wally's record last night for points off the bench was a Minnesota franchise record. Coach McMillan said that teams are starting to figure them out (ya think?). Vladimir Radmanovic and Antonio Daniels both say that the team needs to crank it back up defensively. It's a bit funny to hear that from Vladimir because he's an average defender at best, but still. The run that cost the Sonics was the aforementioned run between the first and second quarters, a torrid 17-2 span by Minnesota. Similarly, Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis combined for a stellar 0-for-9 from the floor in the first quarter. The Sonics lost consecutively for only the second time this season.

Tomorrow vs. Utah
Tuesday at Lakers
Wednesday at Utah

Spokane beat Everett 5-2. The first period was all the Chiefs needed, as they peppered Leland Irving with 7 pucks and put three past him before he was chased. Mike Wall stopped the other 7 shots Spokane took in the first period. Everett only managed four shots in the period. Spokane scored another goal in the second period before Ivan Baranka dented the scoreboard on the power play. Spokane ended the second period with a late goal to take a 5-1 lead. Alex Leavitt tallied a third-period goal for the 'Tips. Spokane badly outshot Everett 36-15, and Mike Wall stopped 27 of 29 for the Silvertips.

Kelowna beat Portland 2-1. Portland was beat on a goal with a mere 11 seconds remaining in the third period, losing out on at least a single point. With the win, Kelowna is now an insane 14-0-1 in their last 15 home games, an unbeaten streak dating back to October 29th. As can happen with Kelowna's airtight defense, Portland's first shot didn't come until 11 minutes into the first period, and Portland went without a shot on their first two power plays. Kelowna got the first goal of the game in the third period, and Portland tied it halfway through on a Cody McLeod deflection of a shot by Dan DaSilva. Portland lost the game with the late goal after the defense was late getting back, enabling Troy Bodie to clean up a rebound. Kelowna outshot Portland 30-26, and Blake Grenier stopped 28 in his second start after coming back from injury.

Tri-City beat Vancouver 2-1. The only Vancouver goal came with two seconds left with the Giants having pulled Marek Schwarz for an extra skater. The one bright side is that it was Gilbert Brule's 26th goal of the season, and he now leads the WHL in scoring. Tri-City's two first-period goals held up to the end, though Brule ruined Carey Price's shutout bid. The Americans outshot the Giants 35-33, and Marek Schwarz stopped 33 in net for Vancouver.

Edmonton beat Manitoba 3-1. Manitoba had a streak snapped -- 14 games without a regulation loss. The Road Runners scored once in every period. The Moose had tied the game 1-1 at one point in the second period on a skate redirection by Lee Goren on a Kevin Bieksa shot. The tie game last until Alex Auld got beat five-hole off a rebound. Edmonton badly outshot Manitoba 39-26, and Alex Auld stopped 36 for the Moose.

Tonight: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Kootenay
Tomorrow: Vancouver at Portland, Manitoba at Edmonton
Tuesday: Seattle at Spokane
Wednesday: Everett at Kelowna, Vancouver at Kamloops, Tri-City at Seattle
Friday: Kamloops at Seattle, Portland at Everett, Tri-City at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Saturday (29th): Everett at Seattle, Tri-City at Portland, Kelowna at Vancouver, Manitoba at Utah, Spokane at Puget Sound
Sunday (30th): Everett at Tri-City

Have a great start to your weekend, o great readers of ours.

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Friday, January 21, 2005


Timberwolves 112, SuperSonics 107

(final content posted 11p)

Here's what I have for tonight's tilt. Postgame thoughts will eventually be placed below the in-game action.

1st qtr
10:02 Ridnour coast-to-coast layup SEA 4-2. 8:02 Allen baseline drive hacked, hits both TIE 6-6. 7:28 Ridnour baseline long jumper SEA 8-6. 6:01 Evans cleans up missed Allen layup SEA 12-8. 3:53 Garnett stuffs Evans, then runs the floor for a fastbreak layup. 3:39 Allen fouled on a driving jump-stop, hits both SEA 14-10. 2:13 Collison jam in transition after Szczberbiak trips running downcourt SEA 18-17.

After one quarter -- Minnesota 25, Seattle 18

The most disturbing thing about the first quarter was how badly the Sonics got drilled on the glass. The broadcast has the Sonics being outrebounded 14-7, while SportsLine has 16-7. The thing is, it's not just Kevin Garnett (5) either. Ervin Johnson (Calabro said some jokingly have called him "Tragic" Johnson) has a handful of his own. What's even more disturbing is that 7 of Minnesota 16 boards (SportsLine) were on the offensive glass. Verrrry disturbing. Also, Minnesota ended the quarter on an 8-0 run which included back-to-back Szczerbiak threes.

2nd qtr
10:25 Seattle timeout, Sonics getting boat-raced MIN 31-18. 10:11 Lewis cleans up down low on a Radmanovic miss MIN 31-20. 8:42 Radmanovic very long two MIN 36-22. 8:00 Radmanovic three left corner MIN 38-25. 7:17 righty jump hool Lewis MIN 40-27. 6:44 Allen with moves to the basket easy layup MIN 40-29, answered with Hoiberg three. 6:00 Allen drives again to the basket for a layup and one MIN 43-32. 5:37 Allen transition three MIN 43-35, Minnesota timeout. 5:02 Murray with moves for a banker MIN 43-37, 7th straight Seattle basket. 4:29 Allen cutting toward basket, nice pass to him SEA 45-39. 4:02 Allen three right side MIN 47-42. 3:23 Lewis finger-roll into the lane MIN 50-44. 1:01 Radmanovic three fresh off the bench MIN 57-47. 0:38 Murray three MIN 59-50, answered by Hudson three. 0:04.5 Murray drives, gets fouled and hits one MIN 62-51.

The first part of the quarter, the Sonics were just getting blown out of the gym. They were still getting blistered on the glass, and worse yet, they weren't shooting well (especially from beyond the arc) and Minnesota was shooting the lights out, what with all their second chances and stuff. Ray Allen hit three straight shots to get the Sonics within eight, which was good because he was shooting horribly before that. The Sonics managed to hit ten straight baskets, but Kevin Garnett was still having his way down low, as the Sonics still found themselves down by 8 because Minnesota hit four straight baskets in the same stretch.

At halftime -- Minnesota 62, Seattle 51

Well, the Sonics are shooting 50% at half, and they scored 51 points in the first half, and that's pretty good. However, that won't do you much good when you give up 62 points in the same half. The Sonics had a great run spurred by Ray Allen, but ultimately it still left the Timberwolves with a pretty comfortable lead. Why? Well, it's not just Minnesota shooting 60%. It's also the fact that they're getting killed on the glass 19-11 (Minnesota has 7 offensive boards). It's also the fact that the Timberwolves are 8-for-13 from downtown, in effect giving the Sonics a taste of their own medicine. The Timberwolves have also been able to get some mismatches down low, punctuated by an easy Eddie Griffin basket (6'10") when he was double-teamed by the Seattle backcourt. Overall, it's the Sonics who are not playing solid defense that we've seen in the first part of the season that we haven't seen for most of the last couple weeks (sans the second quarter against Denver).

Also, the Timberwolves' bench is on fire. They've outscored the Seattle bench 38-16, and outrebounding them 8-3. As for other stats, Ray Allen has 17 at the half, Vladimir Radmanovic has 8, and Rashard Lewis, Luke Ridnour, and Ron Murray all have 6. Reggie Evans and Radmanovic lead in rebounding with (yikes) 3 each.

Danny Fortson played exactly two minutes in the first half, and I have no idea why he hasn't played more.

We'll see whether the Sonics have dug themselves too big of a hole tonight or not. Judging from how they've been playing lately, I'd have to say they did. The first few minutes of the third quarter will be very important.

3rd qtr
10:53 Minnesota pass tipped, leading ro Allen fastbreak drive and foul, hits two MIN 64-54, answered by Hudson three, and a wide-open baseline jumper MIN 69-54. 9:30 Ridnour corner three MIN 69-57. 8:41 Ridnour off a broken play (near-turnover) hits another three MIN 70-60, with stellar defense on Garnett down low on next possession. 7:23 James spin-moves on Griffin and JAMS it...wow MIN 72-62, answered by a Hassell foul and one (missed). 7:04 Allen spots an open lane, two-handed reverse slam MIN 74-64, answered by Wally three. 6:19 Sonics in the bonus. 5:43 James jumphook MIN 78-67. 5:14 Radmanovic steal, slam MIN 78-69. 3:29 Lewis beats the shot clock with a three...beautifully run play, good ball movement MIN 78-72. 2:14 Lewis banker right side MIN 80-74, 9-2 run. 1:26 Daniels drives wide-open lane, goaltend Garnett MIN 82-76, answered by Hoiberg.

After three quarters -- Minnesota 88, Seattle 76

Minnesota ended the third quarter on a 6-0 run, and it happened pretty quickly too. Wally Szczerbiak had a good third quarter, but was incensed with the officials and after Rashard Lewis heaved a 3/4-court shot at the buzzer, the ball came to Wally and he spiked it, which got a reaction from the crowd. I hope the Sonics can pull this one off so Wally can look more like an idiot, but it'll be a tall order because the Timberwolves just won't cool down; they're shooting 63%.

4th qtr
11:45 Ridnour lane layup MIN 88-78. 11:03 Radmanovic layin down low MIN 90-80. Szczerbiak is getting booed every time he touches the ball, but he's in the freakin' zone. 9:31 Daniels three right side MIN 92-83. 7:28 Wally scores Minnesota's 100th point, probably the end of the game. 7:03 James jam fouled hard by Wally. 6:39 Lewis three MIN 100-89. 5:59 James JAM after missed Lewis alleyoop and low Allen layup MIN 100-91. 5:30 Ridnour steal, fastbreak James layup and one (missed) MIN 100-93, answered by Hudson. 4:56 Lewis reverse layup under basket MIN 102-95. 4:32 Ridnour pumpfakes Garnett, drives in lane for layup MIN 102-97, 12-2 Sonic run. 4:08 Jerome James fouls out. 3:54 Ridnour THREE MIN 104-100, answered by Garnett. 2:58 Hoiberg three, ouch MIN 109-100. 2:37 Radmanovic THREE MIN 109-103. 2:12 Seattle in the bonus, Lewis hits both MIN 109-105. 1:47 Allen baseline layup MIN 111-107. 1:05 Radmanovic dribble off foot out of bounds after offensive rebound. 0:40 Wally offensive rebound. 0:15.3 ANOTHER freakin Wally offensive rebound.

Final -- Minnesota 112, Seattle 107


Well, the Sonics have given two consecutive key games away to division foes. Not good.

As I suspected, the Sonics dug themselves too much of a hole early, and they couldn't quite dig out of it. They almost did exactly that, though, against a Minnesota team that looked like a damn good team tonight.

It's almost like a broken record in the last few losses. The Sonics just don't manage to defend quite well enough to put them over the top. Really, it was the brutal stretch to end the first quarter and start the second quarter that doomed the Sonics. They were getting absolutely blitzed on the boards, and the Timberwolves were shooting out of their freakin' minds. It was incredible.

As for evidence that the Sonics kicked it away early, they managed to get within four points in that fourth quarter where they almost pulled it out. Minnesota came in having lost four games this year in which they held double-digit leads, but tonight they would get the win. The Timberwolves had an answer for everything the Sonics threw at them. If Ray Allen or Luke Ridnour drove to the basket for a layup, or if Rashard Lewis hit a short shot, the Timberwolves responded -- Troy Hudson with a three on the other end, Wally Szczerbiak hitting shots at will, Kevin Garnett nailing an 18-footer, you name the player and a spot on the floor, the Timberwolves sunk the shot.

The Timberwolves got the win by 5 tonight, but they needed a near-perfect storm to do it -- they shot 58% from the field, they shot 58% from downtown, and Wally Szczerbiak went nuts and probably will come out of this as someone just as hated by Seattle fans as Kobe Bryant is. He was drawing the ire of the crowd (especially after spiking the ball to end the third quarter) and it only seemed to fuel his game not just from the field (11-for-19) but from the free-throw line as well, where he hit on 10 of 12 attempts.

The one encouraging thing tonight for the Sonics was that they weren't living and dying by the three, though it was falling at a decent percentage. They were taking a lot of balls to the rack, and they looked great doing it. They did sink their fair amount of threes, but most of those shots didn't have the bad aura that the shots from the Denver game had -- Craig Ehlo's gotten on them for it, but I believe him when he says the Sonics' three-point attempts are much more justified when they run a play to set it up rather than just bombing it if nobody's open or if few other options are available. It looked like the Sonics were much better setting up threes tonight rather than just haphazardly heaving them.

I hope I find out in the paper why Danny Fortson only played 9 minutes tonight and was held scoreless. Was he that ineffective? Was it that necessary to get the height advantage on Kevin Garnett with Jerome James instead of Fortson? Granted, Jerome might have had his best game of the year, but I've seen Fortson put up a line of 11 and 6 before, and who knows if he would have been able to stop some shots inside if he was given more time tonight. Then again, with the few minutes that he was in there, not a lot of results came out of it (1 rebound). Still, I'm kind of mystified by this. Maybe, just maybe he could have won this game at the free-throw line.

Oh yeah, the Sonics' bench got throttled tonight (Wally came off the bench), but I'll get to that in the Peek.

In short, the Sonics lost this game with that stretch that ended the first quarter and started the second. The fact that they nearly pulled it off in the end despite Minnesota shooting lights-out and Szczerbiak in a zone of all zones is a bit encouraging, along with the amount of balls they were taking straight to the hoop. The Sonics quelled the turnover problem of the last couple games, or at least they cut down the amount. With the Sonics down four points, Vladimir Radmanovic grabbed an offensive rebound with just over a minute left in the game and dribbled the ball off himself and out of bounds to effectively seal the deal for Minnesota. Less turnovers, yes, but that was a very ill-timed one.

To end this part of my spiel, this would have been a hell of a win for the Sonics, but maybe it's better they didn't. Maybe they'll actually have to face the fact that they need to ratchet up on defense again. Minnesota shot the ball extremely well, sure, but you've got to find ways to prevent them from setting up the shots and not let them get good looks. Minnesota hit a lot of contested shots tonight, sure, but I'd have to say that they also hit 95% of their open shots.

It's not just that though. To put it bluntly, the Sonics just need to come up with more defensive stops. Period.

The Sonics are now 5-5 in January.

Ray Allen 25 pts/4 reb/6 ast (7-23 FG, 2-7 3pt, 9-9 free throws), Luke Ridnour 19 pts/2 reb/3 ast (7-8 FG, 3-3 3pt), Rashard Lewis 18 pts/6 reb (7-19 FG, 2-7 3pt), Reggie Evans 4 pts/3 reb/2 ast (2-4 free throws)

Vlad Radmanovic 15 pts/10 reb/2 blk (6-14 FG, 3-6 3pt), Antonio Daniels 7 pts/4 ast (3-5 FG, 24 min), Ron Murray 6 pts/2 ast (2-3 FG, 10 min), Nick Collison 2 pts/1 reb (10 min), Danny Fortson 0 pts/1 reb (9 min)

Jerome James Watch
11 pts/6 reb/1 blk (5-7 FG, 1-3 free throws, 20 min, fouled out)...it's more than likely an aberration, but if this gives Jerome a bit of confidence, then that in itself is good, though I'm fully expecting a regression back to the mean.

shots 39-for-83 from the field (47%, Minnesota shot 58.1%), shot 12-for-25 from downtown (48%, Minnesota hit 10 of 17 for 58.8%), shot 17-for-22 from the line (77.3%, Minnesota hit 16 of 19 for 84.2%), somehow outrebounded the Timberwolves 35-34, bench outscored by Wally Szczerbiak 34-30, bench badly outscored by Minnesota whole bench 72-30 (outrebounded 14-12)

Well, some quick reactions after looking at the boxscore in depth. Ray Allen's shot was still hung over a bit from the Denver game at the start of this one, so he didn't start out too hot. Luke Ridnour had a great night scoringwise, but the low assist numbers between him and Daniels tonight stuck out at me. I didn't think Radmanovic had another double-double, but sure enough he did. After one of Ron Murray's earlier baskets, Craig Ehlo pointed out that it might be nice if Murray could have caught fire a bit tonight. Yeah, it would have. They could have really used it. Also, the Sonics picked up their board presence late in the fourth quarter, enabling them to somehow outboard the Timberwolves, which didn't seem like a possibility early in the game.

In the department of free throws, the Sonics missed five of their 22. The culprits? Ron Murray missed once, and Jerome James and Reggie Evans missed twice each -- basically it's everyone on the team that you would expect to be missing free throws. Still, the Sonics missed five free throws and lost this game by five points. Again, this is why I'm amazed that Fortson didn't play more than nine minutes, unless he was injured or had Evans' stomach ailment or something.

When asked if he thought the Timberwolves looked like a new team tonight, Jinkies said, "[t]he things you say to me are not normal. I am thinking you need to leave the computer and get some oxygen and fresh daylight."

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Dodgers closer Eric Gagne on the Dodgers' offseason:

"I was scared, too, like all the fans, about all the moves, like where are we going, what are we trying to do?" Gagne said Thursday. "When we signed Derek Lowe, I thought, OK, that's where we're going.

"Talk about team chemistry, talk about Derek Lowe, he's a world champion. Talk about Jeff Kent, he's an MVP; J.D. Drew, he's just getting started, and bringing back Odalis Perez."

Gagne shook his head and said, "I think it's just amazing what we did with the team."

You know how good life will be in April when Adrian Beltre is manning the hot corner for your Seattle Mariners?

Oh, and team chemistry will be A-OK as well. (If David can mock Filter, I can too)

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I thought I was going to see some hockey tonight at the rink here in Bremerton, but it turns ot this week is a bye week for the Tomahawks and the games that I thought were this weekend are actually next weekend instead.

I guess I won't be missing Timberwolves/Sonics tonight.

Anyway, if there's anyone following my posts for coverage of the Tomahawks and was anticipating to see the Tomahawks this weekend, not only would I be surprised, I'd just tell you I got messed up too here. I thought they were playing this weekend, then I looked at the schedule and I was like, "damn."

As for what I'll be doing until the Sonics come on, I went over to Best Buy to kill some time the other night, and I saw that EA Sports NHL 2005 for the PC was ther for a paltry $19.99. The original price tag was still on it for $39.99. Half-price. Yum. Maybe I'll just play tihs every night and pretend I'm following an actual NHL season. If I get deep into Dynasty Mode, I'll tell you how that goes, if it's going good and I'm not too proud to admit that I suck at the game.

However, I will admit that I've owned Civilization III much too long to still suck at it, but I do.

Back to the NHL game, I think the Canucks are rated ridiculously low on the game, but maybe that's just me. I've played with the Canucks against Calgary and I think I've only won twice out of about seven or eight tries, which makes me mad. Then I go to "Rematch" after I'm done and then invariably lose again. It's a vicious cycle. Also, I somehow got Slovakia to beat Canada in the World Cup. I won 4-2, and I have to say that I'm a big fan of Video Zdeno Chara.

So now it looks like I'll try to take Slovakia as far as I can in the World Cup.

As for the real 2004 World Cup that took place, well, I watched some games.

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I've got some sad news to report.

Memphis Grizzlies television play-by-play broadcaster Don Poier was found dead in a Denver hotel room earlier today. There is no word on what caused his death. Northwest sports fans will remember Poier calling Pac-10 football and basketball games before moving on to Vancouver to work with the Grizzlies.

Poier was 53 years old. We here at Sports and Bremertonians send our thoughts and prayers to Poier's family and friends and the Memphis Grizzlies at this time.

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Former Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa has been hired as manager of the Arkansas Travelers, the Double-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels.

Gamboa is unfortunately known as the man who was attacked by two fans at Chicago in September 2002. He was reassigned in the Royals organization after the 2002 season.

No word on whether the Travs will follow their parent club's lead and rename themselves The Arkansas Travelers of Little Rock.

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I can't think of a creative way to open this one but since I saw this article, I'll just mention that judging from my normal tendencies, I should really hate the America's Cup with a passion. But the last time it aired, I thought it was a pleasant surprise. It's competitive, but there's this odd calm about it. It's definitely calming, and scenic. I'll also never have money to even think about buying a chunk off of one of those boats. Everything they do is expensive, and it's not just the hulls themselves.

On TV tonight -- Timberwolves at SuperSonics (7:30p, FSNNW)

Okay, I've already lost my mind with the intro, so let's see how crazy the rest of the post is...

With the Mariners signing Richie Sexson and Adrian Beltre in the offseason to man the corners, it gives Scott Spiezio a lot more time to play poker against the Mariner Moose. Or the Mariners could eat his salary (ouch) or try and put him on the block if he has any semblance of a spring. Or they could convince the Yankees or Mets that they somehow need Spiezio. Or there's always Ken Williams. Wherever he ends up, Spiezio wants some playing time, and he's built a workout room and spent more time there than with Sandfrog. That's probably a better use of the time.

Also, the Everett AquaSox are now owned by the Carfagnas, as approval of the new ownership has been granted from the majors and the minors. The A-Sox (is there a catchy name for this team that I'm forgetting right now?) will also be with the Mariners through at least 2006 and at Everett Memorial Stadium to 2010. If the new owners' surname is indeed Italian (it reads like it), and if my very limited knowledge of Italian linguistics is correct, I believe that surname would be pronounced cahr-FAHN-ya. If one were to call the AquaSox the A-Sox, I'm trying to think of a joke involving the A-Sox, holes in socks, and the inevitable profanity that would come from mixing the two. It's just not happening for me right now though.

The Seahawks did not use Inauguration Day to pick a president (or vice-president of football operations) of their own.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels are home against Miami on Saturday.

The point guard off the 1975-76 Husky team thinks his team would beat the current Huskies, "[n]o question." It's a long read, but it'll at least make you believe that the old team would have given the current Huskies a pretty good run. This sounds like a job for WhatIfSports.com or something, or maybe somebody that could put together a sim-game of Huskies versus Huskies.

The Huskies are home against Washington State on Sunday (FSNNW).

Well, we knew that the West Coast Conference was going to be tougher for Gonzaga to steamroll through this year. Now they've got their second conference loss, this time against San Francisco by a score of 73-70 after a very slow and sluggish first half for the Zags. There's a reason why the WCC is the 7th-ranked conference in the RPI. Erroll Knight was out with a left foot sprain, and P-Mac started in his place. Altidor-Cespedes didn't score in 21 minutes of play and two shots from the field.

The Zags are at San Diego tomorrow (4p, KONG 6/16 Seattle, Q6 NBC Spokane).

I'd have to agree that the Sonics are coming off their worst loss of the season. I think that's only the second time this year where afterward I thought they should have had the game. The only other time was the Phoenix game, but at least that team was good. The Nuggets were anything but good coming into the game, and they had some significant guys injured. I guess the Sonics have to hope that the other four Timberwolves on the court rock back on their heels and watch whenever Kevin Garnett is moving in the post with the ball. Hey, it worked against Shaq.

The Sonics face a .500 team tonight. Of course, it's Minnesota, a team within the division over whom they have a sizable lead. But like the P-I column said, the Sonics don't want to be the ones that give Minnesota a jump-start victory that gets them on a 14-game winning streak or something. After the Denver game, I'm afraid those guys are going to reel off a streak, though they're further back in the division.

The fact that Reggie Evans imitated the Doug Christie hand gesture makes this column. "Doug Christie? That's a weird dude," said the rebounder. You know, I've been really ticked off whenever Doug Christie made a key shot against the Sonics while a member of the Kings, mostly because he was a Sonic draftee. But if he'd stayed here, I can't imagine having to deal with his wife and the hand gestures (we also might not have been able to see the Sam Perkins Era in Seattle). Kobe had to buy back Vanessa with some top-dollar jewelry after his incident in Colorado, but what would Doug Christie have to buy Jackie if he somehow succumbed to the ways of a witchy woman and Jackie found out about it? Would Doug make it out alive? I more than likely won't watch this show because I simply don't care (though I'd definitely watch a post-Doug cheating reality show). I'll be a billion times more likely to see the Anna Benson reality show, if/when that comes out.

Also, if you read that Kelley article, you'll notice the new Doug Christie jersey bears the Orlando name and a big fat number 1. This is only hilarious because his official website is entitled DC One Three. We'll see if Doug/Jackie hash(es) out the number flap.

Tonight vs. Minnesota
Sunday vs. Utah
Tuesday at Lakers
Wednesday at Utah

Basically the two days of NHL talks brought dialogue, but no real progress. Apparently the two sides are promising to meet again, though no new talks have been scheduled.

An email popped up in my inbox today from the Canucks saying that they are ready to stick to their guns in the suit filed against them by hotel magnate Tom Gagliardi and construction mogul Ryan Beedie in relation to the 50% stake in Orca Bay Sports and Entertainment (i.e., the Canucks) that real-estate developer Francesco Aquilini purchased back in November. Basically they're charging a business partnership going really bad, and that Aquilini pulled out of the partnership and used some of the information (confidential) that he'd had from the negotiations the then-partnership had in trying to buy that stake in the Canucks to in turn strike a deal on the side with John McCaw. Time will tell on how this shakes out. I guess I have to listen to more Vancouver sports radio to get more of a feel for this.

To the games...

Prince George shut out Seattle 1-0. The Cougars are about a .500 team. When the Thunderbirds manage to put up 35 shots on such a team, one would probably expect them to win, especially considering how good Seattle has been this year. The only goal in this one was on an odd-man rush finished off by Kris Deines. Seattle badly outshot the Cougars 35-23, but Scott Bowles stopped all 35 for Prince George. Bryan Bridges stopped 22 for Seattle.

Manitoba beat Wilkes-Barre Scranton 3-2 in a shootout. The Moose got behind by giving up two goals in the second period. They got them both back in the third period, held tight through overtime, and won on a sudden-death shootout goal. In a bizarre note, the two goalies that were to start the game were both injured in their pre-game skate. The Penguins put up a flurry of shots early in the first period, but didn't cash in until the second, with two goals within 21 seconds with just under nine minutes remaining in the period. The Moose were able to answer back early in the third period. Alexandre Burrows off a one-timer on a two-on one cut the deficit in half and Tomas Mojzis from the point tied the game up 56 seconds later. Penguins top draft pick Marc-Andre Fleury made some crazy saves to end the overtime, but it was the third puck he let by (Josh Green) in the shootout that got the Moose the win. Wilkes-Barre Scranton outshot the Moose 34-28. Alex Auld stopped 32 for Manitoba.

Tonight: Portland at Kelowna, Everett at Spokane, Vancouver at Tri-City, Manitoba at Edmonton
Tomorrow: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Kootenay
Sunday: Vancouver at Portland, Manitoba at Edmonton

Have a great day, and if you don't usually read us on the weekend, then have a great weekend. If you do read us on weekends, we still do stuff, so we'll have something here.

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Thursday, January 20, 2005


With apologies to Filter, I just totally ripped them off. Call it a copout.

Some news in all sports today, and I don't even have to grasp for too many straws.

On TV tonight -- Gonzaga at San Francisco (7p, KONG 6/16 Seattle, Fox 28 KAYU Spokane)

Sele returns. Three things are keeping me from being really angry about this: (1) it's only a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, (2) I don't see the Mariners making the playoffs this year, so he won't have to make any postseason starts, and (3) if he's 5th in the rotation or doing any spot starting, that works great because his five innings can mix with Villone's three or four every fifth day -- that's about where those two max out inningswise. Of course, this depends on one of Moyer/Pineiro/Meche/Franklin/Madritsch popping out of the equation. If I see Sele in the rotation instead of Madritsch when the team comes north, there better be a really good reason for it.

As for the other non-roster invitees, I'm pleased to see that Rett Johnson is on the list after the undisclosed stuff he's gone through, and I hope he does well. As pleased as I am with Johnson, I'm just as displeased to see Masao Kida on the invites list. Come on. Did anybody out there see anything at all encouraging about him last year? I think I gave him one game ball in the recaps last year, but that's about it. In a purely observational note, I had to read through the list three times before I realized that Ryan Christiansen was even on the list.

Fellow blogospherian Derek has his assertions on the upcoming reign of Mike Hargrove as manager of the Seattle Mariners. It's a good read. If Derek's right, we should all places bets right now on who the inexplicably-too-much-playing-time guy will be.

Once again, Edgar will have to dust off another piece of the mantle, this time to make room for the P-I Publisher's Award. He won the P-I Sports Star of the Year award way back in 1992, when the Mariners were 64-98. The team's record last year was only one game off of that (63-99). Eerie.

Congrats to 2004 Hutch Award winner Trevor Hoffman. He's not much of a giver of runs when on the field, but gives a lot of smiles off of it.

A new president of the Seahawks should be hired next week. The names of Randy Mueller and Mike Reinfeldt are in the article. If both of those guys are brought back into the organization, I don't care what role either one has when it comes to president or VP of football operations. Just as long as they're back.

Also, center Robbie Tobeck says Seattle is his first choice this offseason. He's one of the bevy of unrestricted free agents for the Seahawks.

The Marvin Williams Watch
In the Tar Heels' 77-58 win at Clemson, Marvin Williams had 12 points and 8 rebounds (perfect in six attempts from the free-throw line) in 24 minutes, shooting 3-for-5 from the field. He is averaging 10.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game. Just to inflate his stats, if you carry them out to 40 minutes (full game), he'd be averaging 19.5 points and 12 rebounds.

The Tar Heels are home against Miami on Saturday.

The 10th-ranked Huskies are home against Washington State on Sunday (FSNNW).

There's a bit of a blurb on USF coach Jessie Evans. In relation to the Dons, I'd have to say the best thing about the Bulls' title runs was hearing then-Bulls PA man Ray Clay introducing "Billlll CARTwright!!" Bill Cartwright had one of the weirdest shots I've seen in my life. I have this image in my mind of him shooting, and it only looks like he's sort of passing the ball toward the basket -- a sort of low-arc shot where the hands follow through horizontally and the arms are about 45 degrees from vertical. I'm crazy.

To those that didn't know, the Bulls' intro music was "Sirius" by the Alan Parsons Project (sample). I didn't know that beforehand, but I wish I was making this up.

The 11th-ranked Zags are in the Bay Area to face the Dons of USF tonight (KONG 6/16 broadcast).

Living and dying by the three. Obviously, they have to find ways to win in the three-pointer starts going cold. Naturally, my knee-jerk reaction to this is to say that if the threes go cold, every play should run straight to the basket, whether it be a Ray Allen drive, an Antonio Daniels drive, a Luke Ridnour drive, or a couple of passes before finding Danny Fortson down low -- just anything that results in free throws because the Sonics are really good at hitting shots, as Kevin Calabro says, "from 15 feet away with nobody guarding you." Well, everybody but Reggie Evans, but anyone else can hit the shots with regularity. I know it's more than likely not that simple, but I like the strategy too much.

Back to the threes though, O'Neil does point out that threes are shot from a longer distance and therefore can clang longer distances, possibly out of the reach of Evans, Fortson, or James. We saw the results against Denver the other night -- fast breaks. I get ticked most of the time when I see a Sonic opponent getting an open shot without a hand in his face. I noticed this was happening a few times with Reggie Evans, who would put his hand out, but not up, at the shooter, but I think I'll cut Reggie some slack because right after the shot he's racing back toward the paint looking for the rebound -- rebounding is what Reggie does. I can't use this logic to argue Ray Allen's defense, but he usually scores a bunch of points, so I'll lighten up for now.

Swifty! He's sitting a lot. He's not suiting up lately, probably due to an "injury," and he's definitely a project. But hey, if he eventually gets more minutes than Darko Milicic, I think it might be worth the wait. I'd like to see the Sonics pound an opponent into submission so I could see three minutes of this guy on the floor again.

It just occurred to me that the Sonic deal I'll be doing on Friday night will be a pretty detached thing because I won't be in front of the television for it. Sad.

Tomorrow vs. Minnesota
Sunday vs. Utah
Tuesday at Lakers
Wednesday at Utah

No games by the usual teams tonight, but there is some hockey news nonetheless...

Representatives of the NHL owners and players are having yet another meeting today in Toronto. It's not known how the first meeting went other than that there was indeed dialogue, and that neither side was angry enough to the point where they didn't want to meet today. NHLPA president and Vancouver Canuck Trevor Linden got the session together, using a novel and smart approach -- take Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow out of the room and see what happens. It bought them another session of talks, at least. It's something.

With Sidney Crosby absent, Gilbert Brule of the Vancouver Giants tore up the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game with a hat trick to catapult Team Cherry to an 8-4 win in front of 16331 at the still-serviceable Pacific Coliseum.

In the movie Happy Gilmore, Adam Sandler mentions many times that he once stabbed a guy with his skate. Though only a one-man job, Ryan Gibbons came close, and instead sliced his right ankle with the blade of his left skate. Then his third-period goal later in the game got the T-Birds a 1-0 win in Vancouver. Crazy.

Tonight: Seattle at Prince George, Wilkes-Barre Scranton at Manitoba
Tomorrow: Portland at Kelowna, Everett at Spokane, Vancouver at Tri-City, Manitoba at Edmonton
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Kootenay
Sunday: Vancouver at Portland, Manitoba at Edmonton

Just hang in there, because tomorrow's Friday.

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005


According to ESPN, Aaron Sele is once again a Seattle Mariner.

While the linked story has Sele close to a deal, the bottom line during "Sportscenter" had Sele signing with the M's.

What's my take on the North Kitsap grad coming back to Seattle? It's a minor league deal. Understand that, folks. It's only a minor league deal. As long as he doesn't pitch in any playoff games, I'll live with Sele on the Mariners roster, should he make it up north with the big club in April.

I'm still recovering from the fact that the Anaheim Angels won a World Series with Aaron Sele on their roster. Of course, they were smart and didn't have him on their postseason roster. Vexing.

Spring training is less than a month away. It can't come soon enough.

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Former Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Tony Saunders is making a comeback, signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles.

The 30-year old southpaw last pitched in the big leagues in 1999 while with the Devil Rays. He broke the humerus bone in his left arm while throwing a pitch in a game for the Devil Rays on May 26, 1999. While making a comeback from that injury a year later in the minor leagues, he broke the same arm.

As a baseball fan, I hope this comeback turns out well.

Best of luck, Tony.

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Not exactly how Roger sang it.

Ugh. Just one of those sports days I wish never was...

Doubly bad. I've already posted what I think about giving an average/mediocre 26-year-old reliever a two-year, $4.2M deal, but that's not what makes those articles tick for me, because I'm done with this Villone thing as far as I'm concerned. I just want to block it out. Repressive memory. Selective retention, if you will.

Ricky Gutierrez will get $600k if he comes north after the Mariners break camp, whereas he will get $15k a month if he plays for the Rainiers. When asked if they would take $15k a month to play baseball, all jobless nightowl sports bloggers in the city of Bremerton who haven't played organized baseball since high school raised their hands. I can guarantee that at least one did, anyway.

Then I looked at the Finnigan article and realized what would probably be the biggest battle of spring training. Yes, it'll be a steel-cage match between Ricky Gutierrez, Benji Gil, and Ramon Santiago for the coveted role of reserve infielder.

Dan Reichert was the only possible target in the article who is under 30 years of age.

THe thought of bringing Aaron Sele back...ugh. As long as he doesn't start any playoff games, I guess. Sele and Dan Wilson always seemed to work well together, but I don't want him back. If they bring him back, it better only be for a one-year incentive-laden deal. The way I see that is that Sele would be my #5 starter, he'd throw 5 innings because that's all he can throw, and then Ron Villone would mop up the next 3 innings or the rest of the game. Both of the guys don't eat innings as starters, so put Sele in the back of the rotation to where he's still a starter but without the self-esteem hit that goes with being demoted to the bullpen, and then pitch Villone because he's better as a reliever and sucks when he starts.

Ted Thompson didn't have much time to lament his past with the Seahawks. He's going to be Green Bay's GM, after all. He just says that the Seahawks are "really close," but that he wishes they would have gone further. Don't we all? Hopefully this is the last Ted Thompson article for a while, because his picture in the Times just perplexes me. That hair looks like some sort of space-age partial silver helmet or something.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The 6th-ranked Tar Heels are at Clemson tonight.

The 10th-ranked Huskies are home against Washington State on Sunday (FSNNW).

The 11th-ranked Zags go to the Bay Area to face the Dons of USF tomorrow (KONG 6/16 broadcast).

For my thoughts on last night's game, scroll down a post or click here if you're in the archive.

These weren't the evil 8th-seed Nuggets cutting down the 1st-seed Sonics, but it is a little tough to stomach when you lose an overtime game at home to a division foe (that's a new wrinkle) after you had a double-digit lead. Turnovers, Ray Allen's jumper disappearing, no second-half defense, and a plethora of other things contributed to the Sonics' demise last night.

But The Great Short Hope was set up by some other things, namely Lewis, Allen, and Ridnour combining for 13-for-18 third-quarrter shooting. The Sonics weren't taking it to the basket a lot. When you start missing this many times, you get long rebounds, which can be somewhat unpredictable. Miss a few shots, miss a few rebounds, and the Nuggets get some easy fast-break layups. It wouldn't have been so bad if it wasn't so repetitive.

I won't pick any bones with Locke's column. I'll just read the sentence that says "[c]onsidering that Allen is one of the great fourth-quarter players in the NBA..." and point out that the article was more than likely written before the game and not after it. Ray Allen missed all four shots he took in the fourth quarter. He didn't end up hitting a shot again until under a minute remained in overtime, and the game was well out of reach.

My goodness, Vitaly Potapenko might have the same deal that Reggie Evans had. At least this won't throw the rotation out of whack as badly.

Friday vs. Minnesota
Sunday vs. Utah

Everett coach Kevin Constantine isn't necessarily ragging on his second-place team when he says they won't catch Seattle. He's being more realistic, if anything. The Thunderbirds have been crazy-hot all season, and they still haven't lost consecutive games. Meanwhile, the Silvertips haven't won a game in five tries against Vancouver.

Wilkes-Barre Scranton beat Manitoba 5-4 in a shootout (video). The Penguins pulled their goalie for an extra attacker down one goal late in the third period, and it worked. Tomas Surovy forced the game into overtime, which went scoreless, and Wilkes-Barre Scranton stole the second point away from the Moose in the shootout. Josh Green scored got the early Manitoba lead on a power play, and the lead changed hands when Alex Auld misplayed an iced puck into his own net in the second period. Peter Sarno eventually tied the game at 2-2 to make Auld feel less badly. Lee Goren stormed out of the penalty box and got the Moose a 3-2 lead, which was later answered with another shorthanded goal. Nathan Smith redirected a Wade Brookbank point shot for the 4-3 lead before the Penguins got that late third period goal to push to the overtime and shootout. The Moose were outshot 25-22, and Alex Auld stopped 21 in the Manitoba net.

Tomorrow: Seattle at Prince George, Wilkes-Barre Scranton at Manitoba
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, Everett at Spokane, Vancouver at Tri-City, Manitoba at Edmonton
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Kootenay
Sunday: Vancouver at Portland, Manitoba at Edmonton

Everybody out there have a jolly Wednesday.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005


Nuggets 116, SuperSonics 110 (OT)

(swap Radmanovic and Lewis in the SportsLine boxscore for the starting lineup)

(final content posted ~10:32p)

Here's what I have for tonight's game. Postgame thoughts are below the in-game stuff, and set apart by three dashes.

As we knew before the game, Nene was not going to play for the Nuggets due to his suspension. However, Rashard Lewis has suited up and Kenyon Martin is a late scratch with strep throat, and Vitaly Potapenko is out with a stomach ailment. Yikes. Rashard's re-insertion into the lineup gives the Sonics the same lineup they had from the beginning of the season until Reggie Evans had that vicious GI tract ailment.

1st qtr
10:26 Ridnour left side long jumper first Sonic basket DEN 4-2. 8:34 James offensive rebound, goes to rack and fouled, hits both DEN 6-4. 7:08 DEN 12-4, Nuggets driving the rack at will, Sonics not putting hands in the faces of open shooters. 5:22 Lewis three left side DEN 17-11. 4:55 baseline turnaround Lewis jumper DEN 17-13. 3:57 Allen feed to Radmanovic in lane for easy slam DEN 19-15. 3:20 Radmanovic unguarded three after ball movement DEN 21-18. 0:58 Radmanovic stuffs Elson.

After one quarter -- Denver 23, Seattle 22

The Sonics started out pretty cold shootingwise, and one step slow defensively. Luckily they got it back in step a bit, culminating defensively in the Radmanovic block of Francisco Elson, just seconds after the Sonics lost the ball not long after the inbound. Four Danny Fortson free throws over the last 48 seconds got the Sonics to within two at the end of the quarter.

2nd qtr
11:57 Daniels drives lane, hits high layup SEA 24-23, first Sonic lead. 11:02 Daniels on a jumper SEA 26-23. 10:27 Daniels for three off a screen, he's warming up...SEA 29-25. 9:12 Fortson gets a tipped ball off a miss, lays in SEA 33-27. 8:36 Fortson cleans up his own miss. 6:39 Vlad finishes off fast break with dunk SEA 39-29.3:07 Lewis from the right corner three SEA 46-33. 2:05 transition Ridnour lob Rashard slam SEA 48-33. 1:41 Ridnour finds Rashard AGAIN on the break for a slam SEA 50-35. 0:55.3 Radmanovic turnaround baseline jumphook SEA 52-38.

Halftime -- Seattle 52, Denver 42

Well, what a great second quarter by the Sonics. Antonio Daniels was on, the Sonics shot better, and the team cranked it up on defense, as the Nuggets were having trouble getting any easy shots. Their only true offense of the first half was Marcus Camby drilling jumpers from around the top of the key.

Half stats
team shooting 20-for-40 (50%) from the field, perfect in 8 attempts from the line, 4-for-13 from downtown (30%)

Antonio Daniels had 13 pts, Rashard Lewis 12, Vladimir Radmanovic 9 (6 reb), Danny Fortson 8. Radmanovic and Fortson both lead the team in rebounds with 6.

Lewis had some very nice moves and he's been a big factor in the offense, which is good considering his knee tendinitis. Judging by the results and how well he seems to be moving, I'm hardly able to tell he has knee tendinitis at all.

The good thing about Lewis scoring 12 and Daniels going nuts is that it makes up for Ray Allen only being 2-for-7 from the field; he only scored 4 in the first half.

3rd qtr
10:43 James runs floor and STUFFS Camby on the fast break. 8:31 Lewis three SEA 59-50. Sonics losing a few balls, missing a few baskets, Nuggets hitting layins on fast breaks, catching up. 5:50 Miller fast break layup, Nuggets have hit 7 of 9 shots. 4:51 James turnaround jumper in lane SEA 63-58. 4:22 Lewis hits cutting Radmanovic for easy layup SEA 65-58. 3:17 Ridnour nice driving layup SEA 67-60. 1:44 NUGGETS INEXPLICABLY TIE GAME 69-69.

After three quarters -- Seattle 71, Denver 69

How to sum up that third quarter? Well, the Sonics shot something like 33 or 35% in the quarter, so that's not good. Compound that with a drop in proficience on the offensive boards, and you get the Nuggets getting fast breaks every time you look at the television. Also, Ray Allen is shooting 5-for-15 from the floor tonight. Let's see if the fourth quarter really is the one that matters tonight for Ray.

4th qtr
10:55 Carmelo Anthony down after crumbling in a heap; heads to the locker room. 9:48 Boykins WIDE-OPEN THREE DEN 74-73, answered by Radmanovic three. 8:29 Radmanovic THREE after broken play with bodies down (Denver four missed shots in close) SEA 79-74. 7:47 Ridnour no-look to Fortson for layup down low, fouled, hits SEA 82-74. 5:11 Daniels misses, gone dead cold after hitting first six shots. 4:40 Allen can't hit FREE THROWS either, splits pair SEA 85-83. 4:09 RADMANOVIC THREE SEA 88-85, his fourth three-ball of the game. 3:13 Sonics over the limit. 2:21 Allen to the line, drawing contact hits two SEA 90-89, answered by Russell three. 1:50 Lewis cleans up driving Allen miss TIE 92-92. 1:23 DANIELS THREE, shaking off the cobwebs SEA 95-92. 1:08 Miller loses the ball on offense, only their second turnover of the half. 0:01.8 Camby tips in, TIES GAME at 95-95. 0:00 Allen bricks falling away out of bounds, he's 5-for-20.

After regulation -- Denver 95, Seattle 95

Man, Denver's really hanging in there. Marcus Camby looks like an absolute world-beater tonight. He's got his 3rd career game of 20 points and 20 rebounds. I'm sure this doesn't signify much good when it comes to the Sonics' interior defense, but oh well. All in all, the Sonics have allowed 27 and 26 points in the 3rd and 4th quarters in this game.

THE MOTHERF*%&ING EARL BOYKINS SHOW (13 pts in the qtr). 0:58.7 Allen three his first basket of 4th/OT DEN 108-102.

Final -- Denver 116, Seattle 110 (OT)

I thought the damn Nuggets were the team that played last night? What the hell happened out there? No Nene, no Kenyon Martin, and Carmelo Anthony twists an ankle in the fourth quarter, but the Nuggets still pull it out.

I'm incredibly ticked off by this one.

The Sonics let this one get away. They had a decent lead in the third quarter and they failed to put the Nuggets away.

How did it happen?

Well, if Ray Allen bricked a billion shots, so that didn't help. As for how the offensive rebounding went, I'll give you a hint -- the Sonics had just one more offensive rebound than Allen had missed shots. Also, Marcus Camby had well over 20 boards, so you can guess that most of those probably were on the defensive side for him.

So what happens when you miss a bunch of shots and Marcus Camby is rebounding everything? The Nuggets go on the fast break, they turn it into a track meet for a bit, and they eventually get the lead for a bit and push it into overtime, where the Munchkin (Charles Barkley's words, not mine) carries the team on his back and gets them the win.


The sick part is, the Sonics had some good rebounding numbers, Fortson had another good night on the boards, Evans got into double digits, and Radmanovic was rebounding well too, but they just didn't get the offensive boards they needed at the right moments. I know you can't plan to completely take a team out of the fast break for a game, but it seemed for a couple minutes' span there that the Nuggets were turning every other missed Sonic shot into a track-meet fast-break layup on the other end, and that whittled the lead away very quickly.

What's really disturbing for me is that there were a few ill-timed missed free throws. What's really disturbing is the guys who missed them -- Danny Fortson and Ray Allen. If either of those guys just sinks one more free throw in the fourth quarter, well, it doesn't end up tied at the end of the fourth quarter.

Basically, Ray Allen was terrible, Antonio Daniels was torrid in the second quarter and cooled off bigtime, Rashard Lewis was solid for coming off knee tendinitis...

...but it seemed that Danny Fortson wasn't having his way down low like we're used to seeing. That goes for all of the Sonics' frontcourt, really. How else does Marcus Camby explode for a 20/20 night? I'll give credit where credit is due, but damn...

Rashard Lewis 17 pts/7 reb/2 ast (7-17 FG, 3-10 3pt, no free throws), Ray Allen 17 pts/5 reb/3 ast (6-22 FG, 1-8 3pt, 4-6 free throws), Luke Ridnour 8 pts (4-13 FG, no free throws), Reggie Evans 1 pt/10 reb (21 min)

Vlad Radmanovic 25 pts/9 reb (10-19 FG, 4-9 3pt), Antonio Daniels 20 pts/2 reb/5 ast (8-12 FG, 2-3 3pt), Danny Fortson 16 pts/9 reb (5-7 FG, 6-7 free throws, 26 min), Nick Collison 2 pts/1 reb (13 min)

Jerome James Watch
4 pts/4 reb/1 blk (12 min)

shot 41-for-93 from the field (44.1%), shot 10-for-31 from downtown (32.3%), shot 18-for-23 from the line (78.3%, Denver went 29-for-32 for 90.6%), outrebounded Denver 51-46, scored 4 points off 6 Denver turnovers (Denver scored 16 off of 16 Sonic turnovers), were beat 22-10 on the fast break, led by 15 at one point in the game, bench outscored Denver bench 63-36 (outrebounded them 21-6)

By the way, The Earl Boykins Show in overtime was an NBA-record for points by a player in overtime (15). Again, it's embarrassing. A guy two inches shorter than me did this.

The sad thing is that before the peek, I slammed on Fortson for missing one free throw out of seven tonight. Ray Allen missed two of six, but he also missed 16 out of 22 jumpers, so...yeah, he sucked tonight. Ray tells the team that good teams win in the fourth quarter. Ray Allen didn't hit a basket in the fourth quarter tonight. His only basket in the fourth quarter and/or overtime came with under a minute left and the game out of reach.

Luke Ridnour also missed 9 of 13 shots tonight, so that wasn't good either. I know with any loss, you'd like to have that game back, but I think that's especially the case with this one.

I asked Jinkies what he thought about Marcus Camby's absolutely crazy night of 25 points and 24 rebounds. His reply: "I am not wearing anything of course. I am a cat."

I'm telling you, I don't know what I'm going to do when Jinkies runs out of unique replies. It's going to be a sad day. I might have to go to Hasselhoff, but I think he's only good for about five or six different replies.

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You wanted it, you got it.

Video of Keith from Atlanta singing "Like A Virgin"

I'm having difficulty breathing right now.

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There's nothing sports-related in this post, but I won't apologize for that. The great thing about our site is that we can talk about whatever the hell we want, even if it isn't sports-related.

So, in my first PSA of 2005, the season premiere of "American Idol" is on tonight at 8 p.m. Pacific, 7 Central on FOX. No, I don't care about who's a good singer on that show. I care about the awfully bad singers. It's the reason why I watch the damn show, at least for the first few weeks anyway.

Here's hoping that we'll be able to add another person to the infamous group of bad "Idol" singers that includes Keith from Atlanta ("Like A Virgin") and everybody's favorite, William Hung.

Oh, and I lied. There IS something sports-related in this post...

Ron Villone doesn't deserve a 2-year deal. See David's post below.

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The sad thing is that I know this isn't the first time I've used that post title here.

That said, I challenge anyone out there to try and at least lay out a half-logical argument as to why giving two years and $4.2M to Ron Villone is a good thing, because I am absolutely not seeing it right now.

I'll post my favorite part of that blurb, and I'll bold the parts I liked/hated the most.
    Villone, who turned 36 on Jan. 16, appeared in 56 games last season. He went 6-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 46 relief appearances, and was 2-2 with a 5.43 ERA in 10 starts. The lefty held opposing hitters to a .232 average and was especially tough on left-handed batters (.203).
He's a relief guy first, so if they're overpaying for versatility, then to me it makes no sense because of that sparkling 5.43 ERA as a starter.

If the Mariners hadn't already made huge moves this offseason, I'd be a lot more irate right now. Can you imagine how ticked off we'd all be if there were no big signings, and this one would have been one of the bigger moves of the offseason? The fact that it might still be one is, well, sickening.

I can't think of a creative way to end this post, so I'll do the only thing I can think of doing...


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Welcome to Tuesday. I've sifted through the articles and I've decided that it indeed is a pretty slow load today. The Sonics play tonight, however.

On TV tonight -- Nuggets at SuperSonics (7p, FSNNW)

Spring training is creeping closer and closer. I haven't been this excited for completely meaningless baseball in a long time.

You know, I'm not sure whether this Levesque piece strikes me as ambitious or abstract. Basically Levesque says that the Seahawks need a "face" of the franchise. He says Paul Allen obviously can't be it, because he announced the firing of Bob Whitsitt via speakerphone. He says it can't be Mike Holmgren, because he's only the coach and can't make individual player moves or anything like that anymore. This team doesn't have any sort of personality like a Jerry Jones or anything like that. What Levesque appears to be getting at is that one of the people that is higher up than Holmgren, someone that puts the stamp directly on the personnel moves, should be the face of this franchise and therefore take accountability for the good and bad things that happen to the team. Though I don't wake up every morning thinking about who the proverbial face of the Seahawks should be, it's not a totally hokey thing. I'm just surprised that John Levesque got that much column space out of it. It's a hefty read.

Rick Neuheisel apparently will be named the QBs coach for the Baltimore Ravens today. With what's gone on with Neuheisel in this region over the past few years, I should probably be interested in this story. Instead, it's barely registering much more than a smidgen on the I-Don't-Give-A-Crapometer. If anything, just the fact that the Ravens have Art Modell, Brian Billick, Rick Neuheisel, Ray Lewis, and an awful number font on their uniforms will give me more than enough to hate them for years to come.

Also, Jeremy elaborated on this earlier, but Jim Moore's got his piece as well on the Deja Vu Independence Bowl that was shot down immediately. Jim's piece is worth it just to get to the final line. It's priceless.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels came up 6th in this week's AP poll after the road loss to Wake Forest. Based on this, the only free RPI thingie I could find, the Tar Heels were a mere 13th in the RPI, behind four Pac10 schools.

The Tar Heels are at Clemson tomorrow.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Huskies have cracked the top 10 in the AP Poll. They are only the 5th team in Husky men's basketball history to do that. The Huskies are 15-2. Other teams in the top 10 with two losses: #5 Oklahoma State (13-2), #6 North Carolina (14-2), #8 Kentucky (12-2). The Huskies are also 6th in the RPI.

The Huskies are home against Washington State on Sunday (FSNNW).

No, I didn't forget about the Zags. They were right behind the Huskies, 11th in the AP Poll, but they're 10th in the RPI.

The Zags go to the Bay Area to face the Dons of USF on Thursday (KONG 6/16 broadcast).

I should be worried about Ray Allen's contract negotiations not getting much done, but for some very odd reason, I'm not. Ray isn't getting too bombarded with questions about his contract future for now, though the questions will be flying should this drag closer to the trading deadline. I can guarantee you one thing, though. If the Sonics right now were having the season that people were truly expecting them to have before the season started, the questions would be everywhere and Ray quite possibly might not be a Sonic right now.

One interesting thing at the end of that P-I article is the little 12-game snippets they took of the Sonics points scored/allowed and rebounding differential per game, and the associated records. In short, they're allowing more points and rebounding less.

Also, Rashard Lewis will probably not play tonight, and Vitaly Potapenko skipped out on practice without notifying anybody, but should be available tonight.

Lastly, the Nuggets will be without the services of Nene (fka Nene Hilario) as he is serving a four-game suspension for a fight with Michael Olowokandi of the Timberwolves, who in turn will be serving his suspension with his team facing the Sonics as well.

Yes, the Nuggets played at Golden State last night.

Tonight vs. Denver
Friday vs. Minnesota
Sunday vs. Utah

I'm not sure it's news, but the owners and players will be heading back to the bargaining table, though with slightly different personnel, for one last shot in the dark in an attempt to rescue this season. It looks bleak, and I'm assuming nothing comes out of it.

No games last night, so it's standings...

(rank_team_games played, record[pts], streak, last 10)

Western Conference
US Division
1 Seattle Thunderbirds 43, 31-11-0-1[63], W2, 8-2-0
2 Everett Silvertips 45, 21-16-6-2[50], W1, 4-6-0
3 Portland Winter Hawks 47, 18-21-4-4[44], L1, 3-6-1
4 Spokane Chiefs 44, 15-21-7-1[38], L1, 4-6-0
5 Tri-City Americans 41, 15-20-4-2, L5, 4-6-0

BC Division
1 Kelowna Rockets 47, 26-10-9-2[63], W1, 6-4-0
2 Kootenay Ice 46, 29-13-4-0[62], W7, 8-2-0
3 Vancouver Giants 46, 25-18-1-2[53], L1, 6-4-0
4 Prince George Cougars, 19-23-3-1[42], L1, 4-6-0
5 Kamloops Blazers 45, 17-23-3-2[39], L2, 5-4-1

(rank_team_(NHL affiliate)_games played, record[pts])

Western Conference -- North Division
1 Manitoba Moose (Vancouver) 40, 27-10-1-2[57]
2 Rochester Americans (Buffalo) 40, 25-9-3-3[56]
3 Saint John's Maple Leafs (Toronto) 40, 25-14-0-1[51]
4 Edmonton Road Runners (Edmonton) 41, 20-13-3-5[48]
5 Hamilton Bulldogs (Montreal) 42, 16-18-4-4[40]
6 Cleveland Barons (San Jose) 41, 18-20-1-2[39]
7 Syracuse Crunch (Columbus) 39, 15-18-3-3[36]

(rank_team games played, record[pts])

Western Division
1 Portland Pioneers 31, 28-3-0[56]
2 Puget Sound Tomahawks 32, 26-5-1[53]
3 Tri-City Titans 32, 10-21-1[21]
4 River City Jaguars 31, 5-26-0[10]

Tonight: Wilkes-Barre Scranton at Manitoba
Thursday: Seattle at Prince George, Wilkes-Barre Scranton at Manitoba
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, Everett at Spokane, Vancouver at Tri-City, Manitoba at Edmonton
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Kootenay
Sunday: Vancouver at Portland, Manitoba at Edmonton

Everybody have a great day. And beware of the penguins. Yes, I know they don't show that commercial anymore.

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Monday, January 17, 2005


According to Pro Football Talk, rumors are circulating that Seahawks owner Paul Allen will bring back Randy Mueller and Mike Reinfeldt to the franchise. The report has Mueller as general manager and Reinfeldt as president.

While I said in my case for Mueller that he should be hired as president, I don't think I'll have a problem with him as general manager. If you've taken the time to read my case, you'd also know that I want Reinfeldt back in Seattle as well. Reinfeldt would be better served as the Seahawks president, while Mueller can deal with the football side of things as GM. But barring any changes in plan, it looks like many Seahawks fans will get their wish.

What does this mean for Bob Ferguson? That remains to be seen. But Mueller is certainly someone that nobody should raise their noses at. The man is a damn good football executive and should never have been able to leave Seattle in the first place. But the past is the past and the Seahawks are headed in the right direction.

Sure, Paul Allen could have gotten rid of Bob Whitsitt a long time ago. But as the old saying goes, it's better late than never. Removing Whitsitt from the Seahawks front office was a move that had to be done.

More importantly, bringing Mueller and Reinfeldt back to the Seahawks front office are two moves that have to be done. Stay tuned.

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First, the NFL signs an exclusive licensing deal with EA Sports.

Now, ESPN will be featured on the EA Sports games, effective in 2006.

I've enjoyed the ESPN sports titles from SEGA and Visual Concepts over the past few months (NFL 2K5, NHL 2K5, NBA 2K5, and College Hoops 2K5). Even with the price of $19.99 for each of these games, all four games are solid. I've played the hell out of College Hoops 2K5 since Christmas. Major League Baseball 2K5 will be out soon, so I can't wait to play that game.

But as of 2006, it's all EA Sports.

I can only hope that EA Sports doesn't get complacent in the coming years, although that is very unlikely.

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Remember when the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisiana used to be known as the "Poulan Weedeater Independence Bowl"? Personally, I just called it the Weedwacker Bowl.

As hideous as that name was, could you imagine this name? (link is SFW)

The Deja Vu Independence Bowl

However, the I-Bowl committee wants nothing to do with Deja Vu, which is understandable. But what if the bowl game was sponsored by Deja Vu? Here's how I'd run the Deja Vu Independence Bowl:

---Free Deja Vu passes to every fan 18 or older
---For every pass interference penalty, a Deja Vu woman has to come out to the spot of the foul and give the crowd a little show (a clean show, however)
---One lucky fan would receive a lap dance (announced at the end of the 3rd quarter). However, true to form, there is to be no touching.
---At halftime, instead of the bands performing their usual music, they must perform Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" while the Deja Vu women do their thing.
---Not only will there be cheerleaders for both teams, Deja Vu will provide an all-star crew to be located in each end zone.

If you have any comments on this, and I know you do, leave them in the comments box. Keep them clean, please. I kept mine clean, although it was hard to do considering the circumstances.


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Whoa, that post title works on two levels. I should note that if I'm ever trying too hard for post titles, it's because I watched way too much of Win Ben Stein's Money when that show was still airing on Comedy Central.

Before we start here, three huge cheers to Marine Lt. Col. Dick Francisco (Ret.), who is putting together an athletic equipment drive for the children of the tsunami catastrophe. If you read the article, you'll see that this definitely isn't the first time the colonel has done something like this. What a guy. You can't say enough about these kinds of people.

Also, the KJR site's got a much-needed new look. I wasn't sure how much longer I could deal with the dominant red and the datedness of the whole thing. Now it's sleek.

Now, the usual...

There's just under 31 days remaining until pitchers and catches report as I'm writing this. Giddy be me. Over this paragraph is.

Count Clare Farnsworth as a member of the Bring Back Randy Mueller crew. Much like Jeremy laid out, a hire of Mueller would just make too much sense. While if they didn't hire him for some odd reason, I could chalk it up to being typically Seattle, I don't want to have to do that. The Mariners made some big huge moves this offseason, and dang it, now I'm expecting more out of my sports teams. The Mariners just had their biggest offseason ever, and now it's time for the Seahawks to have theirs, and Whitsitt getting canned was just the beginning. A hire of Mueller (and hopefully a hire back of Mike Reinfeldt as well) would bring some harmony and some pride back to the brass of the Seahawks and gear them up for the tenuous offseason ahead in terms of player moves.

The Marvin Williams Watch
The Tar Heels are at Clemson on Wednesday.

Does it seem like Brandon Roy has missed nine of the Huskies' 17 games this season? Well, he has. I remember I was sitting in my car outside the local Rite-Aid running an errand, but stalling while I listened to his clutchness in that NC State game. I know we'd be talking about Roy's injury a lot more if the Huskies were losing a bunch of games, but they're making up for Roy's absence as best as they can, and they seem to be doing a solid job of it.

To follow up on the condition of Oregon State coach Jay John, who left the game Saturday night complaining of shortness of breath and chest pains, he was released from the UW Medical Center. Doctors said John had a "hypertensive event," and he was to return home last night.

The Huskies are home against Washington State on Sunday (FSNNW).

The Zags go to the Bay Area to face the Dons of USF on Thursday (KONG 6/16 broadcast).

For my take on last night's game, scroll down one post or click here if you're in the archive.

Before I get to the meat of the Sonics' part of the post here, let me just say I'm so glad the Sonics have a TV deal with FSNNW this year. This isn't just because I'd been complaining about having no Sonics television coverage for four years out in Ellensburg. It's sort of because I was reminded of something when I was looking at this, which is what some places in Vancouver do when the Canucks have a pay-per-view game on television. This of course made me harken back to my youth, when the Sonics were good, but NONE of their home games would EVER be televised on anything but Sonics TV pay-per-view. I swear to you once KeyArena opened up, I don't think I even knew how the floor was painted until the playoffs came around and NBC actually had to show the home games, probably with Barry Ackerley begging and pleading for them to black the games out or something, and then turn around and try to put it on pay-per-view. I can't remember if they blacked out TNT games to the Seattle area so Ackerley could show them on PPV.

Ray's more than likely on to something with this fourth quarter thing, and he's been drilling it into the heads of his teammates. An additional amount of clutchness was provided by two of the x-factors on this team, Vladimir Radmanovic and Danny Fortson. Also a big thing were free throws, which I gave many a word to in my game post.

And here's even more press given to Radmanovic. Hooray for having 6'10" guys able to rain threes. Take it from LeBron, it's hard to guard a guy that's playing the 4 when that guy is bombing threes and hitting them. When you run someone out there to guard him, well, that leaves one less tree or semi-tree in the lane.

Ray Allen answered LeBron James' three late in the fourth quarter with a three of his own to basically seal the deal for the Sonics. What's amazing is that Ray Allen's first basket in the second half came with 4:30 left in the game. After that, he hit two more. Of course, Allen's long dry spell in the game is the reason why he said, "[t]hey did a good defensive job on me tonight." I'd hate to see what happens is somebody doesn't do a good job on him defensively. More than 27 points? There's also a bit in the article about the big run in the third quarter coinciding with the presence of Danny Fortson. Evidently Zydrunas Ilgauskas wasn't really digging the whole contact thing with Fortson. If David Locke or someone out there is keeping plus-minus stats, I'd like to see what Danny Fortson's plus-minus numbers are this year. They were incredible tonight.

Art Thiel has more on the LeBron James Experience. He scored 12 of Cleveland's final 14 points, but Thiel points out that the Cavaliers had the same problem the Heat did -- the four other guys on the Heat sat and watched when Shaq got the ball, and it appears that Cleveland was the same way when LeBron was getting the ball and doing his work. Basically, they let LeBron have his points, along with Drew Gooden and a dash of Zydrunas Ilgauskas. However, the Sonics didn't give up much else, as the bench comparisons indicate.

Rashard Lewis sat out his second straight game with knee tendinitis. The Sonics won without him, but one wonders what kind of job he would have done defensively on LeBron. Oh well. They won. Heal up, Rashard.

By the way, when you see the upcoming schedule here, keep in mind the fact that Nene (fka Nene Hilario) of the Denver Nuggets and Michael Olowokandi of the Timberwolves will be serving suspensions. At first glance, this should mean a couple of bigger games out of Danny Fortson and maybe even a double-digit scoring night for Jerome James, though I know that might be a stretch. But he got eight points last night.

Tomorrow vs. Denver
Friday vs. Minnesota
Sunday vs. Utah

Coming up on Wednesday at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver is the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, featuring the top 40 ranked prospects from the Canadian Hockey League (the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). This game would have a lot more meaning if an upcoming NHL Entry Draft was a sure thing to actually take place. Nonetheless, featured from the WHL teams covered on this page are Scott Jackson of Seattle on a team coached by John Davidson, as well as Gilbert Brule of Vancouver, Chris Durand of Seattle, and Portland teammates Brendan Mikkelson and Mike Sauer on a team coached by Don Cherry. Also featured are Sidney Crosby (consensus #1 pick in an upcoming NHL draft) and badass Tri-City goaltender Carey Price, who had three shutouts in a short span of something like four days last month.

To the games...
Seattle shut out Vancouver 1-0. Vancouver is 5-0 against Everett, but they're now 0-5 against Seattle this season. Ryan Gibbons' goal came early in the third period, and it was the only goal of the game after a scoreless first two periods of play. An ill-fated clearing attempt led to the puck ending up on Matt Hansen's stick, who fed Gibbons for the goal. Both teams killed off 5-on-3s in the second period, and the Giants outshot the Thunderbirds 13-6 in the period. Still, the Giants have only managed 3 goals in their five games against Seattle. Shots were 24-15 in Vancouver's favor. Adam Jennings stopped 14 for the Giants, and Bryan Bridges stopped all 24 for his 9th shutout this season to lead the WHL.

Everett beat Spokane 3-1. The Silvertips broke their four-game skid thanks to two goals from Alex Leavitt and another by captain Torrie Wheat. Wheat tallied his goal on a very early Spokane hooking penalty just 2:37 into the game. Leavitt also scored on the power play, just past the nine-minute mark of the middle period, which was good for the game-winner. Leavitt iced the game with an empty-netter in the final period. A side-note to the game was a boarding penalty on Everett's Mike Wuchterl which resulted in stitches for Chris Bruton of the Chiefs. Spokane coach Al Conroy was promising that league offices would "get a copy of the tape," and was expecting a suspension. This isn't the first time the Silvertips have been involved in this sort of incident this season, as then-Silvertip Barry Horman slashed Portland's Brandon Dubinsky, resulting in a loss of a flesh chunk off Dubinsky's fingertip. Horman got a one-game suspension from the league. Back to this game, shots were 26 apiece, and Leland Irving stopped 25 in the Everett net, even though Mike Wall was on the ice for the exact minute that Leavitt scored the winner, so he gets the win for being on the ice for one minute. Crazy.

Manitoba beat Houston 3-1. The Moose swept their three games in Texas and have gone 14 road games (12-0-1-1) without a loss in regulation. Peter Sarno scored just 1:47 into the game, and the Moose added two more goals in the second period thanks to Josh Green. The only goal by the Aeros was on a 90-foot shot by Mikko Koivu (yes, he's Saku's brother). Alex Auld's got a little Cloutier in him after all. Houston badly outshot Manitoba 39-22, but Alex Auld stopped 38 shots other than the long goal by Koivu, giving him his sixth straight win.

Tomorrow: Wilkes-Barre Scranton at Manitoba
Thursday: Seattle at Prince George, Wilkes-Barre Scranton at Manitoba
Friday: Portland at Kelowna, Everett at Spokane, Vancouver at Tri-City, Manitoba at Edmonton
Saturday: Portland at Seattle, Everett at Kootenay
Sunday: Vancouver at Portland, Manitoba at Edmonton

Have a great day and a great start to the week, and if it's a day off for you, remember for at least an instant that it's not only a day off.

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Sunday, January 16, 2005


Here's some stuff for tonight's game, with postgame thoughts coming after the in-game stuff, as usual.

(final content posted ~10:09p)

Rashard Lewis is once again a scratch tonight with knee tendinitis.

1st qtr
10:46 Allen baseline nifty reverse layup SEA 4-0. 10:06 Daniels nifty circle around defense layup SEA 6-0. 9:12 Daniels blows by for another layup, Ridnour steals inbounds, Ray Allen three SEA 11-2. 8:30 ANOTHER Daniels layup SEA 13-4. 4:33 Daniels from top of key SEA 21-15, answered by Gooden foul and one. 1:28 nice ball movement Radmanovic stop in lane, to Collison for slam SEA 26-22. 0:48.7 Radmanovic left open for three SEA 29-22.

After one quarter -- Seattle 29, Cleveland 24

The Sonics jumped out early in the quarter, and the Cavaliers slowly got back into it and eventually got within two points. The Collison dunbk and the Radmanovic three toward the end of the quarter gave the Sonics a better grip on the lead though. The Sonics gave up 24 points in the quarter, which wouldn't usually be good, but LeBron James hasn't gotten all the way to the basket that much, so that's a positive. In an odd note, Drew Gooden scored 10 in the first quarter, leading all scorers.

2nd qtr
11:33 Murray down low baseline pass Collison slam SEA 31-26. 9:19 Allen takes it right to Varejao for a layup SEA 33-28. 7:18 Vlad bad pass for 9th Sonic turnover. 7:03 Pavlovic gets the first Cleveland lead CLE 35-34. 6:12 Allen with moves on Z SEA 38-37. 5:29 Radmanovic right side three SEA 41-37. 3:48 Allen left side wide-open three SEA 48-41, answered by LeBron. 2:48 Daniels and Radmanovic on 2-on-1 break, Vlad slams SEA 50-44. 2:14 Vitaly over-the-back loose-ball foul is Sonics' 10th turnover. 0:54.8 Radmanovic losses dribble out of bounds, 11th Sonic turnover. 0:31 Allen turnover, 12th of half for Sonics. 0:05 Vlad three CLE 55-53.

Halftime -- Cleveland 55, Seattle 53

Well, the Sonics did go on a 7-0 lead at one point, but they've turned the ball over 13 times in the first half according to the broadcast. That's a lot. That should be enough for a whole game. Sonic assistant coach Dwane Casey noted that it's the turnovers that are leading to most of LeBron's points (fast break).

Half stats
Vladimir Radmanovic has 15 off the bench, and Ray Allen has 14 points. Antonio Daniels has 8 (four assists too), Luke Ridnour has 7. Eerily, Daniels leads the team in rebounds with 4, but five other Sonics have 3. Vitaly Potapenko had two offensive rebounds in the same possession, which normally would lead to something good, except the Sonics found a way to turn it over.

The Sonics are shooting 50% from the floor in the first half, and they're outrebounding the Cavaliers 22-14 (SportsLine), but the turnovers are doing them in right now. I'll go on a limb and say the Sonics would probably have a ten-point lead right now if they just took care of the ball in the first half.

3rd qtr
11:41 Jerome James (3 fouls) draws a charge from Z. 11:32 ball off Reggie Evans' hands, 14th Sonic turnover. 9:13 Daniels drive and kick to James for slam CLE 59-55. 7:11 Evans drive to basket, loses dribble out of bounds. 6:38 James over Z CLE 61-59. 6:24 Ridnour foul on floor, Sonics at limit, then LeBron hits a three. 5:46 I never knew physical taunting was an infraction, but it just got called on Ira Newble. 4:44 Vlad gets two bounces and in on a three CLE 66-63, answered by Z basket on nice pass from LeBron. 3:35 Daniels called for charge on layup, 17th turnover, Z layin CLE 72-63. 2:54 Cleveland over limit, Allen hits two free throws. 2:26 Fortson hits one free throw CLE 72-66, Vlad fouls on the rebound. 2:17 Ridnour nice drive layup (bounces), foul and one CLE 74-69. 1:43 Allen fouled, hits two CLE 74-71. 0:59.2 Allen running in transition, contact foul sends him to line, hits one CLE 74-72. 0:33.9 Daniels on break finds Fortson behind the defense, easy layup TIE 74-74. 0:07.2 Snow fouls Daniels, sends to line hits two SEA 76-75, 13-2 run since Fortson came in (nine free throws).

After three quarters -- Seattle 76, Cleveland 75

Wow. I'm extremely happy with the way the Sonics got back into this game. Cleveland was in the penalty pretty early in the quarter, and the Sonics kept going to the rack and/or drawing contact and going to the free-throw line. Guess what? They're a great free-throw shooting team. If you ask me, going to the rack as often as possible should be the Sonics' strategy any time they get behind by a few baskets. Thanks to all the free throws, the Sonics actually lead after three quarters, after being down by 9 at one point. The Sonics now have four in double figures (Allen 20, Radmanovic 18, Daniels 10, Ridnour 10).

The Sonics only turned the ball over three times in the third quarter.

4th qtr
11:44 Murray throws out of bounds, 18th Sonic turnover, LeBron hits jumper. 10:47 Fortson found found down low, fouled, hits two SEA 78-77. 10:28 Daniels wide-open three SEA 81-77. 9:22 Murray turnover outdone by weird Snow zoo...I can't describe it. 9:11 Ridnour steps on baseline after rebound. 8:38 Radmanovic straightaway three with hand in face SEA 84-79. 8:17 Z CHARGE on Fortson, his 5th foul. 8:01 pick-and-roll Ridnour to Fortson driving lane layup SEA 86-79, 9-2 SEA run. 7:49 Fortson stuffs LeBron! 7:17 LeBron goes right back up against Fortson for a foul and one. 7:08 Ridnour untouched to the glass for a layup SEA 88-82. 6:48 LeBron charges Daniels, blocks Collison on ensuing possession. 5:46 Collison fouls, Cleveland gets about three or four offensive boards on the possession. 5:13 Collison loses ball down low, 20 turnovers. 4:30 Allen gets his own miss, lays it in down low over two Cavs SEA 90-83, his first basket of second half. 3:59 Fortson thankfully back in. 3:13 Ridnour fouls, Gooden to line (over limit) hits two SEA 90-86. 2:58 VLAD SLAM through the lane SEA 92-86. 1:55 Lucious Harris SEA 92-88, Cavs had missed eight straight shots. 1:38 Allen running righty baseline SEA 94-88, answered by LeBron three. 1:13 ALLEN THREE SEA 97-91. 0:42.1 Fortson fouls out on a moving high pick. 0:28.4 Ridnour fouled, hits two SEA 99-93, IT'S A FOULFEST.

Final -- Seattle 105, Cleveland 97

Mabel Heins, a Sonic fan 97 years young today, said during the game to Cara Capuano that she likes the Sonics' togetherness this year. Mabel received the gameball from Luke Ridnour after the buzzer. Mabel rules.

As disturbing as it was to see the Sonics nearly kick this game away by turning the ball over so many times, it was just as gratifying to see the Sonics hold on to the ball better in the second half and most importantly, go to the free-throw line, where they got their lead back and won this game. Having the Sonics get to the free-throw line a bunch of times is always a sound strategy, if you ask me.

In somewhat similar fashion to the last game against the Warriors, the Sonics allowed a ton of points in the first half (55 tonight), but they played better defense in the second half, allowing only 42 points. However, a lot of that had to do with the fact that the Sonics weren't turning over the ball as much and therefore the Cavaliers weren't able to get onto the fast break as many times, i.e., less high-flying LeBron James dunks, as fun as they are to watch.

The Sonics jumped out to a great start in this game before they started turning the ball over en masse in the first half and Cleveland got back into the game. The Sonics led by as much as 11 at one point in the first half, but their sloppy play in the first half and into part of the third quarter resulted in Cleveland getting ahead. The Cavs' largest lead of the game was 9, which was in the third quarter.

Then the Cavaliers found themselves in the penalty late in the third quarter with about three minutes to go, roughly coincident with Danny Fortson coming back into the game. With Fortson in, the Sonics reeled off a 13-2 run to end the third quarter, with 9 of those 13 Sonic points being from the free-throw line.

The Sonics were starting to break down the Cavaliers' defense a bit in the fourth quarter. In a weird note, even Ray Allen was scoring in that fourth quarter. Usually it'd be unusual for me to say that, but he didn't get his first basket of the second half until there was 4:30 left in the game. Once Fortson sat down on the bench for a bit in the fourth quarter, I thought the Sonics might blow the lead they'd built, and early indications were pointing to that. However, the Sonics were able to come away with some clutch threes and some nice plays in the low post, whether they were open finds down low or just driving layups from Luke Ridnour or Antonio Daniels.

Before I go deep into the boxscore here, I'll just say that Vladimir Radmanovic had a great night (double-double), Antonio Daniels had a great night, and Luke Ridnour had a career-high night.

Ray Allen 27 pts/6 reb (8-19 FG, 3-9 3pt, 8-9 free throws, SIX TURNOVERS), Luke Ridnour career-high 18 pts/4 reb/4 ast (4-13 FG, 9-9 free throws), Antonio Daniels 15 pts/6 reb/8 ast, Reggie Evans 2 pts/7 reb (16 min)

Vlad Radmanovic 23 pts/11 reb (7-11 FG, 5-7 3pt, 4-4 free throws), Danny Fortson 7 pts/5 reb (2-2 FG, 3-4 free throws, fouled out -- 16 minutes), Nick Collison 5 pts/5 reb (16 min), Ron Murray 0 pts/0 reb/1 ast (3 turnovers, 14 min), Vitaly Potapenko 0 pts/3 reb (5 min)

Jerome James Watch
8 pts/2 reb/1 ast/2 blk (4-4 FG, 16 min)...hold your horses, JJ! Eight points?!

shot 33-for-72 (45.8%) from the field, shot 29-for-32 from the line (90.6%), shot 10-for-22 from downtown (45.5%), outrebounded Cleveland 50-31, turned the ball over 21 times for 13 Cleveland points (Cleveland turned it over 12 times for 15 Sonic points), beat Cleveland for second-chance points 19-7, bench outscored Cleveland bench 35-15 (outrebounded them 25-10)

Okay, so I was so hung up on the free throws that I forgot to mention how key the three was for the Sonics. Radmanovic hit 5 of the Sonics' 10 threes, and Ray Allen hit three. Ray Allen didn't warm up in the second half until very late, but the baskets he did have were very well-timed as the Sonics were trying to pull away.

It might be a weird thing to point out, but I thought Radmanovic had kind as quiet a double-double** as you could get. Although I did realize he hit a few threes, and was shooting the ball really well, I never imagined him pulling down 11 rebounds in this game at any point while I was watching it. Either way, Radmanovic got himself another double-double, and that is encouraging. Even more encouraging would be if he comes out in the next game and pours in about 15 or 16 to give some semblance of consistency. If he comes in and puts in about 6 points, then everyone will be pointing to his inconsistency, etc. Again, I point to the track of Rashard Lewis, who was largely enigmatic before becoming one of the Sonics' horses this year. If Radmanovic is inconsistent this year but can have one awesome game every few games, then he should be absolutely nuts next year. Hopefully it's for this team.

It was a career high for Luke Ridnour in points tonight, though it was partly because he was fouled three times down the stretch when the Cavaliers were fouling with the clock running down, and Luke was the first guy touching the ball off the inbound. Luke drained all six of his free throws, ending up with his 18.

Lastly, hooray for the Sonics' ability to hold down anyone not named LeBron James (35 pts), Drew Gooden (27), and Zydrunas Ilgauskas (11). None of the other Cavaliers had over six points.

The Sonics managed to win without Rashard Lewis. They haven't flowed as smoothly since before Reggie Evans went down with the stomach ailment, foiling the streak of having the same starting lineup since the beginning of the season. Now that Evans can hold his food down, Rashard Lewis has right knee tendinitis. The Sonics can manage without him, but they're hoping (and I'm hoping) that Rashard can be up to speed soon.

I asked Jinkies what he thought about the Sonics using free throws to get back into this game. His reply: "Lkia;df;ebn oki ohnw j;oie kj;o jka/;oi ;lkjoin oioi inoin. I apologize for this, my tail was on keyboard. I am fine, thank you for asking."

That's priceless.


[**Edit Mon ~1:01a -- I originally said "triple-double." I don't think there is a such thing as a quiet triple-double. My, what a mistake. Another reason for me to proofread these things before I put them up.]

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