Crushed Optimists

We are twin brothers who grew up in Central Washington. This blog is devoted to the life of Seattle sports fans, as well as various other topics that we will espouse for your enjoyment. We could be called another OFFICIAL SEATTLE SEAHAWKS site, but we'll take our uneducated crack at the Mariners, Sonics, and Huskies as well. A Seattle Sports Blog? Must be the land... of crushed optimism!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Sonics vs Kings, Game 2

Well, I started this game out expecting a fairly high scoring affair with Bibby and Bobby Jackson making a big impact. Don't really expect to win, but it would be huge if we did.

1st Quarter: Sonics 26, Kings 22
The Sonics have done a great job of matching the Kings' desperation. Sacramento obviously understands the situation that they are in. Go down 2-0 and kiss this series goodbye. Sure hasn't been the offensive explosion that I was anticipating. First three for either team was that huge bomb from Rashard at the three minute mark. We haven't given up as many offensive rebounds, but have given up too many lay-ins. Mike Bibby hasn't come on strong as expected. I thought he might have ten points by the end of the quarter. Stojakovic or Mobley hasn't been an offensive force either. Luke Ridnour was the MVP of the first quarter. He had a ton more confidence running the offense, and made some huge defensive plays, causing turnovers on sure lay-ups from Brad Miller and Peja Stojakovic. He also played fantastic defense on Bibby, proving Jay Bilas wrong yet again. Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen need to step their offensive games up. Both have missed some wide-open jumpers, at least Rashard hit the one three. Radmanovic has looked good from the field, going 3-4, but is a little slow on the defensive end. Sacramento is doubling us up in points in the paint, not correct at all. Needs to change. All in all, we had to withstand a storm from Sacramento, and we did.

2nd Quarter: Sonics 55, Kings 44
I've been really impressed with the Sonics' effort all over the court in this quarter. The defense has been stellar. Ridnour set the tone in the first, and the bench set the tone in the second. They sealed off the paint, not allowing the Kings to get all those lay-ins anymore. Mobley, Bibby, Stojakovic or Jackson have yet to establish themselves, although Bibby does have ten. Kings have yet to hit a three, and are depending on some cheap fouls right now to even stay within sight. Ray Allen jumpstarted himself by taking it to the rack consistently, drawing fouls and easy buckets. Fortson's screens were bricks during the quarter, the pick and roll was working to perfection. We hit the 50 point barrier while still not shooting as well as we can. Jerome James is proving that he was not a one-game wonder, absolutely owning Corliss Williamson. Good recognition by Ridnour to keep feeding him the ball. Again, still not allowing the type of offensive rebounding we did in game one, and limiting the Kings to jumpers. Two minutes score: Sonics 4, Kings 2. Keep track of this because of how important it is to game momentum. As Denver proved on Sunday, a run at the end of the half can give a visiting team life. The Kings knew this and amped up again, and yet again the Sonics responded. If we play the same way we win this one easily. Have to avoid the second half we had last time around.

Key Stat: Bench Points - Sacramento 10, Seattle 23
Our bench dominated. Sacramento was holding even wihle the starters were out and then Radmanovic came in, started knocking down shots. Then Fortson and Collison came in and started throwing their bodies around. Thirteen point advantage looks pretty big.

1st Half MVP: Jerome James made a late run for this honor, with 10 point and key defensive presence, but Luke Ridnour keeps this for the tone and energy he set. I counted three strips on lay-ins (one more in the second). 4 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and kept Mike Bibby out of the lane. He has been an absolute stud.

3rd Quarter: Sonics 88, Kings 62
Here's the type of game Colin and I previewed. The Sonics are starting to become the dominant physical team. I wrote that we as Sonics fans were looking forward to Brad Miller coming back because we had his number... and the beginning of the 3rd quarter was evidence of that. Miller looked like he was about to cry and got a technical for arguing a call after fouling Jerome James. He had the "Tim Duncan Sad Face" going on. We relaxed too much in the third quarter last game and it was evident that Nate McMillan wasn't going to let the Sonics have that kind of effort again. The Sonics busted out of the half fired up. Jerome James is just rocking the everything right now. He is looking like the best center in the West right now. Because of our physical presence, the Kings are starting to worry about the officiating instead of their offensive flow... too much barking. Key possession: 7:30 left and the Kings have four shots and eventually turn it over, then we come down and Ridnour hits the three to go up by 19. BAM!!! Peja Stojakovic has disappeared from this game. The Kings desperately need him and his outside shooting to start narrowing the gap. The Kings have shown some patience and Bibby has started to drive to the hoop better. It's time to give Rashard Lewis some props for his defense on Peja, I just wrote about how he had disappeared and a lot of it has to do with Lewis, who isn't known for his defense. Peja is just not getting any open looks and is refusing to drive to the hole. I love how the Sonics are responding to every adjustment the Kings make. The half court execution has been exactly what we need in order to succeed in the playoffs. Our defense has improved this quarter and put the clamps on the Kings. 6 turnovers in the quarter and only 18 points. We are simply dominating Sacramento around the paint. Also in the quarter we were always shooting free throws because of Sacramento's frustration. Easy points in a playoff game are hard to come by.

Final Score: Sonics 105, Kings 93
The Sonics started this out playing not to lose, lacking the agressiveness and intensity. Amazing how that can happen in the span of a commercial break. They wanted to run as much time off the clock as possible during their offense, but aren't getting quality shots at the end. Radmanovic passed on a few open looks. Because of this the Kings went on a 15-0 run to open the quarter, all with the big three on the bench. Things were not looking good at all at this point. Too much standing around on offense. The Sonics showed their youth and inexperience. I'm shaking my head and refusing to write anything more until we start playing better. Well, we eked it out. Still played like crap until we woke up for the final few minutes, just to show the Kings' scrubs that they weren't that much better than us.

Key Stats:
Offensive Rebounds: Sonics 11, Kings 12... Still need improvement on this, we are the better team on the boards.
Free Throw Attempts: Sonics 30, Kings 15... The team that goes to the line more is the aggressor. We were the aggressor.

Game MVP: A tie between Jerome James and Ray Allen, but both comes with the qualification that they really contributed to the fourth quarter "effort".

Conclusion: The Kings would be foolish to think that the fourth quarter gives them confidence or to use that lineup again. The quarter can entirely be laid at the feet of the Sonics. This is evidenced by how we dominated the last three minutes against the same lineup. When Seattle played like they cared they owned this series like we had predicted. It would be nice if they wouldn't let the Kings back in these games... eventually they will be burned. I think we'll take at least one of the games in Sacramento and my prediction of winning in five is looking pretty good. On a side note, Rick Adelman helped lose this game for his team by not putting Stojakovic or Bibby back in the game when the run was starting. Yes, the bench players were doing a good job, but they are all bench players. To get over the hump, you need to have your all-stars out there. Not much confidence in his team.

posted by Gavin @ 10:24 PM  0 comments

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