Saturday, April 30, 2005

SATURDAY REPORT FROM SACRAMENTO

SATURDAY REPORT FROM SACRAMENTO

Be sure to tune in tomorrow starting at 6pm for live coverage from Arco Arena. I will air interviews with Luke Ridnour, Rashard Lewis and Ray Allen.
In addition, Frank Hughes will be live from Sacramento today at 4 pm.

Here is the latest from Sacramento
• The Sonics were a mad and frustrated group after the loss in Game 3. Players were openly questioning play calls and strategies.
• The foucs on much of the discussion was what happened to Rashard Lewis.
• The talk today is whether Jerome James is taking away from Lewis’s touches. Both Allen and Lewis were outwardly supportive of James and the amount of touches he is getting and converting.
• Nate said the offense has to do a better job with shot selection and shot allocation. In other words, Lewis has to get more looks.
• The Sonics need to find plays other than the post-up on the left block to get him the ball. Nate talked about isolation plays in the middle of the floor.
• Defensively the big’s had a terrible game. Their help defense was non-existent. Jerome James left Luke to die numerous times by not calling out a pick including the huge shot that Brad Miller got on Luke in the second half.
• The Sonics focused their practice today on offensive adjustments.
• Tomorrow at shot-around they will put the focus on the defensive side of the ball.

14 comments:

Andy said...

Obviously the Kings focus on Lewis is leaving JJ open for good looks. It isn't a coincidence that James stats are way beyond his career average while Lewis has struggled. The kings strategy will likely continue figuring that JJ is more than capable of having a bad game on his own. That being said...JJ isn't taking shots away from lewis per se...he is just the open option on the offense. If you force shots when you are double teamed you are going to shoot 20%. It would be a huge mistake for Lewis if he lets all this get in his head and starts forcing more shots instead of letting the offense work it into James.
This is a critical game. Miller, Peja, and Jackson are getting healthier every day, the players are getting familiar with each other, and the rust should be gone. The longer this series goes the better the Kings will get.
The kings even the series tonight: Kings 120 Sonics 104.

DJ Chameleon said...

I agree that this is the key game of the series. Most people think game five is the most important but the difference between going up 3 - 1 and being tied 2 - 2 is far more critical than which team takes the 3 - 2 lead of a tied series. We have seen many teams lose game five and win games 6 & 7 to win the series. Very rarely does a team come back from a 3 - 1 deficit.

For the most part Jerome has been getting his shots out of the offense and has continued to set screens and rebound like he is supposed to. His help defense in game three was terrible but so was every other big except Collison.

I believe the Sonics have been over emphasizing Rashard's post up plays at the expense of his all around game. Sacramento has made an effective adjustment for Rashard's post up on the left block that we favor so strongly. The coaches need to find a counter option and they need to initiate plays for Rashard in a variety of different ways. For instance, I would like to see the Sonics go back to using the 1 - 3 pick and roll more often again. We have drifted away from that play. I also want the Sonics to free Rashard up for some three's from the corners below the elbow. He is deadly from there and we have not had a single playoff game yet where we shot effectively fromm three land. Of course i don't want to shoot threes at the expense of points in the paint but I believe if we remind Sacramento of the threat of our three point shooters we will open up more lanes into the paint which leads to more drive and dishes for catch and shoot three pointers. As Locke has tracked throughout the season, when we get our catch and shoot game going is when our offense has been at its most efficient all season.

Watching today's morning playoff game I noticed how Detroit freed Billups up for the Three in the corner to take the lead with 21.2 seconds left. Billups was running the baseline below a double pick with the ball at the high left elbow and Billups faked his man under the pick towards the lane then went to the corner for the three pointer. I believe Rashard, AD and Ray Allen would all be very effective on a similar type play.

Another way to free up Rashard for three's from the right corner would be when we are in our set designed to get Ray Allen a midrange jumper off the double screen curl outside the left block (A play we run a lot quite effectively) Rashard can drift to the opposite corner (The right corner) and instead of passing to Ray where the defense will be focusing it's attention because that pplay is so well scouted) the passer (usually AD or Luke) can throw a skip pass to the corner for what should be an open three.

In game three we were 2 - 4 on threes below the elbow and 4 - 19 above the elbow. We need to find ways to get more open threes below the elbow and this will open up the defense for drives and kickout catch and shoot jumpers.

Andy said...

Wow...what a great finish to the quarter.

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