Saturday, April 23, 2005



I am off to do NBA - TV more later.

Series goes 1-0 to Sonics -- 81% of the teams that win game 1 win the series.

SONICS 85 KINGS 82 with 9.2 seconds left.
Mobley let a quick three go and it was no good, Bibby follows with a miss.
Do the Kings know where they are going with the ball in this circumstance? They have so many new pieces.
Bibby's air ball three didn't need to shot at that point.

SONICS 85KINGS 82 with :25 seconds left.
Holy smokes. JJ recovers off the bobble and puts it in.
This is the essence of playoff basketball. Your plays aren't going to work. The opponent knows what you are going to run and therefore you are going to have to make plays. AD's backdoor cut and the pass from Lewis was making a play. JJ's finsh is making a play. JJ has 17 and 15.

SONICS 83 KINGS 82 -- :42.4 seconds left
Seattle just isn't making plays. AD missed the free throws, Ray missed a good look 3, Reggie missed a put back.
On the flip side, the veterans of the Kings are making play. Mobley hit two big shots.
Where do the Sonics go with :42 left. Look for a left wing Allen/Lewis pick n roll.
The Kings will stay with Mobley.
The Kings have never lead.

SONICS 84 KINGS 79 -- 1:07 left
With 2:44 left the Kings have just 2 fouls and the Sonics just 4. Following the script that we said the officials would follow.
Seattle went to Lewis in the post the only shot the Kings are giving him is a tough fading turn around J.
With 1:45 AD missed a good look well executed pull up J in the lane. Thomas got a questionable timeout.
The Kings are going right at Allen with Mobley for the final possessions.
Is Bibby's ankle worse then the Kings let on?
Kings missed 3 of 6 free throws in key moments.
1:21 left AD draws the foul from Ostertag off the pick n roll. Misses both free throws.

SONICS 83 KINGS 74 with 2:53 left in the game.
Without Miller on the floor, the Kings have simply gone to one on one breakdown dribble game with Mobley at Allen or Peja at Lewis
Sacramento is out hustling Seattle are the Sonics tired?
It is pure half court basketball at this point.
Out of the timeout Seattle has run great plays and executed perfectly.
Ray Allen is a flipping stud.
Lewis defense on Peja has been great effort.
Great effort over the last 3 minutes may have secured a win.

SONICS 77 KINGS 70 with 5:52 left in the game
Bobby Jackson is on Ray Allen -- Allen promptly busted a three on him.
Huge play with 6:22 left Seattle had a chance to go up 9, but Lewis turned it over after he was double teamed.
Mike Bibby checks in with 6:04 left.
Who will Seattle go to in the clutch? The Kings are taking Lewis away. They are going to have to run the pick n roll and penterate and dish.
Lewis played really solid defense on Peja moments ago, forcing a miss
Seattle 9 of 33 from the field in the second half. What will they be the final 5 minutes?

SONICS 72 KINGS 68 with 9:33 left in the game
The Kings are doubling Lewis and taking him away from the post on Peja.
With no other scorers on the floor (Luke, AD, Lewis, Nick and the Fort) the Sonics look lost when they take the ball out of Lewis's hands.
Bobby Jackson on Ridnour. The Sonics were concerned with this.
Miller has the Kings entire offense rolling.
For the first time all game Seattle is getting beat on back cuts
Fatigue is an issue at this point and are the Sonics mentally tough enough to dig deep?

SONICS 70 KINGS 64 End of 3rd Quarter.
In the 4th Seattle needs to slow down the game and get the floor spread, to exploit the match-ups and get the Kings back into the half court.
The bigs have to contiue to set great picks, this is the time of the game guys will die on them.
The officials are going to swallow the whistle so get tough.
Stats: Seattle's offensive efficiency in the 3rd Q was just 72.
The Kings was 112

SONICS 70 KINGS 64 with 29.5 seconds left in the 3rd quarter
The Kings have rolled Brad Miller and Greg Ostertag on the floor at the same time. The Sonics have Collison and Fortson.
All of a sudden Seattle is one shot and out.
Miller adds the ability to conduct the offense from the elbow which is the key to the Kings offense.
Seattle has just 2 stops in the last 10 possessions -- a 22 to 7 run.

SONICS 69 KINGS 57 with 2:28 left in the 3rd quarter.
Lewis's post game is becoming flat out nasty. He is making shots that were unguardable. The Soncis could be really tough if he keeps this up.
Ostertag is having a huge impact on this game. He has impacted Seattle's offense a ton, on all the Sonics last three possessions the Sonics had to change their shots or routes to the basket.
He has also scored two buckets, but those are a fluke. He can be a huge defensive force.

DJ -- you are so right JJ is making millions tonight,

From Andy:
The sonics crashing the offensive boards is keep sac from getting out on the break.
This is a great point. The Kings are totally out of their game.

Sonics 65 Kings 46 with 6:00 left in the 3rd quarter
Great move by Nate to open the second half with a full court pressure on Bibby. It forced Seattle to maintain the energy.
James and Evans are dominating the inside in the opening moments of the second half.
The Sonics started the first quarter and teh third quarter with possessions that had 5 opportunites at the basket. They both finshied with James dunks.
Sacramento looks like a team that has never played together and the crazy thing is this group has never played together as a unit.
I am not sure I have ever seen a team crush another team on the boards the way Seattle is Sacramento. This isn't that surprising. Seattle is #1 in the NBA on the offensive glass and the Kings are the 3rd worst defenisve rebounding team

Pace of Play -- 44 trips -- very slow league average for a game is 93.7
Offensive Efficency -- Sonics 120
Defensive Efficency -- Sonics 91
Offensive Rebounding % - 56% -- amazing
Defensive Reboudning % - 50% -- terrible
Offensive Turnover % -- 11%
Defensve Turnover % -- 18% -- this is great since the Kings are #1 in the NBA
Offensive Effective Field Goal % - 48% -- Nothing special right on the season average.
Defensive Effective Field Goal% -- 36% -- that is out of this world.

SONICS 55 KINGS 40 at the half
Jerome James has been great. He and Reggie Evans have dominated the inside of this game on the glass and cutting off the pick n roll.
How can Adelman not use Ostertag? The guy impacts games.
The Sonics have knocked the Kings off of their offensive spots and made them look uncomfortable offensively.
A perfect half of basketball on both ends of the floor.
Rick Adelman did the typical poor me we are getting screwed Sacramento routine at the end of the half complaining to the officials about each and every call. They are being out worked and that is the issue.
That timeout by Nate looks even better now that they go to half with a 15 point lead.
Mike Bibby is really off his game he is 0 for 9 from the field.
The Kings shot just 32.7%

Great point by DJ -- super timeout by Nate. They have not gone back to Vlady for some reason.

Sonics 51 Kings 40 with 1:49 left in the 2nd Quarter.
I have preached slow slow slow game all year and today is the ultimate example. In the half court Seattle is playing great defense. The Kings only opportunites are coming on fast breaks or transitions.
The Kings have no one who can guard Ray Allen. When they went to Jackson he used his height, when he is guarded by Mobley he just kills him.
Wilkins has done a nice job guarding Peja
Seattle is slicing and dicing the Kings at will through the paint via the dribble and the pass
Seattle defensive glass work is the one area Seattle is under performing.
The Sonics need this lead to be double figures heading into the half.
Cutino Mobley has finally heated up hitting back to back jumpers.

Sonics 45 Sonics 30 with 5:40 left in the 2nd quarter
Seattle is killing the Kings on the pick n roll. AD is finding guys open on the roll. He is getting good looks. If the Kings have a plan it is not evident at this time.
This place just erupted when the Sonics got a steal and Ray Allen capped an open floor dunk.
It is a 6-0 run all on defense.
AD is doing everything on the floor right now. Running the offense. Making defensive stops.
The Sonics defense is holding the Kings to 31.6% shooting. Bibby is 0 for 6, Mobley is 1 for 5.

Sonics 41 Kings 30 with 7:00 left in the 2nd Quarter
My Kings X-Factor was Kenny Thomas and he is killing the Sonics right now. With an open floor and he is a tough guard because you have to body him and he is capable of putting it on the floor.
First moment of tension happened when Songaila close lined AD in the open floor after a great steal by AD. The officials called it a Flagrant 1. Within the next 4 games these two teams will have a great dislike (read: hatred) for each other. That is when it gets fun.
The Kings guards are doing nothing -- Bibby is 0 for 5 and Mobley is 1 for 5.

Sonics 37 Kings 26 with 8:58 left in the 2nd Quarter
The floor spacing by the Sonics has been terrific. The Kings are putting up little resistance.
The Sonics have executed their game plan on Kenny Thomas and Mike Bibby perfectly.
Rashard Lewis just picked up his third foul. We are going to find out what type of shape Vlady is in. We taked about the officials being tight early and letting it go as the game develops. That is taking place and Rashard did not adapt.
Seattle's shooting is still at a remarkable pace, 51%. It will cool off and how they react will determine the game.
Scoring is going to be tough here -- the on floor 5 is Ridnour, Daniels, Wilkins, Nick and JJ. This won't last.

Sonics 30 Kings 22 End of 1 Quarter
Great first quarter. Seattle dictated the entire quarter. They forced the action, they were hitting first on every possession.
Seattle's offensive efficiecny in the 1st quarter was 139 --- season average of 109
The Sonics reboudning rate was 60% of offensive rebounds. Kings got 39%.
Shooting Seattle 52% and the Kings shot 32%
There was no sign of nerves and inexperience, but will show if it does in the 4th Q.
Allen took Jackson to the post to draw an early foul
The scouting report says don't let Peja go left and he nailed two nasty threes going to his left.
Fortson and Miller were throwing each other everywhere.
Will Nate be able to trust Danny in the final minutes of a close game to not lose it?

Sonics 22 Kings 16 with 2:12 left in the 1st Q
The Kings have put Bobby Jackson on Ray Allen
Kings have hit 7 of 23 whereas the Sonics 10 of 21.
Early the Sonics did a great job of not letting the Kings to get into their offense.
Seattle still dominating the glass

Sonics 19 Kings 12 with 3:50 left in the 1st Q
Valdy made his return at the 4:44 mark. Lewis checked out with 2 fouls
Brad Miller and Bobby Jackson checked in at the 4:10 mark.
The crowd is amazing.

Sonics 9 Kings 1 with 8:00 left in 1st Q
Great start. Sonics area exploiting the Lewis - Peja match-up.
Jerome James help defense has been incredible -- two blocks
The Kings are doubling Lewis in the post. That will open other guys and make Vlady more dangerous.
Sonics have 100% of thier potential offensive rebounds in the opening 4 minutes.

Give Mike Bibby numerous different looks and direct him the way the Sonics want
Force Cutino Mobley to put the ball on the floor
Force Peja to go to his right.
Take away Kenny Thomas jump shot and force him to put it on the floor
Push Miller off the elbow
Keep on the ball side shoulder of the Kings offensive players
Take Bobby Jackson to his left


INJURY UPDATE at 6:06 pm
Vlady Radmanovic, with a crazy near hairdo, looked terrific in his warm-ups. Brad Miller is on the floor with a huge air cast on his left leg. It looks very limiting. Peja has yet to take the floor.

Offensive Rating: Sonics are 109 (#2 in NBA) and the Kings 108 (#5)
Defensive Rating: Sonics are 108 (#25) and the Kings 107 (#22)
Effective FG%: Sonics are 49.5%(#5) and the Kings 49.6% (#4)
Defensive EFG%: Sonics are 49.6% (#23) and the Kings are 49.3% (#22)
Offensive TO%: Sonics are 13.3% (#7) and the Kings are 12.6% (#1)
Defensive TO%: Sonics are 14% (#22) and the Kings are 14% (#19)

Pace of Play: Sonics play 90 trips per game (#27) and the Kings play 90 (#7)
Offensive Reb %: Soncis grab 32.8% (#1) and the Kings grab 29% (#14)
Defensive Reb %: Sonics grab 71% (#16) and the Kings grab 69% (#28)

Stat Sups --- Kings
Offensive Rating: 115 – 109
EFG% 49% -- 51%
Offensive Reb% 34% -- 26%
Turnover % 12% -- 12%
FTA per game 36 -- 25

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Kings - Bobby Jackson gets back into action -

Huge news for the Kings heading into the playoffs
Kings - Jackson gets back into action - "In his 16-minute stint, Jackson finished with 15 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals."

THE QUEST FOR .400 - Through games of April 20th

With the amazing start of Ichiro it is time to start the quest for .400. In the second half of last season, while setting the all-time hit record Ichiro hit . 429. It is my belief that during the run for the hit title Ichiro decided to only get singles to increase his chances for the hit record. In the process he learned that if he keeps that approach he could embark upon the hollowed ground of .400.
We will compare two items throughout the season. First, how he compares to Ted Williams and what he must do the rest of the way to reach .400.


Player G - AB - H - Ave
Suzuki 15 - 60 - 23 - .383
Williams 4 - 4 - 2 - .667

On the 21st: Williams went 0 for 1

Ichiro is 1 for 7 lifetime against Rich Harden


G - AB - H - Ave.
163 697 -265 - ..380

.400 SINCE .....
Since June 17th Ichiro is hitting .400 in 112 games.

Since May 1, in 153 games, is hitting .391
Since June 1, in 126 games, is hitting .389
Since July 1, in 100 games, is hitting .418

At this rate Ichiro ……
Will play: 162 games
Will have: 648 official at bats
Will need: 259 hits

Will have to ……
As of April 21 G -- AB - H -- Ave
Ichiro Suzuki 147 - 588 - 236 .402

Wednesday, April 20, 2005


Special thinks to John Lund of Sports Radio in Detroit for this work. It is pretty outstanding.

Check out the below articles and mock drafts from the so called "experts" about what was going to happen or predictions of greatness for players drafted:

*Mel Kiper on Joey before the 2002 draft: (There is a special section on Mel a little further down) "Possesses all the intangibles; demonstrates leadership qualities and an ability to rally the troops. He's a clutch fourth-quarter quarterback who deals well with pressure. He has a presence and an aura about him in the huddle. He commands respect from his teammates. He is mobile and has above-average arm strength. And he's proven he can play in adverse weather conditions....Will be a solid pick."

*Pat Kirwan a former NFL scout who now writes for and used to be with, in his evaluation of the Lions pick of Joey in the 2002 draft the night of the draft: "Detroit finally came to their senses and took the right player to rebuild the Lions franchise. Many of the quarterback coaches I talked to feel he has the intangibles of Brett Favre and Joe Montana."

*Unfortunately for SI's Peter King, leaves old archives on the net. Among his more memorable quotes during draft day blogs....I think ...I think he was wrong:

*After the Bears made Cade McNown (out of football) the 12th pick in the '99 draft: "I think Cade McNown’s going to be good. Really, Really good. Even in wind-whipped Chicago." (McNown NFL stats: 2 seasons, 16 TD's 19 ints, 67.7 rating)

*More King from '99 draft: " I think I'd feel a lot better about the Donovan McNabb pick if he'd played well against Miami and in the Syracuse bowl game." (138 career TD's, 5 Pro Bowls)

*King during the 1998 draft: " I think everyone is forgetting one thing about Randy Moss. It isn't only that Moss could leave a team in the lurch if he implodes in a year or two. It's the salary cap consequences. If, say, some team gives Moss $4 million to sign over five years, and this team has to cut him after one year, then all the prorated signing bonus (about $3.2 million) immediately comes due on that team's cap. So it's pretty dangerous to take a guy who, if he's not trustworthy, could really hurt your cap. " (90 career TD's in 7 seasons)

*Another King gem from '98 draft: " I think (Peyton) Manning is 3 percent better than Leaf and will be, long term, a better pro, but Leaf will be good too." (3% BETTER???... Manning: 216 career TD's, 92 rating, Ryan Leaf: 14 TD's 36 ints. 3 seasons....What kind of percentage is that?????......50 BAZILLION%????)


Mel Kiper in an ESPN chat April 18, 2001:

batman: How does the Chiefs running back situation look, do you think they will draft a running back like (LaDanian) Tomlinson or (Duece) McAllister, or will they sign someone like Priest Holmes?
Mel Kiper Jr.: I don't think Priest Holmes is feature back material. RB is certainly a need, as is QB. It will be interesting to see if the Trent Green situation takes place. (As a Chief, Holmes has 70 TD's and over 5,000 yards rushing in 4 seasons)

Mel on Kalimba Edwards before the 2002 draft: "Edwards flies out of the blocks, has improved his pass-rush technique over the years, will be a 10-sack type guy and always hustles on plays directed to the opposite side of the field."

Kiper on the 1998 draft debate of Manning or Leaf? "He isn't John Elway, Dan Marino or Jim Kelly, but he's as good as it gets in college football," Kiper said of Manning. "A lot of these teams in the NFL are desperate for quarterbacks and he's the best out there, with Ryan Leaf a real close second."

*Check out Mel Kiper going 0 for 31 in the 2001 NFL draft in his mock posted a week before the draft! (He got Michael Vick as the #1 pick but to the Chargers, not the Falcons...that was as close to a right pick as Mel Hair got in 2001)

*Mel got 5 right in this 2004 mock draft 3 weeks before the draft! (That's 6.4%)

*Here is SI's 1999 mock draft where they went 1 for 31 (Tim Couch to Cleveland with #1 pick...that's 0.3%) It had Lions taking Jevon Kearse with 9th pick.

I'm not making fun of these guys, the point is this: The NFL draft is one of the least understood days in sports from the GM's to the mock jockeys on the net. Take a look at the post on the blog which explains that almost 50% of top ten picks from 1990-2000 were busts! The numbers decline from there. (We'll talk about it on Thursday's SNL Show.) Teams have their boards, Mel slicks his hair with cement and ESPN makes a male soap opera out of the whole thing. It's a slick production, but it's closer to a game of Russian Roulette than anything else.

at the 1979 Fall meetings, NFL owners unanimously (28-0) rejected the idea of allowing upstart network ESPN to televise the Draft
George Grande, Bob Ley and former NFL General Manager Joe Thomas anchored ESPN's inaugural Draft coverage in 1980
Mel Kiper, Jr. joined the ESPN crew in 1984

--The SNL Crew


Over the next few days I am going to try to collect all of the season previews as a reminder of how incredibly suprising this season really was.

Here is Bill Simmons (who we generally love), the Sports Guy, from ESPN ...
If the Sonics win 30 games or less, this will be the worst Sonics team in 31 years. In other words, this is going to be the worst Sonics team in 31 years.Here's the big X-factor: They need to trade Ray Allen before his contract expires. Why pay someone first banana money when he's clearly a second banana and you're already paying a third banana (Rashard Lewis) second banana money ... unless you're bananas? Why not maximize his trade value close to the deadline, when teams are desperate to make a move? Remember, not only did Allen nearly lead the Bucks to the Finals three years ago, he once filmed a movie scene with Chasey Lain and Jill Kelly. In chess terms, maybe he isn't an extra queen like J-Kidd, but he's definitely a rook. They should wait until February, then package him with Danny Fortson's ghastly contract to a contender for expiring contracts (Portland?)(Note: Since this makes way too much sense, I'm sure they'll re-sign him for way too much money. Hey, speaking of dumb front offices ... ) - Writers - Historical Draft Grades: 5 year review of draft performance.

This is really cool. This is a 5 year review of how teams have drafted. It is much better than the absurd day after the draft grades. It is good to be in the NFC West. - Writers - Historical Draft Grades: NFC West - Wednesday April 20, 2005 4:23PM


Today Tim Ruskell, the Seahawks new king pooh bah, meet with the media to discuss his draft plans and draft strategy. Here are the highlights.

* DRAFT ROOM – The draft room has four main boards. The first board has all the players listed by position ranked best to worst. Then they have their Hot List, which are players they are particularly interested in. Then the next wall has all the players listed best to worst regardless of position. Finally they have the results board and their own mock draft. The Hawks only mock the first two rounds of the draft.

* WHAT POSITION – Ruskell insisted that the free agent signing have given them the flexibility to draft the best player available. “I don’t think there is any position we can rule out. Because of what we have done in free agency.” He later admitted that if two players are ranked equally then they go by need. Finally he mentioned, “We want to do things for our defense.”

* RUSKELL RULES -- #1 rule is too make sure you don’t invent a player to have him fit your need. #2 Special Teams ability will have a large impact on who they draft on the second day. This is necessary after a terrible year with the special teams.

* DRAFT DAYS DEAL AND THE TRADE CHART – Ruskell says that he has a chart next to him that he uses to evaluate the trading of picks and says everyone in the league has one. In regards to trades he said, “I can’t think of not listening.”

* ASSISTANT COACHES ROLE -- They give assistant coaches taps of specific players that the personnel people like to see how the coaches compare them to the current players. Ruskell has found it insightful of how some of the coaches thought players would beat out the players he was interested in from the draft.

* ON FIELD OR COMBINE – Ruskell was very insistent on this issue. “I am a believer in what they do on the field, what you se live and what you see on game tape. You have to believe in what you see with the pads on.”

* ATTITUDE ON DEFENSE – On more than four occasions Ruskell mentioned the Sonics have to change their defensive attitude more than their personnel. Addition by subtraction has already taken place according to Ruskell. That is quite a statement about both Simmons and Lucas.

* QUARTERBACKS -- Both of the last two drafts Ruskell has drafted a QB in the 3rd round and both of them have been very successful back-ups. Look for it too happen again. Keep an eye on the QB from Georgia.

* RUNNING BACKS – After the top 3 Ruskell says it there is no consensus. It becomes a flavor of choice issue. Does your system what a change of pace, a power guy, a slanter, etc. JJ Arrington out of Cal is a guy he classified as a pounder. What style do the Hawks want?

* CHAD BROWN – His release is inevitable. If he doesn’t find any takers the Hawks would leave the door open.

Locked on Sports: Playoffs a whole new game for Sonics

Locked on Sports: Playoffs a whole new game for Sonics