Friday, January 06, 2006


Pistons 97 Sonics 85 Final Score
Strong effort
The offense is not there right now.
Defensive effort was good, however the end result was not a very good rating
Rashard Lewis was terrific and has become unguardable.
The Pistons took Allen out of the game.

Detroit 89 Sonics 77 with 3:16 left in the 4th Quarter
Huge play – Billiups took a three in front of the Sonics bench, When he got set he stepped on the foot of Bob Hill who was on the court. Billiups took the three and and the ref called bench interference on Hill which means the shot counted and a tech which the Pistons hit. A 4 point mistake by coach Hill. This is either back luck or a really bad move by Coach Hill.
The Sonics went from down 7 with the ball to down 11.

Pistons 80 Sonics 70 with 6:16 left in the 4th Quarter
Allen enters for Luke, Funny how within one night we have the same line-up on the floor as we did under Weiss
Same result with the same line-up.
Second night and our new coach doesn’t want to go to Vlady, doesn’t want to go to any of the young bigs. It seems like we have already gone full circle.
Pistons are making the plays and Seattle is not.

Pistons 74 Sonics 68 with 8:50 left in the 4th Quarter
A very selfish possession to open the Quarter. Flip jacked a terribly tough shot he is now 3 for 14, then Evans decided he needed to go one on one at Ben Wallace in the post and he turned it over, That is a quick way back to the bench for Reggie
Ridnour, Flip, Lewis, Nick and Reggie on the floor to open the Q.

Pistons 68 Sonics 65 at the end of 3 Quarters
Looks like this match-up was too much for Robert Swift in Hill’s mind
Reggie Evans has re-appeared
Lewis has been brilliant in the 3rd Quarter.
The Sonics continue to really apply pressure on the Pistons with their offense.

Pistons 59 Sonics 54 with 5:01 left in the 3rd Quarter
Their was a loose ball and Vlady just reached down to go get rather then getting on the floor and it cost the team a possession. I have seen that way too many times from Vlady
Luke has 3 fouls and Billiups is posting him up. Hill will go to Flip.
The Sonics shot distribution is all jacked up right now.
Ben Wallace is killing the Sonics on the defensive glass. Petro has gotten a little excited and is leaving Wallace and going for blocks.
Rashard Lewis is taking it right at Tyshawn Prince. I am not sure anyone can guard him one on one anymore

Pistons 45 Sonics 44 at the half
Solid defensive 2nd Quarter,.
No Reggie Evans again.
Seattle is playing with the Pistons.
Other then a few open floor breakdowns the amount of free and easy opportunities have been greatly reduced.
Limited offensive glass work again and it has slowed down the Pistons.

Sonics 39 Pistons 36 with 2:42 left in the 2nd Quarter
The offensive floor is dramatically different then it was. The Sonics have found a way to get 4 of the five defenders out of the paint and this is allowing the dribble drive again.
Petro has not learned how to finish on the pick n roll yet
The Pistons play again tomorrow and it seems as though Flip Saunders is trying to use his bench and it is not very good. The Spurs have a huge edge there.
Sonics have only allowed 10 points in the Quarter

Pistons 32 Sonics 31 with 5:43 left in the 2nd Quarter
Sonics burst on a 10-0 run. Allen hit two threes.
The Sonics are pushing the tempo at an amazingly fast pace.
Flip Murray is leading one man breaks,. He flushed one of them.
Flip could have value in the open floor, if he passes as well.
Petro had a brutal +/- in Chicago and he is not very good again tonight.

Pistons 26 Sonics 21 at the end of 1 Quarter
This is the match-up of the best offense against the worst defense in the game. At times you could tell but Seattle was at least battling.
Ray Allen’s eye is still giving him problems
Danny Fortson checks in for Petro at the 2 minute mark of the Q
Petro was active in his 10 minutes

Pistons 15 Sonics 13 with 4:45 left in the 1st Quarter
Nice start by the Sonics
The Sups are really pounding the pick and roll and Petro is doing the rolling. When team double Ray Petro is being left wide open. He is missing the shots tonight, but he will get it.
The Pistons offensively look like they are toying with Seattle.
The Sonics have really laid off the offensive glass
The new running system will be successful.


1) How good are the Pistons?
2) Can Ridnour and Allen guard Billups and Hamilton?
3) Petro and Swift night two in the line-up

Thursday, January 05, 2006


What did we learn in one night under Bob Hill. What I could tell was things are going to be different. What I couldn’t tell is how much better they will be. Let me address the later first. The defense last night in the first half was terrific, but in the second half they regressed back to allowing the other team to score virtually every possession.

It was the third best defensive night of the year, but this is what gets tricky it was the less good then the last time the Sonics played the Bulls under Bob Weiss. What I really learned is the Sonics match-up well against the Bulls.

Here is what is different. Offensively, where really Seattle had a bad night, the floor will be spread and the floor will seem bigger. This is really good news for Ridnour and Flip Murray as both of them need a big floor to succeed.
The youngsters, Petro and Swift, are going to get a shot. Some nights they will commit their fouls quickly and then Fortson and Collison will have to cover other nights like last night they will get to play.

In addition, Bob Hill has a style he played in Indiana and in San Antonio and in one night is was obvious in Seattle, he doesn’t value the offensive rebound, instead he values getting back defensively. He does not want his team over committing and forcing turnovers he wants them in the paint and sealing the paint.

Lastly, this team is going to run most of the offense through Rashard Lewis.


Today, Shaun Alexander was named the MVP of the NFL. Once again the clamor for the Hawks to sign Alexander to a long term deal is at a fevor pitch. It is time to put emotion aside and look at this realistically.

First, let me establish one thing. Alexander was unreal this year. Since his off year two years ago he has been brillant. He is the best player in the world right now.
Their is not anything more you can ask from him.

With that said, re-signing him to a long deal seems to defy logic.

Any deal you sign him to will be for his 29 year old season, his 30 year old season, 31 year old season, 32 year old season and most likely his 33 year old season.

We all can agree that for the 29 year old season he is likely to be terrific once again. However, what happens after that.

Here is a breakdown of all the backs in the NFL who ran the ball in the 2004 season that were either 30 or over this season. Plus, I added two interesting cases of guys who had too many carries before 30.

This year – 30 + running backs - in order of age
Corey Dillon (31)– came off a career year at 30 but at 31 fell off considerably
Warrick Dunn –(31) career best year at age 31. Martin a likely parallel.
Curtis Martin (32) – shattered every age precedent in the game until this year at 32
Marshall Faulk (32) – won the mvp at 27, good at 29, slipped at 29 and disappeared at 31.
Priest Holmes (32) – brilliant from ages 28-30. Over 380 touches each year. Done at 31.
Eddie George (32) – peak at 27 broke the carries #, slipped at 28-29 and done at 30
Charlie Garner (33) – 27-30 strong, slipped at 31 out of the league at 33
Jerome Bettis (33)– at 30 he slipped and had some bounce back at 32 but at 33 is finished and has gone from a 300 carry back to a 200 carry back if that.
Garrison Hearst (34)- died at 31
Emmitt Smith (36) – 30 he was still at his peak, slipped at 31-32 and done at 33.

Two other interesting cases
Ahman Green (28)– 2003 he carried 355 times and has not been the same production or health wise
Fred Taylor (29) – 26,27 terrific, banged up but good at 28 and major slip at 29.

These trends seem to show the Hawks can anticipate production at age 29 and 30. Then some slippage at 31 and by 32 that their will be very little left in the tank.

The real problem will be that as Alexander moves into his past peak years the Hawks or whoever signs him will be paying him for MVP production. That is not likely to take place.

One other note, no running back has ever won the MVP twice.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Sonics 101 Bulls 97 – FINAL SCORE
Good win for the Sups
This team desperately needed a win, but the Bulls have lost 8 in a row and really looked poor. I am not sure this convinced me the world will be greatly different.
They play the final portion without Ray Allen
Sonics did allow 57 points in the 2nd half after a brilliant defensive 1st half.
Ridnour was much better
Reggie, Danny and Vitaly don’t play
Petro and Swift play 39 of the center minutes

Sonics 93 Bulls 87 with 2:19 left in the 4th Quarter
Ray Allen will not return
Sonics are running everything through Lewis in the post

Sonics 88 Bulls 84 with 4:24 left in the 4th Quarter
Petro fouls out with 32 minutes and 9 rebounds.
Swift has 7 minutes 5 fouls
Bulls have scored on 10 of 14 possessions in the 4th Q

Sonics 82 Bulls 75 with 8:01 left in the 4th Q
The Bulls had the ball on two possessions with a chance to make it a one possession game and failed on both
Sonics put the Bulls in the penalty at the 9:14 mark
Ray Allen goes to the locker-room with an eye injury.
Flip enters for Allen
Sonics are playing tight. They have lacked confidence all season.

Sonics 79 Bulls 73 with 10.01 left in the 4th Quarter
Reggie Evans and Danny Fortson have not played
Swift struggling against Othella Harrington and picks up fouls 3,4,5
In the first two possessions the Sonics young centers commit three fouls which puts the Sonics in jeopardy of getting into the penalty early.

Sonics 77 Bulls 68 at the end of 3 quarters
The Sonics answer a 7-0 wun with an 8-0 run of their own.
The combo of Wilkins and Murray on the floor together doesn’t work.
Sonics allow 28 points in the 3rd Quarter.
Scott Skiles went with the end of his bench and may have left them in too long.

Sonics 68 Bulls 56 with 3:52 left in the 3rd Quarter
The Bulls are beginning to get dribble penetration
The Sonics ball movement is far superior tonight.
Petro is surviing and not getting into foul trouble.
Sonics lead 64-52 when Allen goes out.

Sonics 62 Bulls 48 with 7:47 in the 3rd Quarter
The Sonics are playing well.
Hill has talked about having his big men run the floor and he believes both Swift and Petro can out run other bigs. Petro just did and got a follow dunk.
The Sonics are really pushing the tempo.
Ridnour is creating more tonight then he has all season.

Sonics 51 Bulls 40 at the half
The Sonics have only allowed 40 points in the 1st half. They allowed 38 in the 1st Quarter the other night.
The Sonics floor spacing while running the floor is strong tonight. This may all be amazing for Rashard’s game. He is only 2 of 7 but this team is being built around his talents under Bob Hill
Sonics explode in the final few minutes of the half. They close on a 13-3 run.
They have a 20-5 advantage at the free throw line.
Very good first half.
They are pushing the ball up the floor and going to the rack.

Sonics 36 Bulls 35 with 2:%9 left in the 2nd Quarter
The Sonics are doing a great job sealing the paint.
The two 7 footers seems to be having an impact on the defensive end
The Sonics offense has lost its flow. While Flip was on the floor the Sups didn’t seem sure what they were trying to do.
Petro and Swift have played all the center minutes.

Sonics 31 Bulls 25 with 8:10 left in the 2nd Quarter
This is a good match-up for Petro and Swift with Chandler out and the only centers for Chicago Sweetney and Harrington
Swift has really been working hard and has changed his body fat in the last 3 months from 14% to 7%. His time with Dwiight Daub the Sonics strength and conditioning coach has been extensive.
Swift just missed a turnaround jumper in the post but it looked smooth.
The Sonics defensive close outs are much better

Sonics 24 Bulls 24 at the end of 1 Quarter
We have seen Rashard in the post more and we just say the lock and lob that Bob Hill talked to us about in the post-game interview last week.
Kirk Hinrick is lighting Seattle up
Robert Swift scored
The Sonics length in the paint with Swift and Petro has been successful in the 1st Quarter.
Hill is working Lewis. Remember Allen is out of the game with 2 fouls.

Sonics 10 Bulls 10 with 7:30 left in the 1st Quarter
The first play of the game was what Bob Hill dreamed of. Lewis in the post. He gets doubled and kicks it out to the top to Vlady who hits a three.
The defense does not look noticeably different
Chicago is not a good offensive team and that is obvious.
Ray Allen checks out with 2 fouls with the Sonics trailing 10-8. This has been the Sonics biggest problem this year. Playing without Allen. They have averaged being outscored 1 point every two minutes.

1) Bob Hill's debut
2) Vlady as a starter
3) The team back in Luke's hand
4) Petro and Swift

Locked on Sports: Shoddy defense drove Weiss off the cliff

Locked on Sports: Shoddy defense drove Weiss off the cliff: "The Roadrunner cartoon had a recurring scene in which his nemesis, Wile E. Coyote, would sprint full speed over the edge of a cliff. For a brief moment, the Coyote would stay suspended in air, looking around until, all of sudden, he would look down and go screaming toward earth.

At 13-17 the Sonics were in a similar position. The fall was coming -- and it was going to be colossal.

Losing streaks were coming. Substantial losing streaks were coming, 15 of 20, 25 of 30 or worse. That is why the ax fell Tuesday.

The mystery of the Sonics' first 30 games is not how a 52-win team went to below .500, but how a team playing the worst defense in the history of the NBA had actually won 13 games."

Tuesday, January 03, 2006


The word out of Chicago is that Bob Hill is thinking about starting the following starting line-up.

PG: Luke Ridnour
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Rashard Lewis
PF: Vladimir Radmanovic
C: Johan Petro

In addition, Robert Swift will be active and will play as well.


I have three different thoughts on the firings.

This is a sad day because Bob Weiss is a very good man. More importantly, he is a good basketball coach and he is a great basketball mind. Had the players been able to motivate themselves the way professionals should be able to this could have been a really wonderful relationship. Weiss believes in a positive climate and those are the types of climates that last and foster success.

Secondly, something had to be done. I have been saying for weeks that this team is on the edge of a colossal fall. Their defense is so putrid that it was going to catch up with them. It was also clear that the inability to play defense was not changing. The last 10 games were worse then the previous 20. The Sonics were on the verge of a huge fall and management may have just caught it quick enough.

I hope Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis are looking in the mirror today and feeling very guilty. They asked for this man and then they died on a vine for him. The players are the ones that should feel this in their heart. They asked for Weiss they knew what they were getting and they didn’t respond. That is the real issue here, is these players didn’t respond to an environment they requested.


This move may help, but it is a masking agent on a team with issues. Whoever the coach is they don’t have anyone on the perimeter that can defend the ball and there are no shot blockers inside to prevent the constant quest to go the rack.

In addition, the chemistry that was so fantastic last year is broken in this locker-room. Some of the guys got money and some didn’t and it has split the locker-room and the camaraderie is gone.

It is on the players much more than any coaches


Bob Hill wrote a book on how to coach basketball.
Here is are a few of the comments from the opening pages.
“A coach must be able to respond to his player’s question about strategy for success. A team’s core leaders must support their coach’s philosophy for the coach and the team to be successful.”
"Basketball was invented to be played at a quick pace."
"Anything done at a quick pace is subject to error and anything subject to error is unpredictable. A coach’s job is to eliminate unpredictability without interfering with the player’s innate ability to play."


I just spoke with a long time NBA assistant coach.

Here is what he said about Bob Hill. Overall he was very positive. He called him very detailed oriented. A more intense man then Bob Weiss. Historically, defensively his teams don't switch. It is more of a guard your man or their will be repricussions approach. On offense he runs a more screen and move style game then just the drive and kick game the Sonics have been playing. In addition, you can anticipate a huge dose of Rashard Lewis in the post.

I will have more as the day goes on.


Sorry I have been a little slow in getting this up. I have been following this story all morning and am still tracking it right now. Here is a quick breakdown.

It is clear the Sonics front office felt the lack of effort and lack of defense was not going to change. Word is that training camp didn’t have the structure and demands that the Sonics had hoped and the concern started before the season even started.

Against Memphis Howard Schultz watched the game from behind the Sonics bench because he wanted to see what was taking place and how the team was being lead.
Obviously, he didn’t like what he discovered.

The Sonics players asked for Weiss and didn’t perform. It in a lot of ways this falls square on the shoulders of Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis.


Bob Hill was hired until the end of the season and was not given a multi-year deal.

The word around the league is that Bob Hill is an extremely confident almost cocky man. He has been called a taskmaster. The Sonics hope that some of his confidence will rub off on the team. According to people in the league, both his stay in Indiana and his time in San Antonio ended in personality conflicts.

At Indiana his teams were up-tempo good offensive teams and below average defensive teams. They rarely forced turnovers, but improved every year in FG% defense. Offensively, they were great shooting teams that were ok rebounding and a little loose wit the ball.

In San Antonio, Hill had two great years before being let go in his third year. Again his teams were up-tempo, but this time with the presence of David Robinson was an outstanding defensive team. Again, his teams didn’t force turnovers and didn’t offensive rebound.

From his past experiences you should anticipate a high tempo effective offense that gets back defensively without much offensive board work and then doesn’t gamble or attempt to force turnovers.

Monday, January 02, 2006


Pacers 115 Sonics 96 – FINAL SCORE
The Pacers were without O’neal, Tinsley and Artest and they drop 115.
This was the best chance to win on the road
The Pacers had lost 4 in a row
The Sonics were so dreadful defensively I am not able to describe it.
No one player to single out, not one concept to single out. Just a question of effort and

Pacers 89 Sonics 71 at the end of 3 Quarters
I really have no idea how the coaches and players watch the film. It has to be just mortifying. There was a rebound a moment ago and two Sonics players just never moved, never jumped and never made an effort. What do they think when sit in the room with their teammates and watch film.
Now on the next play someone just left their best three point shooter wide open. Again how do you explain yourself.
Then on the final play of the quarter no one stopped the ball and the Pacers got another three. Do you care? How do you let this happen. I am mystified.

Pacers 78 Sonics 60 with 4:20 in the 3rd Quarter
Petro commits 4 fouls in 6 minutes of action. He is not ready to play. Knock that option off the list.
It is really hard to come from behind when you can’t defend anyone.
Statistically the defense is getting worse rather then getting better.

Pacers 70 Sonics 47 with 10:00 to play 3rd Quarter
The Sonics start Ridnour, Allen, Lewis, Evans and Petro
What is next?
Earlier tonight Weiss said he is not comfortable with the youngsters yet. I guess a 63 point half can make you comfortable.
7-0 run by the Pacers to open the half

Pacers 63 Sonics 47 at the half
Line of the night from KC – “the Sonics have really picked up their defense in the Quarter as the Pacers are shooting 60%.” The scary thing is that is true.
In the first quarter the Sonics defensive efficiency was 183. Think about that it means the Pacers were averaging 1.83 points every possession. Think about it. That is unreal.

Pacers 49 Sonics 38 with 6.33 left in the 2nd Quarter
Damien Wilkins has come off the bench to defend Stephen Jackson and is slowing him down and Wilkins is making the hustle plays. This is why Wilkins is better off the bench with the ability to defend any position or play any position on offense.
Ridnour should start with Wilkins coming off the bench. Wilkins versatility may mean that he closes games at the point, but he losses that energy when he starts.
Flip is having a good offensive game.

Pacers 44 Sonics 31 8:38 left in the 2nd Q
Here is why Seattle still has a shot in this game. Indiana is not as good defensively as they once were. Without Artest they don’t have that personality. In other words, with this size lead they will relax and the Sonics could get hot.
The Sonics defense has picked up – this means the Pacers have only scored on 3 of the last 6 possessions rather then 16 of 22 in the 1st Quarter. We are dealing with different standards.

Pacers 38 Sonics 23 at the end of 1 Quarter
Watch the Sonics defensively and they don’t have a single player how raises their hands above their waste on defense.
Not a lot to say. The Pacers without O’Neal, Artest and Tinsley scored 38 points in the 1st Q. That is terrible. Absurdly terrible.
It is a real mystery. Do the players not have any pride, do they not have the talent, are the coaching schemes bad? I don’t know the answer I know this. The coaching staff emphasized defense all camp. They have pounded and pounded every practice and it is not clicking at all.

Pacers 11 Sonics 2 with 8:16 left in the ast Quarter
Disastrous start to the game.
The Pacers have scored on 5 straight possessions and all of them have been laty-ups.
Rick Carlise has gone big and is playing Stephen Jackson at the 2 forcing Allen to guard him.

News items and Storylines

Jermaine O'Neal is not going to play for the Pacers tonight
Jamal Tinsley is also out.
Wilkins will start at point for the Sonics. Weiss has said he will only play two point guards.
Danny Fortson is active and available.
Radmanovic is mired in a miserable slump. Will he be in the rotation?