Saturday, January 14, 2006


One win to the Super Bowl. This is going to be a crazy week in Seattle.
I am currently in Whistler taking a day or two to engulf the awesome powder snow. I left the mountain early to watch the ball game and here is good, the bad and the great. Just to let you know the Seahawks love has spread to Whistler. People are running around screaming, the bars were packed with Hawks fans and there is some serious partying going on here as well.

The Good
  • The Hawks were the superior team. Despite all the things we will throw into the bad category and their were a few, the Hawks were in control of the game, because they were superior from player 1 to the last player on the practice squad.

  • Darrell Jackson had an enormous game. He caught 9 of the 16 completions. The biggest thing is that he caught two deep balls. That was a part of the offense that had been quite for most of the season. Now with D-Jack healthy and a deep ball threat there is nothing left for the offense.

  • The pro-bowl play was key again today. Run left behind the pro bowl offensive lineman and a pro bowler fullback and the Hawks converted that on many key plays.

  • Amazing versatility from the Hawks to handle Shaun Alexander’s injury.

  • Mike Holmgren said this week that the key to the playoffs is to stay healthy and have your quarterback play at the top of his game. Hasselback did exactly that this week. He was very strong.

  • Defensively the Hawks 1st half was really amazing. The defensive speed was terrific. The week off my have brought back the legs and aggressiveness of the youngsters. LeRoy Hill and Lofa Tatupu continue to make fantastic plays on run defense.

  • The pass rush was terrific all game. The Hawks rarely brought the blitz and they got to Brunell or flushed Brunell from the pocket a ton with just a 4 man rush. On back to back plays in the 1st half the Hawks flushed Brunell twice with just a 3 man rush and in the end of the game they got to him with a 4 man rush consistently.

  • Nothing is better then when the right guys make the big plays. Mack Strong’s huge run on 3rd down was the key to solidifying the victory. Chuck Darby who is largely responsible for changing the culture of the defense had a huge sack in the 4th Quarter of the Skins final drive.

  • There is a side story to the long Mack Strong run. I believe the play is audible for Hassleback. When the opponent shows a blitz that is an overload from one side the Hawks added this season an audible where they run no matter what the down and distance is. This is why it has been so vital to have Alexander as the running back on 3rd down. In past year’s this has not been an option if it was 3rd and long. However, the running game has been so good that the Hawks have put it into the audible package this season. Instead of Alexander it was Strong and it was the play of the game.

  • To win in the NFL playoffs you need a run defense. The saying defense wins championships is overrated, but you have to be able to stop the run and the Hawks did an amazing job on Clinton Portis

  • A signature of this team all season long has been the answer drive. That is exactly what they did in the second quarter after the Skins took a 3-0 lead.

  • The pass to Joe J in the opening part of the third quarter on an audible that got blown up by the cornerback jumping the play and then Hasselback improvises and lobs it out for JJ for a huge pick up on what has a TD drive.

  • Bryce Fischer was awesome all game.

  • Holy cow could have the special teams return game been any worse. Two turnovers in the kicking game. That is insane. Jimmy Williams is lucky he is still on the team and someone didn’t cut him at halftime. That is totally inexcusable. Special Teams can’t turn the ball over. Josh Scobey gave the Skins a chance to win the game when he fumbled the kickoff

  • The defense was great all day with one exception. The drive immediately following the Hawks touchdown drive that put the Hawks up 17-3 and they immediately allowed a 4 play touchdown drive. It was vision of the past.

  • Alexander’s fumble in the red zone is the type of play that costs you a playoff game.

  • The passing game was really out of synch in the first half. The Skins’ ripped away the timing of the Hawks offense for most of the first half.

  • Getting greedy the Hawks had plenty of chances for a knock-out punch and didn’t do it. After taking a 14-3 lead the Hawks had the Skins on 3rd and 17 and they allowed it to be completed to Moss. Then the Skins converted on a 4th and 2.

  • Moss getting open on the 4th down rollout is another example of the Hawks not being able to close it.

  • Ken Hamlin being a part of the game, raising the 12th man flag.

  • No more mention of 1984

  • The defense dominated a game.

  • One win to the Super Bowl
  • Wednesday, January 11, 2006


    Impressive performance by Seattle.
    They played a disinterested team and they kept them at bay for the entire 48 minutes.
    Great job staying focused after the fight.
    Rashard Lewis was a go to guy tonight in a big way. 50 points. The Sonics ran everything through him tonight.
    When Luke hits his shots the Sonics are really impressive.
    Another good night from the young centers.
    If you want to know what bad leadership will do a team,

    Sonics 96 Magic 85 with 5:24 left in the 4th Quarter
    Nick Collison just made a game saving play. Ridnour had his shot blocked and Collison had the smarts to catch the ball out of the air and throw it up toward the hoop and it went in as the shot clock sounded. The Sonics were desperate for a bucket.
    Sonics finally gave Lewis a break and ran a play for Flip

    Sonics 94 Magic 85 with 6:45 left in the 4th Quarter
    Swift fouls out after 18 minutes. His pick setting is a huge asset.
    The Sonics are running everything through Rashard without ray. Who long can Rashard handle this?
    The Sonics need some easy baskets or this is going to get a little tough.
    For the first time tonight the Sonics obviously miss Ray.
    10-3 Magic run – Magic in the bonus.

    Sonics 84 Magic 66 at the end of the 3rd Quarter
    Seattle is toying with a disinterested Magic
    Lewis is killing the Magic .

    Sonics 78 Magic 61 with 3:32 left in the 3rd Quarter
    The Sonics are really clicking.
    Bob Hill is working this game. He is pushing the guys and then when he feels the need to slow down and get the exact possessions he wants he puts a halt to it and calls the play.
    Sonics are working everything through the post to Rashard.
    This has been impressive.

    Sonics 69 Magic 54 with 7:13 left in the 3rd quarter
    Great start to the second half.
    The offense is really crisp. It looks better when you make shots and Luke is burying everything.
    The ball movement is terrific and the I point again to the knowledge of where each guy is on the floor.
    The flip side is the Magic are not doing anything to prevent any Sonics movement.
    Steve Francis has been brutal tonight.

    Sonics 56 Orlando 47 at the half.
    Nice job by the Sonics to re-gain focus.
    Lewis has 18 and Ridnour has 12.
    Seattle played very well in the first half. They moved the ball terrifically and they made Orlando work on the offensive end

    Sonics 42 Magic 36 with 5:12 left in the 2nd Quarter
    It is really hard to focus on the game after the fight.
    Keyon Dooling went after Allen in the tunnel after they were ejected and was held back by security,. Everyone is tough when they have 3 people holding them back.
    I am not sure what the suspensions will be since it went into the crowd. Last year’s fight between Nene and Marcus Camby were 4 game suspensions for each player.

    Sonics 37 Magic 26 with 10:14 left in the 2nd Quarter
    Ray Allen just went off on Keyon Dooling.
    Ray Allen was running his route and when he stopped Dooling just decked Allen the way a linebacker would get a running back. When Allen came to his feet, Dooling stood over the top of him. When Allen wanted his spaced and he and Dooling embraced and fell into the crowd where Allen was on top of Dooling and busted him with an impressive right hook. When the players were being seperated Dooling threw a punch at Allen while he was being held by a Magic player. Dooling clearly instigated the altercation.
    Both Allen and Dooling got ejected. This will not be the last we see of this. Their will be lengthy suspensions and longer then usual because it went into the crowd.
    I have never ever seen Ray Allen snap the way he snapped. He lost it. You think of him as the ultimate gentleman, but it is clear that he has a braking point and we just saw it. WOW

    Sonics 31 Magic 21 at the end of 1st Quarter
    Sonics forced 6 turnovers in the Quarter
    Rashard, who has been struggling has a great match-up tonight and is killing the Magic in the post. He has 12 points
    Ridnour has 9.
    Now the real question is whether or not the Sonics maintain this energy all night without a let down to let the Magic back in the game.
    This was an all around effort rather then just outscoring a team.

    Sonics 29 Magic 18 with 1:06 left in the 1st Quarter
    Wow Seattle looks great.
    Luke Ridnour has 9 points and has been awesome.
    Defensively the Sonics are getting their hands on balls and are playing aggressively defensively.
    The double teaming of Howard is working terrifically

    Sonics 16 Magic 8 with 5:57 left in the 1st Quarter
    Bob Hill has instituted a 2 dribble contain rule. If you can contain your man for 2 dribbles all of the help defense should be able to align itself
    The Sonics defensive rotations look a great deal better so far tonight. They have worked as a unit very well.
    Offensively the floor is well spaced and the guys seem to have a really good idea where each guy is on the floor. That is so much of offense, knowing where the other guys are going to be.
    Hill really wants to offense to be relentless in their pressure on the defense. So far that has been evident.
    The Magic look really disinterested.


    1) Sonics without Reggie Evans and Danny Fortson against a good rebounding team
    2) First home game for Head Coach Bob Hill
    3) Steve Francis matched up with Ray Allen
    4) Can Rashard get going?

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006


    Obviously, 4 games into an era is way to early to make any conclusions. However, I thought it was amazing how after just 4 games the numbers of the Sonics under Bob Hill and under Bob Weiss are absurdly similar. Despite, different line-ups, different rotations and a different approach, things seems terribly similar. Check out the numbers below.

    Pace – Amount of trips up the floor in a game
    Off and Def – Efficiency Rating. Pts scored or allowed per 100 possessions
    EFG – Effective Field Goal Percentage, which weighs 3 pt shots for their extra value
    DEFG – Defensive Effective Field Goal Pecentage
    OffR – Offensive Rebounding Percentage
    DefR – Defensive Rebounding Percentage
    TO% -- Percentage of possessions in which you commit a turnover
    DT)% - Percentage of possessions in which you force a turnover
    FTA -- Free throws per game
    DFTA – Free throw allowed per game

    Coach  Pace  Off  Def   EFG  DEFG OfR  DefR TO%  DTO% FTA  DFT
    Weiss 93.5 108.2 114.9 49.2 54.2 32.7 70.8 13.8 15.4 26.7 29.4
    Hill 92.7 107.9 115.7 47.1 50.6 35.0 64.8 11.2 12.4 26.5 31.8


    I like to play around with stats to find a player’s value. Building off a stat created by John Hollinger I have built a stud% and a dud% stat. The Stud% is built to reward those players who shoot above the league average and are able to get their shots off a lot. The Dud% is to penalize the player who takes a ton of shots to get his points.

    The theory behind this is the value of a possession. If Chris Webber takes 23 shots to get his 20 points that is not valuing a possession. On the other hand, if a player only needs 15 shots to get 25 points that gives his team amazing value.

    Also, I believe strongly in the free throw and the 3 pointer. Yes, this seems contradictory. You constantly here commentators talking about how teams rely too much on the three, they seem to be forgetting that the 3 counts 50% more then a two.

    In addition, the free throw is an amazingly high percentage possession.
    To understand the numbers a 0 is league average. Anything over 50 or under 50 is worth noting. Above 100 is unreal and below –100 is considerably bad

    Stud % Leaders (600 minute min)

    1. Paul Pierce 185
    2. LeBron James 167
    3. Chauncey Billiups 166
    4. Richard Jefferson 155
    5. Wally Szczerbiak 133
    6. Manu Ginobili 129
    7. Kevin Garnett 127
    8. Channing Frye 122
    9. Shar Abdur-Rahim 118
    10. Elton Brand 114
    11. Steve Nash 114
    Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billiups are having amazing seasons. It is really surprising that two Timberwolves make the top 10 and that team is having a hard time scoring. Having a rookie in this list is remarkable. How Larry Brown isn’t playing Frye more is a mystery. Ike Diogu will lead the league when he becomes eligible.

    Dud% Leaders (300 minute min – crappy players don’t get as much time)
    1. Jim Jackson -206
    2. Raymond Felton -202
    3. Rashad McCants -182
    4. Antonio Burks -160
    5. Travis Outlaw -159
    6. Ryan Bowen -158
    7. Eddie Griffin -144
    8. Kris Humprhries -142
    9. Malik Rose -129
    10. Quentin Richardson-127

    Next on the list are Carlos Arroyo, Desmond Mason and Johan Petro.

    Monday, January 09, 2006


    Iverson was too good.
    Allen had another great game
    Rashard had no legs
    Vlady's line looks good but his game was very poor.

    Sixers 101 Sonics 94 with 2:41 left in the 4th
    Sonics are getting the ball out of Iverson’s hand everytime
    They are staying with the small line-up.
    Ridnour has actually done a decent job on Iverson
    Iverson has been unreal.

    Sixers 93 Sonics 90 with 7:36 left
    Sonics are battling but they can’t get enough stops
    Iverson is on fire. He is unstoppable.
    The line-up is small – Luke, Flip, Ray, Rashard and Vlady

    Sixers 79 Sonics 60 with 3:30 left in the 3rd Quarter
    Out of gas -- 30 -13 in the Q
    Iverson just went coast to coast by all 5 Sonics defenders and none of the impeded him at any point as he hit a finger role lay-up
    Hill has been working this team hard and they have just completely lost any focus.
    Defensively they are not stopping anything.
    The problem with this team is there are not enough players who consistently play at the same level everynight.

    Sixers 66 Sonics 55 with 7:14 left in the 3rd Quarter
    Sonics are collapsing right now
    Get a free dunk, free dunks we are giving free dunks.
    Be concerned the Sixers are in the bonus at the 7:14 mark.

    Sixers 49 Sonics 47 at the half
    Iverson has 19. He is impossible to guard. The Sonics have to contain him. This might be hard to believe but Ridnou did a nice job early. He got going on Murray
    The Sonics are slugging their way through this on the boards.
    Offensive rebounding has been the key for the Sups.
    They have 50% of the offensive rebounds

    Sonics 38 Sixers 35 with 4:43 left in the 2nd Quarter
    Robert Swift is playing well again.
    The Sixers offense misses Chris Webber badly
    Sonics are crushing the Sixers on the offensive glass
    I have never been a fan of Mo Cheeks. His teams never seem to have offensive plays and seem to have very little defensive plan. Today applies to my belief

    Sonics 26 Sixers 22 at the end of 1 Quarter
    Very good defensive quarter from the Sonics
    Hill said in the pre-game that he thought Lewis had heavy legs and that was certainly true. He pulled him early and went to Wilkins
    Luke played a strong first quarter bouncing back from the missed free throws.
    Good defense on Iverson.

    Sonics 15 Sixers 14 with 6:54 left in the 1st Quarter
    Sixers are one of the best in the NBA at forcing turns and the Sonics have turned it over already 4 times.
    Korver has missed his first three 3 ball attempts – that only means 3 others will go in.
    So far so good at keeping Iverson in front of the Sonics defenders.

    Sunday, January 08, 2006


    Knicks 120 Sonics 116 – FINAL SCORE
    Great final minutes of the game
    Ray Allen goes baseline away from the Collison pick but doesn’t hit the shot
    Marbury runs a pick and roll with Curry. The Sonics defend it well and the ball goes to the rookie Lee in the corner and he hits the 19 footer. Knicks by 2 :21.6 seconds
    Ridnour drives the basket and gets fouled but the 90+% free throw shooter MISSES BOTH FREE THROWS.
    Down 4 Vlady hits a three to make it a 1 point game with :08 left.
    Sonics with :6 left get a good look for Ray but he misses the three.

    Sonics 113 Knicks 111 with 1:15 left in the 4th Quarter
    Ohhh Vlade !!!!!! back to back three ties it at 111-111. He has 7 three’s
    Ohhh Vlade !!!!!! Valde then hits a pull up
    Petro fouls out in 17 minutes - 4 points and 8 rebounds.but 2 of 10.

    Knicks 105 Sonics 101 with 4:30 left in the 4th
    Sonics are 4 of 16 in the 4th Q and ended the 3rd Quarter 2 of 11
    Petro is very active down low but has no idea how to finish in traffic, yet.
    Luke has replaced Flip

    Knicks 101 Sonis 98 with 6:29 left in the 4th Quarter
    Knicks are pounding to Curry
    Vlady hit his first 5 three attempts today.
    Knikcs on a 6-0 run
    Sonics have Flip, Allen, Lewis, Vlady and Petro on the floor.
    A little surprised considering how much better Swift has played today then Petro that Petro is getting the late minutes.
    Seattle must defensive rebound to win
    Sonics are 5 of their last 20 from the field

    Knicks 91 Sonics 90 at the end of quarters
    The game has gone small. The Sonics are playing three guards and Reggie as the center
    The Sonics can’t stop the basketball at all. Marbury is killing them going through the lane
    The tempo is amazingly fast.
    The game is going to come down to if the Sonics can continue to bury the three and if the Knicks are able to live at the free throw line.
    Sonics allow 30 in the 3rd Quarter

    Knicks 73 Sonics 67 with 8:45 left in the 3rd Quarter
    Sonics can’t stop anything.
    They are getting pounded deep and dribble penetration is an issue
    Nate Robinson with another big play – a 4 point play

    Sonics 62 Knicks 61 at end 1st half
    Sonics are not doing a very good job on the defensive glass.
    Nate Robinson propelled the Knicks in the 2nd Q back in to the game
    The Sonics are living by the 3.
    The Sonics allow 36 points in the 2nd Quarter

    Sonics 55 Knicks 53 with 2:50 left in the 2nd Quarter
    Sonics are 7 of 11 from 3
    Nate the great is on fire – 8 straight points for the Knicks
    Vlady commits back to back terrible turnovers and then doesn’t grab a rebound and gives the Knicks another two points. He has the jumper going today, but he is making it tough on Coach Hill to keep him on the floor.
    Once again the Sonics struggled with Ray off the floor.

    Sonics 44 Knikcs 39 with 6:54 left in the 2nd Quarter
    Petro gets his 3rd foul – he really is having a tough time today.
    On the other hand, Swift is playing very well
    Sonics lead by as many as 10
    Reminder – Allen and Marbury were traded for each other on draft day
    The Knicks have brought in Trevor Ariza to guard Ray Allen who is on fire

    Sonics 35 Knicks 25 at the end of 1 Quarter
    Great offensive quarter from the Sonics
    Swift and Collison are setting very good picks.
    Jerome James has quickly reminded me of why he drove us batty. Does I. Thomas actually watch the NBA or have anyone who watches the NBA before he signs players?

    Sonics 26 Knicks 21 with 2:33 left in the 1st Quarter
    Robert Swift is holding his own in the post.
    He hit a really nice 9 foot turnaround jumper. He shot the same shot the other night and in the simulblog I mentioned how nice it looked. It really could be a dynamite move.
    Jerome James is in the game to guard Swift.
    Sonics are hitting the three’s – 4 in the Q

    Sonics 19 Knicks 14 with 5:46 left in the 1st Quarter
    Not a lot of stops in the early going. Knicks have scored on 7 of the first 8 possessions and the Sonics have scored on 7 of their first 8.
    Eddy Curry is crushing Johan Petro. Curry has beat him deep in the block and they have crushed the Sonics on the high pick n roll
    Swift replaces Petro at the 7:00 who committed two fouls.
    Sonics are without Danny Fortson and Vitaly Potapenko

    Weiss v. Hill
    • Effective Field Goal % defense, which weights 3 pts shots, has gone from 30th in the league at 54.2 to 2nd in the league at 45.9 almost a 10% difference.
    • Offensive rebounding has disappeared from 32.7 % 3rd in the NBA to 26.4% of offensive rebounds
    • Sonics aren’t shooting under Hill, their effective field goal % is 44.3 which would be last in the NBA
    • Under Hill Sonics defense has been entirely making the other team miss, they are not rebounding and not forcing turns