Friday, March 31, 2006


UPDATE -- I wrote this in December. A similiar story was just written on ESPN. The part of the story John Hollinger didn't include is how amazing it is that the Sonics have won any games at all with a defense this bad. Check out what the rest of the teams that have been at this nadir did in the win total.

Here is what I found.
First, since 1988, year the Minnesota Timberwolves entered the NBA no team has had a defensive rating as bad as the Sonics current rating of 114.6. Defensive rating is figured as points allowed per 100 possessions.
The only teams that were anywhere close are as follows …..

Year Team Def Rating Wins
05-06 Sonics 114.6 ??
92-93 Mavericks 114.3 11
90-91 Nuggets 113.2 20
95-96 76ers 111.6 18
94-95 Pistons 111.6 28
89-90 Magic 111.6 18
97-98 Grizzlies 111.3 19
97-98 Nuggets 111.1 11
94-95 Wolves 111.1 21

30 teams since 1988 have had a defensive rating worse then 110. Three of those teams managed to get to 41 wins but none were above .500

The only real way to judge a defensive team from one year to the next is to judge them in relation to the league average. This accounts for increases and decreases in scoring trends. The Sonics defensive rating is 114.6 and the league average is 102.6. Therefore the Sonics are a –12.

Again this is the worst of any team in the NBA since the 1988 season and maybe longer.
Here are the other terrible teams and their success rate …..

Year Team Def to Avg Wins
05-06 Sonics -12 ???
99-00 Clippers -10.46 15
99-00 Warriors -9.22 19
92-93 Mavericks -9.21 11
97-98 Grizzlies -8.63 19
99-00 Grizzlies -8.63 22
03-04 Magic -8.59 21
99-00 Bucks -8.49 42
90-91 Nuggets -8.49 20
97-98 Nuggets -8.39 11

The only team that won more then 22 games was Ray Allen’s Milwaukee Bucks.

None of this accounts for how good the Sonics are offensively. Therefore, I looked at efficiency differential, offensive efficiency minus defensive efficiency and charted 16 years of efficiency differential and its correlation to wins. The Sonics currently have an efficiency differential of –7.2, 4th worst in the league. History says that over the past 16 years teams with a –7.2 win between 21 and 28 games.

The most alarming findings were the following over the last 16 years …
No team with an efficiency differential of –7 or worse has ever won 30 games.
No team with an efficiency differential of –6 or worse has ever won 35 games.
No team with an efficiency differential of –5 or worse has ever won 37 games.
No team with an efficiency differential of –4 or worse has ever won 39 games.


Lakers 92 Sonics 83 with 5:20 left in the 4th Quarter
Here is this for weird – Mikki Moore gets tied up on a jump ball and has his finger dislocated. He sprints straight to the locker-room. At this point Moore looks like he can’t make the jump ball so he is going to be DQ’d and the Lakers choose who is jumping. After much consternation Hill tries to send out Wilcox but the Lakers choose Ridnour as they are about to tip Moore comes running out of the locker-room and onto the floor. Now what …. Sonics have to take a time out to make it legal that Moore went to the locker-room. It was mass confusion.
Other notes – Luke is 0 for 8
18 turnovers for the Sonics
Sups got hot from three hitting two in a row to get the game to 6 but it is a false run because you can't live that way.

Kobes 81 Sonics 73 at the end of 3 Quarters
Kobe scored 10 of the final 14 points of the Quarter including a sick bucket at the buzzer
When Kobe gets hot he stops defending and the Sonics didn’t have anyone in the game who could take advantage of it.
Another poor third quarter for the Sonics 29-17 they were outscored
Sonics turnover issue is officially an issue – 15 turnovers in the game and 6 in the quarter

Lakers 73 Sonics 70 2:00 left in the 3rd Quarter
Kobe time. He has scored on the last 3 possessions and has 10 in the quarter
Sonics feel like they are on the verge of getting blown out but it has felt that way most of the night and they have made the plays.
Hill moves Wilkins to the 2 and brings Lewis is at the 3 with Allen resting and the Sups down by 3

Lakers 63 Sonics 61 with 6:57 left in the 3rd Quarter
Can the Sonics get rid of the 3rd Quarter and call it something else.
They have been terrible in the 3rd Q all year
9-0 Lakers run
22-9 run since 2nd Quarter
Lewis and Petro are out – Swift and Wilkins in
Chris Wilcox has missed three in a row.
Lakers got there 1st fast break point at the 9:05 mark of the 3rd Quarter
Kobe in the Quarter is 2 of 3 --- 1 was a fast break dunk.

Sonics 56 Lakers 52 at the half
Lakers 11-4 to the end the half
Sonics offense disappeared in the final moments of the half
Kobe is 4 of 15 when he is guarded by Ray Allen
Kobe is noticeable better tonight when he does not dribble when he has put the ball on the floor he has miss

Sonics 50 Lakers 38 with 3:59 in the 2nd Quarter
Sonics on a 13-2 run
Kobe is just 4 of 14 when being guarded by Ray today
Kobe has 17 on 18 shots and Ray has 16 on 11 shots
Seattle continues to get very good looks on the offensive end
Mikki Moore took a charge from Kobe and it resulted in a Kobe tech

Sonics 37 Lakers 33 with 8:03 left in the 2nd Quarter
Earl is boom or bust tonight. He is going full speed and making great plays and then on the next possession throwing it all over the gym
Swift made a terrible play and then looked very fearful about what he had just done. That is not the correct reaction.
Game feels like it is swinging toward the Lakers

Sonics 28 Lakers 23 at the end of 1 Quarter
The Sonics are pushing the ball and the getting really good looks.
The Lakers are a poor defensive team rotating out to the three point line.
They are pretty good when it comes to covering the paint and the rollers but they are really slow getting out on shooters. If the Sonics stay focused they will get good looks all game.
The Sonics defensive rebounding has not be as good as it needs to be. On the final play Kwame Brown stole a rebound from Robert Swift that the youngster should have never let get away, he was either weak or miss jumped.

Sonics 19 Lakers 15 with 4:31 left in the 1st Quarter
Kobe misses his first three shots and is 2 of 6.
Lakers are going at Rashard with Lamar Odom
Lewis has made two great hustle plays for the Sonics
Wilcox has made two buckets out of isolation plays in the post on Brian Cook
High paced game early on.


I am not sure how you are supposed to equate spring training numbers to regular season performance, but if there is any relation at all the Mariners are in serious trouble.
The Mariners left Arizona with a 8.18 ERA. Sure they pitched a ton of guys that aren’t going to be in the big leagues this season, but on the other hand in the last two nights Moyer allowed 8 runs in 2 innings and Pineiro allowed seven in six innings.

All of this will look at a lot better when the pitchers get to throw in the Northwest cold of April and May in Safeco Field. However, what happens when they hit the road.
<-p> The optimism of this starting staff starts and ends with one man, Felix. There is no reason to believe he will be anything, but terrific. However, the Mariners are still managing him with kid gloves and would like to keep his season total innings pitched, including spring training, under 200.

From there it will be a crap shoot. In reverse order, nothing new pitching coach Rafael Chaves has done has changed Gil Meche and his performance. Dr. Phil is the only hope. My best guess is we get 5 starts from Meche before everyone throws there hands in the air and says I quit. There is nothing in his make-up that makes me believe he will be able to translate into a top line pitcher.

Joel Pineiro, despite his last outing, give the opening day optimists some room. Pineiro’s arm was never right last year and on occasion he showed signs that when it is right he can be terrific again. Truly the Mariners need a #3 quality season out of Pineiro because it is somewhat inevitable that either Washburn or Moyer will fade.

Speaking of Washburn, let’s forget about the contract for a moment. Yes, we all know it was bad, but the Mariners believe that since they paid for the hitters they had to follow the next season paying for pitching. I might not pass debate class if I had to defend it, but that is what they believe. Anyway, Washburn is a terrific inning eater who when blessed with a really good offense will keep you in enough games to win. He might be Aaron Sele before he got old. That is the best I can imagine out of Washburn. I doubt there will be many days when we say, “Washburn controlled that game.”

Lastly, we have Moyer. Can he only pitch at home? My concern with this staff is when Moyer throws up a stinker on the road, like he did every time last year, who is going to be able to stop the bleeding of the bullpen on a road trip.

Final thought. The reality and cruelty of injuries is that the Mariners will need two more starters this year to combine for almost 30 starts. Think about the Yankees last year. That is where this all falls apart. Who is getting those starts? Can they keep the M’s in games? The 30 extra starts is what separates staffs in baseball.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Day 1 for the Huskies had a unusual and unfortunate twist. Tyrone Willingham announced that offensive line coach Mike Denbrock has left the team due to an "unspecified illness." They hope he will be able to return by the end of the spring. In the meantime, former Husky and former GA Kyle Benn has been hired to replace Denbrock.

The offensive line is the #1 concern this Spring and losing the position coach is a tremendous blow. Moreover, the entire spring relies on the offensive line coming through. If the offensive line is in shambles then it become impossible to evaluate both the other offensive players and the opposing defensive players.

On a more positive note, Willingham had a nice quote about JR Hasty on "J.R. makes yardage," Willingham said. "Talk about not being a sprint champion or this or that, and we take up so much time talking about what they aren't we lose focus on what they do. He gains yardage and understands how to do that, and that's a great quality to have."


Put your best caption in the comment zone. Please keep it respectful. I wll post the best ones as they come in.


Huskies start their spring practice. As Dick Baird alterly pointed out last year was about getting acquainted this year is about getting something done. Both the Times and the PI have put together their questions to be answered in the spring pieces.

Here is a the Locked on Sports breakdown of this three week run. Of course, Willingham continues his fan unfriendly approach of closing the practices therefore, we will not be able to relay any insight from the practices to you.

Question #1 is at QB – What I think gets interesting here is that Stanback had no growth for most of last year. Now as a senior that becomes a huge drawback for him in the competition. If he doesn’t show amazing growth and blow DuRocher out then I think he losses this job. On the other hand, it is undeniable he is the best playmaker on the offense and you can have that sitting on the bench. Tim Lappano said on the other day we need to have the ball in #4 hands more often. Yet, as a QB being a senior is going to work against him.

Injuries could cripple the spring, particularly to the offensive line. The numbers are so small that if they lose one or two guys it is going to become impossible to make progress for the offense as a whole. This happened a few years ago and really stunted the growth of Gilbertson’s team.

Position changes. There are gaps all across this roster. Most of the players who played last year were inadequate. The real task of this coaching staff is going to find ways to maximize what may be insufficient talent by placing them in the correct positions.

Someone on the defensive line better step up or have an attitude change. Greyson Gunheim hasn’t shown the balls to be a great pass rusher. Donny Mateaki hasn’t been able to stay healthy or be influential when he is on the field. These guys have to change their make-up or the Huskies need to find guys to replace them.

Here is the scariest thing. There are only 3 newcomers that have any chance of making an impact on this roster. Therefore, there better be a huge surge from last year’s freshman who are now physically ready to make a mark. The guy on the top of that list is JR Hasty

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Rockets 115 Sonics 87 – FINAL SCORE
Not much to say
Defensively this was joke. The Rockets are the worst offensive team in the NBA without McGrady and the Sups allowed 60+ in the first half.
Finally at the end of the night the Sonics had more field goals then turnovers.

Rockets 76 Sonics not very many with 6:39 left in the 3rd Quarter
Is it a bad sign if you are down 30 and your opponent goes on a 10-0 run.
Watson hits back to back three’s to bring Seattle within 34 – look out here we come

Rockets 64 Sonics 32 at the half
When you have more turnovers then field goals you are in trouble. Particularly if you have played 24 minutes.
Rockets shot 66% and the Sonics have shot 22% in the first half
Allen is 1 for 12.

Rockets 56 Sonics 25 with 2:56 left in the 2nd Quarter
Is there ever a point where you can just go home. Just hit he re-set button and say forget.
This would be the night.
The Sonics have no energy, no flow, no interest.
This is really tough to watch.
The idea of the Rockets scoring 56 points in a half is inconceivable. To do it with 2:56 left is even worse.

Rockets 37 Seattle 18 with 7:59 left in the 2nd Quarter
Seattle missed 14 straight shots
This is absurd. The Rockets are a terrible offensive team. I mean really really terrible and Seattle can’t stop them tonight.
Rockets are shooting 60% and the Sonics are shooting 20%
Ray Allen is 0 for 7
Seattle has 8 turnovers and 6 field goals.

Rockets 29 Sonics 10 at the end of 1 Quarter

This one has gotten away in a hurry
Juwan Howard crushed Chris Wilcox early in the game.
Wilcox really is a poor post defender.
Seattle can’t hit a shot tonight
Neither big has been able to handle Yao Ming

Rashard Lewis is out for tonight's game. Damien Wilkins will start in his place. Over the past two years Wilkins has thrived in this circumstances.

Spring Training - Morse, Dobbs sent down; Petagine, Borchard make roster

John Hickkey of the PI is reporting that the roster moves have been made.Spring Training - Morse, Dobbs sent down; Petagine, Borchard make roster: "As a result, two players who were not in camp when spring training started, first baseman Roberto Petagine and outfielder Joe Borchard, will make the team. But even they can't afford to be too comfortable -- one of them probably will be the odd man out when Matt Lawton's 10-day steroids supension to start the season has run its course.

Two players who reasonably could be expected to make the team, infielder/outfielder Mike Morse and first baseman/third baseman Greg Dobbs, won't. Morse will be asked to play in left and right and at third, short and first for the Rainiers."

ANALYSIS -- I am surprised that Dobbs couldn't make the roster. He has such a good swing and seemed to have the knack to pinch hit. In addition, I like Morse being sent down. This is what they should have done last year so he could learn the outfield. His natural knack at the plate is something you have to find a spot for once he gets comfortable on the big league level.

In addition on the pitching front the Mariners optioned Nagotte and reassigned Kevin Appier.

Locked on Sports: To foul or not: The answer is simple

Locked on Sports: To foul or not: The answer is simple: "When a basketball team is up by three points in the final seconds of a game, it has the option to foul the other team. This puts the opponent at the free-throw line, eliminating the chance of hitting a game-tying 3-pointer.

Numerous variables go into this decision: how much time is left, rebounding, inbounds plays and more.

However, no matter how you crunch the numbers, the correct move is to foul.

Yet coaches make their decisions based on fear of the worst-case scenario and blow this call almost every time.

Friday night, Washington had a three-point lead with seven seconds to play and decided not to foul a Connecticut player. Instead, Rashad Anderson, a 41-percent shooter from 3-point range, tied the game with 1.8 seconds left.

I can comfortably say had the Huskies fouled instead of trying to prevent the shot, they would have played another game and possibly would be on their way to Indianapolis for the Final Four."

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Are you kidding me !!!! Ray Allen does it again. A buzzer beater on an impossible angle. Allen goes 1 on 1 on Eddie Jones one of the best in the game and hits the game winner.
The game changed when down 86-82 the Sups switched Petro onto Gasol. He forced Gasol off the box and Gasol who was brilliant all night finished the night going 1 for 5 with 2 FT over the final 8 minutes of the game.
Not only did Petro play d but he hit two 15 foot jumpers in the final 3 minutes.
Petro in back to back nights guarded Duncan and Gasol. His athleticism could allow him to be a very special defensive player.
Rashard Lewis got hurt with 2:45 left and Sonics to survive

Grizz 93 Soncis 89 with 3:12 left in the 4th Quarter
Huge play – Lewis missed his signature running hook and when he missed he hurt his ankle and the Grizz went the other direction with a 5 on 4 and Miller hit a three.
Miller has back to back buckets
Gasol got his first shot on Petro
We are back into the halfcourt game and Memphis is putting the clamps down defensively.
Earl Waston is finishing

Sonics 89 Grizz 86 with 5:00 left in the 4th Quarter
Gasol scored on the first threee possession while being guarded by Moore
Since they switched Petro onto Gasol he is 0 for 2 with a turnover.
Allen another nasty three

Memphis 80 Soncis 76 at the end of 3 Quarters
Gasol has 38 points
When will the Sonic double him in the 4th?

Sonics 76 Memphis 75 with 1:30 left in the 3rd Quarter
Gasol scored on three straight possessions on Wilcox he has 36
The game is in the half court for Seattle offensively
Eddie Jones has gotten hot
Seattle is dribbling way to much right now.
Swift’s lack of upper body strength has been evident tonight

Sonics 71 Grizz 64 with 5:37 left in the 3rd Quarter
Wilcox three dunks in the Quarter
Grizz scored on the first 5 possessions, but Seattle has recovered.
Sonics need to keep the pace up.

Sonics 59 Grizz 49 at the halftime
Wow !!!
Rebounding edge 26-12
Bench play has been terrific. Mikki Moore came in for Wilcox and played great.
The game changed when Allen was on the bench and Seattle started there run.

Sonics 59 Grizz 49 at the halftime
Wow !!!
Rebounding edge 26-17
Bench play has been terrific. Mikki Moore came in for Wilcox and played great.
The game changed when Allen was on the bench and Seattle started there run.

Sonics 44 Grizz 37 with 5:55 left in the 2nd Quarter
This is remarkable.
The Soncis have been stymied by the Grizz all year and tonight they are taking it to Memphis.
Earl Watson has changed this team moreso then any player
Swift showed his talent with a great rebound and then sprinted the floor and was there for the put-back. Which he missed and then missed the free throws. So he is not there yet.

Sonics 28 Grizz 27 at the end of 1 Quarter
28 points against the Grizz in a Q is remarkable.
Great comeback.
Gasol has been great and the Sonics have been single teamed. The instinct is to not stay with the single team. I would stay with it. He won’t score 20 every quarter and his teammates are getting stale

Sonics 24 Grizz 24 with 2:51 left in the 2:36 left in the 1st Quarter
Holy smokes Sonics have hit 7 of their last 8 and Ridnour has been the offensive punch.
Most amazingly they have done this with Allen on the bench.
Allen has the biggest discrepancy of any player in the NBA in how his team performs when he is on the floor v. off the floor. This is very rare to make a run with Allen on the bench. Suddenly, if you can make a run with Ray on the bench you can win this game.
If the Sonics score on Memphis after scoring on San Antonio then they are for real offensively.
Earl Watson has been terrific

Memphis 14 Gasol 12 Sonics 2 with 8:00 left in the 1st Quarter
Gasol is dominating !!!!!
Gasol really has developed an awesome all around game.
First possession he put it on the floor at Wilcox and hit a 10 footer
Next possession he got doubled on the dribble and hit Akins for a three.
Then later he put it on the floor and went for the reverse lay-up.
The next possession they re-set him in the post and he hit a turnaround.
Then he got it again on the left block and straightened up on Petro and he dribbled on step to the baseline and then hit a step back from behind the backboard.
He has directly contributed 12 of the 14 points.
Lewis who has been terrible all year against the Grizz has not been very good today


I thought it would be interesting to see how the Sonics two young bigs were performing at a per 40 minute rate compared to the other young bigs in the NBA. Also, I have included Yao Ming as the All-Star.

These numbers for Swift and Petro are since Hill took over.

Player          Points Rebounds Blocks
Yao Ming 25.4 11.9 1.9
Robert Swift 12.8 11.1 2.6
Johan Petro 12.0 10.0 1.5
Channing Frye 20.4 9.5 1.2
Dwight Howard 17.0 13.3 1.6
Emeka Okafor 15.8 11.9 2.3
Andrew Bogut 12.4 10.1 1.3
Tyson Chandler 7.8 13.5 1.9
Chris Kaman 14.1 11.5 1.8
Andris Biedrins 10.3 10.4 2.0
Rafael Aruajo 7.3 10.0 0.4
Andrew Bynum 9.4 9.7 2.5


According to the Seattle P-I Spring Training Blog Jeremy Reed wrist is not broken. According to the story the wrist problem is an old fracture not a break. While opening day may be a long shot it is not out of the question that he could avoid going on the DL.


After visting numerous teams Maurice Morris found a soft market and has returned to Seattle signing a three year contract to be Alexander's back-up. The Hawks had hoped that Morris would return the entire time, but allowed him to test the market and see if he had other opportunites. The market has been soft for all running backs, starters and back-ups alike.

This is good news for the Hawks. Morris knows the system and the role. Moreover, he is gaining experience each year and is a valuable asset to the Hawks. He will likely recieve more and more time as Alexander ages.


According to today's Indianapolis Star ... A source close to Mark Few said Monday the Gonzaga coach has been contacted and told he is not considered a candidate at Indiana.

That would tell me that Indiana is very close to making their hire. UPDATE --- In fact they are and the Hoosiers have hired former Cougar Head Coach Kelvin Sampson from Oklahome. Nothing like losing in the first round in back to back years and picking up a new gig.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Felix Hernandez forced to sit by pain from shin splints

A minor set-back for Felix. Here is the Seattle-PI report.
Felix Hernandez forced to sit by pain from shin splints: "Prized Seattle prospect Felix Hernandez, who has been experiencing some right leg pain, has been scratched from his Wednesday start.

Hernandez has developed a mild case of shin splints, and the Mariners want to make sure their 19-year-old No. 5 starter doesn't get any worse. He's been scratched from all running exercises for the time being, although he can do regular arm and upper-body work."



It is over !!! Locke's numbers and Mitch the guru both should get an award for inadequacy. Nonetheless, neither bracket has any more chance to score points. That means that the NUMBERS HAVE DEFEATED THE GURU. Certainly, it wasn't a win of elegance but nonetheless it was a win.

Therefore, after making fun. mocking and general disrespect to the concept of picking a bracket via history and the numbers, Mitch Levy will be writing a $200 check to the scholarship fund of Four Winds Westward Ho Summer Camp located on Orcas Island.

Mitch's Final 4 - West Virginia, Memphis, UConn, Boston College
Locke's Final 4 - Texas, Kansas, UConn, Florida

Team's Mitch has in the Elite 8 that Locke's numbers don't -- West Virginia, Memphis, Indiana, Michigan St., Boston College.

Team's Mitch has in the Sweet 16 that Locke's numbers don't -- LSU, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Michigan St., Tennessee,Georgetown

Current Standings
Mitch's Teams left as of the Sweet 16 = 11
Locke's Teams left as of the Sweet 16 = 10

Mitch's Teams left as of the Elite 8 = 3
Locke's Teams left as of the Elite 8 = 5

Big Games in the Sweet 16
Texas (Locke) v. West Virginia (Mitch) --- Locke wins
Villanova (Locke) v. Boston College (Mitch) -- Locke wins
Memphis (Mitch) v. Bradley (none) -- Mitch wins
UCLA (Locke) v. Gonzaga (none) -- Locke wins


The game of the year other then in Phoenix
The Sonics play toe for toe with the World Champions and avoid a collapse with a big three by Allen down the stretch.
Petro made a huge defensive play knocking the ball away from Duncan on an inbound to prevent the Spurs from getting a final shot
The Sonics were on the verge of a collapse. Luke Ridnour had four turnovers in the final 2 minutes and it lead to the Spurs getting the lead.
Allen then went one on one on Bowen and nailed a three to win it.
Controversial call a moment before when Horry intercepted a pass but either fell or was knocked out of bounds and the officials ruled him out of bounds to give the Sonics another shot.
An amazing win.
The Sonics offense was better then the Spurs defense and the Sonics showed a defensive approach that they hadn’t had all season.
Does this make you believe?

Sonics 100 Spurs 93 with 2:37 left in the 4th Quarter
Oh my oh my oh my
Luke hits Wilcox on his way to the basket but he misses and JOHAN PETRO FINISHES IT OFF WITH AUTHORITY ---- WOW!!!
A few plays before the Sonics defense forces a turnover and the Sups get a fast break Ridnour leads the break, he wants to go to Wilcox on the left but the spacing is bad and somehow some way he sees Lewis trailing and leaves it behind in traffic for LEWIS WHO FINISHES IT OFF WITH AUTHORITY
Sonics 9 of 13 in the Quarter

Sonics 98 Spurs 93 with 3:26 left in the 4th Q
This is night that makes you believe
This is a night that makes you renew season tickets
This is a night that makes all of the struggles seem distant
The Sonics are outplaying the Spurs on both ends of the floor

Sonics 90 Spurs 85 with 6:43 left in the 4th Quarter
This the game of the year. The intensity is great. The Spurs are the best and Seattle is playing right with the,
Official Jimmy Clark has a good sense of humor, Horry was disputing a foul call and Clark says to the scorers table -- “he bumped and he hit hit him and then he blocked the shot but that was too late.”

Sonics 84 Spurs 78 with 9:25 in the 4th Quarter
What a start to the 4th
Petro gets back to back baskets
Allen buries a transition three. 6 already in the 4th quarter – 30 for the game.
Great defense on Parker has highlighted the 4th quarter.

Sonics 74 Spurs 74 at the end of 3 Quarters
Great atmosphere here at Key Arena tonight.
Luke Ridnour is playing very well tonight. He is getting around screens with the ball very quickly. He is aggressive into the lane. He is playing even with Tony Parker right now.
Plus, he has hit some big outside shots.
However, he just made a huge brain cramp trying to catch a pass that was going out of bounds and he stepped on the endline – the Sonics would have got the ball underneath their own basket – it didn’t cost the Sonics
The Sonics defensive game plan on Manu Ginobili is very very strong. They are doubling him and getting ball out of his hand to discontinue his ability to probe the defense.
Seattle is playing hard enough to get the Spurs frustrated.

Spurs 65 Sonics 62 with 4:35 left in the 3rd Quarter
Ray Allen back to back threes.
Seattle is really playing well tonight. Mainly on the defensive end.
Allen hit a three a moment ago and it was the first foul called on the Spurs in the entire quarter. Seattle has 7.

Spurs 61 Sonics 55 with 5:50 left in the 3rd Quarter
Spurs have come out of the half and run every play to Duncan in the post trying to go at Chris Wilcox.
The other play the Spurs are living on is a pick n roll with Parker and the non-Duncan big. This forces the Sonics to leave Duncan and to help on rotation. That is a tough quandary. It is great coaching moves to make a player like Nazr Mohhamed have value.
Swift just got three fouls on two possessions and they were tickty tact. They will go away in a few years.

Spurs 46 Sonics 42 at the half
Robert Swift is going to be really good if he wants to be.
I am watching him and I can’t find anything that he physically can’t do.
He has great hoops, good hands, he needs better balance but his balance is very good.
He is slowing down in the post offensively. He has very defensive instincts to block shots.
What he needs is time on the floor, he needs to understand the game and he needs to get the respect of everyone around him.
The Sonics have responded well to the Bowen incident and are playing right with the Spurs. This has been impressive over the last 4 minutes of the first half.
Parker has been quiet.

Spurs 39 Sonics 28 with 5:45 left in the 2nd Quarter
Bruce Bowen is a thug
Ray Allen was working one on one on Bowen and when he went they made contact and Allen got an offensive foul. But being the dirtiest player in the NBA Bowen always gets underneath his man and they fell to the ground. On the ground Bowen then kicked Allen in the back. Allen got up and was pissed. A tech was called on Allen and that was the correct call. A tech was called on Bowen.
The issue for me is that Bowen gets underneath guys and puts the shooters legs and ankles in jeopardy.
Someone should pop him.

Spurs 28 Sonics 20 at the end of 1 Quarter
Great shooting on both sides – Spurs at 55% Sonics 53%
Sonics commit 6 turns
Game is at Seattle’s pace.
Wilcox 7 leads the Sups – Duncan 10 leads the Spurs.

Spurs 28 Sonics 18 with 2:04 left in the 1st Quarter
Tony Parker is unguardable
The Spurs scored on 9 straight possessions
Lewis picks up two offensive fouls in the first quarter – 4:46 left in the Q he has to leave
Now the question is will he ever get back into the game mentally. He spent most of the next time-out lobbing with the officials.
When Lewis leaves and the Sonics have Watson, Ridnour and Wilkins on the floor the Sonics can’t shoot.
Wilcox is playing against Duncan and he seems fearless.

Spurs 17 Sonics 13 with 6:46 left in the 1st Quarter
Spurs are up 4 and Pop takes the time-out becomes he is furious.
The Spurs live on a different planet then the rest of the league
The Sonics hit 5 of their first 7 before turning it over on the next three possessions.
The Sups are struggling with their rotations. They are leaving too many guys wide open in their sweet spot.

1) The best in the world are in town
2) Sonics pace v. Spurs pace
3) Best defense in the league and one of the best of all time against the worst in the league and maybe the worst of all time.