Ugh...I'm not sure this game deserves a recap. It's like drinking a can of really cheap, long-past-expired, stinky beer. The aftertaste is the worst part...
Sonics 97, Blazers 73
--The obvious thing that jumps out at you is...73 POINTS??? Against the SONICS? Yup. We took 85 shots for the game, which means we were playing at the Sonics' tempo, but throwing up all those shots didn't lead to more shots going in. We shot 40% for the game as a team (against a squad that allows over 47% on average). Our starters shot 16-44 for the game and scored 35 points total as a unit. It was a rough, rough offensive game. We made the Sonics look like world-beaters on defense.
--Part of this was an issue of energy and focus. The Sonics had way more energy in every aspect of the game than we did. Getting outrebounded by 5 was indicative. That should not happen against the Sonics. We also couldn't hit an open jumper, or layup, or the broad side of a barn to save our lives. It wasn't that our shots were all that bad after the usual pathetic, jumper-fest start. Our heads or hearts or whatever just weren't in the game. There was absolutely zero flow out there.
--They hit eight more three-pointers and ten more free throws than we did. That's 34 points right there. We only shot 4 free throws total for the game, which is astonishing.
--Let's take a look at the preview for some more clues:
1. Make sure your transition defense is tight.
We actually didn't do that poorly here. We got back and broke up some Seattle breaks. They score 8-10 points in transition which isn't bad when playing the Sonics.
2. Get points in the paint ourselves.
We didn't get points ANYWHERE tonight but a large part of that was because we didn't drive aggressively. They double-teamed Zach immediately every time he touched the ball and when he couldn't score we didn't have other options. We just settled for the long ball. Chicks do dig the long ball, but that's in the other sport.
3. Rashard Lewis is going to be a handful. You have to find a way to defend him.
10-18 shooting, 6-11 from the arc, 29 points, 7 rebounds. Yikes. This wasn't mission aborted. This was the rocket exploding on the platform.
4. Don't play a zone or sag down. Also you have to fight through picks instead of going under them or switching on everything.
BZZZZT! Thank you for playing. Enjoy your consolation prizes. We got carved up big time tonight in all these ways. Every pick they set they either got a clean shot or a massive mismatch off the switch. Zach on Rashard, Zach on Allen, Jack on Rashard...you name it we got maneuvered into it. This more than anything else made the game ugly. The Sonics shot 45.5% from the three-point line over our defense.
5. Zach needs to be the man.
Nope. He got stopped early, half gave up in the middle, and ended up a non-factor for the game. He only took 13 shots on the night and only scored 11. He got 2 free throws total. He did do a good job of passing out of the double but he just didn't have enough help to get those other guys off of him.
There's really very little to report here of note.
Our starting guards were 2-6 (Jack) and 3-13 (Roy) on the night. Roy did have 5 assists but this was his least effective game in a long time. Travis Outlaw shot well (7-14) but had trouble with the other parts of the game. Lamarcus Aldridge shot 5-10, got 8 rebounds, swatted 4 shots and he was probably the only guy whose all-around game was up to par. Freddie Jones made his debut tonight. He spent his first few minutes making sure his teammates got shots and had some nice assists to Lamarcus. He hit a couple shots late. He ended up with 4 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 turnovers in 16 minutes. At least he's a veteran who knows how to do something when he's in there.
--The Sonics retired Spencer Haywood's number at halftime and Nate was part of the ceremony. It's cool and all but it's still hard to think of him as a Sonic of any kind at this point.
--A couple of weeks ago in the About.com Roundtable somebody who shall remain nameless gave the following response to the question "Which team will rise as the season ends and which will slide?"
Believe it or not I was going to say my own Portland Trailblazers for the team that will sink but as we speak they just got done making Gilbert Arenas look like Gilbert Gottfried en route to a 20-point victory over the Wizards so I can't bring myself to bag on them today. Keep them as option 1a. I'm not sure that I completely trust the Lakers to keep winning this much. They can score but they give up a lot on defense. That'll be my final answer.
Hmmmm... that guy looks pretty smart so far.