Well, as we say in France...zut alors!
Sonics 95, Blazers 77
--We came out flatter than a truck stop pork chop tonight. There's really no other explanation needed for the loss. Jamaal Magloire was the only guy who came to play every minute he was in there. Lamarcus added some energy but foul trouble hampered him. Zach and Brandon each had their moments in the third quarter and when they picked up the team also picked up as a whole, but it was short-lived. Martell also had some very brief shiny moments. It was never sustained enough to make much of a difference though. It was a horrendous waste of a potentially great crowd.
--The relative blasé nature of the play itself allowed me to notice some bigger-picture things. For instance the starting unit has really come a long way since the beginning of the season. They seem to have found their comfort zone with each other. This was a bad game, but even in a bad game they were still running plays, sharing the ball, and at least making an attempt at defending. I remember at the beginning of the year a bad game always meant falling apart into selfish, stupid one-on-one basketball and defense so porous you could run the Columbia through it without disrupting the flow. The second unit, on the other hand, still looks fractured and it takes them a while to get into the game. When they do they're fine...sometimes even good...but they don't have the rhythm of the first-line guys. Maybe that's a point guard issue. (We don't seem to have a second string one at the moment outside of Brandon Roy.) I don't know.
--Outside of a couple of wholly unnecessary breakdowns in transition the defense wasn't too bad for most of the game. The Sonics broasted our collective chickens late in the fourth but before that we were doing OK. The interior guys were getting burned a bit but we didn't allow their perimeter shooters to go crazy. Lamarcus especially was showing some nice recognition on how to give help defense. He really hustles...and smartly (in both senses of that word). The problem was when he went to help the third guy usually didn't pick up his man. This is typical of our more lethargic efforts. We'll make one good stab at a play but we don't follow up on it as a team.
--We shot 40.5% for the game and failed to outrebound a fairly outreboundable team. No surprise we lost.
--Sorry Jamaal haters...he gets the game ball tonight. He's the only one who came to play. 11 points and 12 rebounds in 24 minutes ain't bad. And he even passed the ball a couple times! Unfortunately he couldn't stop the tide of Chris Wilcox scoring but that was due to foul trouble as much as anything. His energy stood out clearly anyway.
--Lamarcus had some hustle moments and as I said was alert on defense. This was maybe one of the better defensive efforts he's had as a center. He only got 24 minutes though (fouls again) and only had three rebounds in those 24 minutes. Half of that was because he was helping cover so much, but still...
--Zach's game was so-so all the way around. He wasn't bad. He made some nice passes. He took reasonable shots for the most part. The energy just wasn't there. His most distinctive contribution was being involved in two or three separate plays where he and teammates conspired to lose a rebound by knocking it out of each others' hands.
--There was nothing wrong with Brandon's game. He defended nicely enough. He made some spectacular drives. He had some nice passes too. But like Zach it somehow just wasn't enough.
--Jarrett Jack had another stinkbomb of a game, getting upset with himself publicly. Too many turnovers, too few shots...all of them misses. It just wasn't his night. It would be nice to see him get back on track soon.
--Martell had some nice moments, which falls on the bright side of things. He only shot 3-9 but he showed pretty good judgment in the shots he did take. He got energized a little and got down in a couple of very nice (and effective) defensive stances against Rashard Lewis and Earl Watson. It's a modest upside, but it is one.
--Sergio had one really beautiful pass in the halfcourt and hit his first three pointer solidly. He missed his next two though and was never seen again. Travis tried to be aggressive but his 2-8 shooting kind of hampered that. Dan Dickau hit a couple of nice three pointers including one off of a great pass from Magloire. Fred Jones' shot looks like he found it at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box...at the Goodwill...and it was broken. I guess his hand injury has something to do with that.
--I swear, Seattle Coach Bob Hill moonlights as a mad scientist somewhere. That hair...those spectacles...the demeanor. "It's ALIVE!!!!!! MWAH-HAH-HAH-HAH-HAH!"
--You could tell Mike Barrett was trying very hard not to bring up the officiating after his self-confessed complaint-fest in the Lakers game. I must say I rather liked it. Unfortunately Mike Rice was like the tempting devil on his shoulder. The saintly Mr. Barrett held out officially until 4:25 left in the fourth. Then he was off the wagon again. At least he got his three quarter chip...