Seattle's Allen, Ridnour hold keys to upsetting Spurs
Posted: Tuesday May 17, 2005 11:07AM; Updated: Tuesday May 17, 2005 11:54AM
Ray Allen has been one of the best players in the postseason, averaging 27.4 points and hitting 49 percent of his shots.
The Sonics certainly made things interesting by beating the Spurs in Games 3 and 4 in Seattle, but work is just beginning. Not only are they facing the class of the Western Conference, but they also face the prospect of winning in San Antonio, something only three teams accomplished this season.
Fortunately for the Sonics they know it can be done, thanks to first-hand experience. Sure, their 102-96 win in the River City came on Dec. 8, when the teams were figuring out their teammates, but the Sonics have to be buoyed by that win.
If they hope to pull off the upset, though, they'll need to come through in the following five areas.
Allen has been brilliant this postseason, despite a sprained ankle that took him out of Game 1. Even in his worst game scoring-wise (other than Game 1, in which he left early with a sprained ankle), Allen was key to the Sonics' victory. That was Game 3, in which he was held to 20 points but had seven rebounds and seven assists.
As Ray goes, so go the Sonics (see chart below). In the 50 Sonics' wins this season Allen averages 24.6 points and hits nearly 42 percent from 3-point land. In 28 losses, Allen's scoring drops nearly two points and he hits 31 percent of his 3s. When Ray's on, the Sonics have a shot. If he's off, even the best games from the Sonics' role players won't be enough.
In Games Won
In Games Lost
The Sonics need to maintain their composure. In the first two games, Seattle fell behind early and never recovered. After falling in a 2-0 hole, the Sonics could have packed it in. Instead, they came alive and now, thank goodness, we've got a series with some intrigue.
The Sonics find themselves in a three-game series with the most experienced, playoff-tested team in the Western Conference. It's cliché and every player says it at least 82 times a season, but they need to take this "one game at a time." Losing Tuesday will not be the end of the series. It will, however, make things tougher since the Sonics would need to win a Game 7 in San Antonio (assuming they win Game 6 at home, where they're 5-0 this postseason).
The Sonics need to take an us-against-the-world attitude into Game 5. In a recent exchange between Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley on TNT's halftime show, both agreed that it was always fun playing on the road in the playoffs, where teams bond and often play with more energy.
If you see the Sonics' bench on its feet, waving towels and whooping it up, you can bet the Sonics have a chance to steal one in San Antonio.