Seattle only did what playoffs teams are supposed to do. Yeah, yeah, right.
They were supposed to come home and write their obituary. You know, talk about what a tough opponent the Spurs were, what a great season it was, how the TNT "Gone Fishin" thing kind of hurts after they've come so far, etc., etc.
Seattle was supposed to get one game so the series could be cute, and then the Spurs could move on to get serious about a title run, their third since Duncan arrived. But hold the phones. Someone forgot to inform the Sonics they were mere playoff fodder for a real playoff team.
The Kings were dismissed as a weak and wounded opponent that probably shouldn't have even been in the playoffs. Seattle got lucky on that draw and put the walking wounded out of its misery. Game 1 of round 2 proved the experts right. Seattle didn't belong.
But game two was different. Without the media noticing because they were too focused on the final score, the body blows Seattle had taken in game one, in addition to the whopping administered on the scoreboard, were now being met with some shots going back in the other direction.
SA was in cruise control, the starters laughing on the bench, the Spurs travel department scanning possible hotel accommodations in the Valley of the Sun, and the SBC lovin' it, but scrappy little Seattle was holding on like Van Gundy on a Mourning leg.
The little punishments they were starting to snipe the Spurs with in game two became full-on hits in game three. The Spurs, legs wobbling from the pounding, missed free throws that could have secured the series.
Seattle wasnâ€™t just breathing, now they had a plan.
In game four, the Sonics shot better, started working their offense, fed off the home crowd, and made some incredible plays that deserved to be called by Kevin Calabro, but mostly they started defending with aggression; fresh legs are nice this time of year, huh Damien?!
Now it's interesting. And the reason why it's interesting is that the team that's supposed to win is in a series with a team that was to finish the season slightly ahead of the Hawks and Bobcats in the pundits preseason picks. Now the loose bunch can play loose, they can methodically work the crowd down by grinding the game and wait for worry to fill the air as the SBS faithful start getting nervous that the "Little Sonics That Could" are still hanging around--still hitting back--maybe not so little.
And the key? Free throws. Free throws will make the difference in this series.
And what team do you like in that match up?