During the Sonics and Bullets championship runs of the late 70's for the NBA championship, Washington coach Dick Motta made famous the saying: "It ain't over till the fat lady sings."
Well, she aint singing--not tonight at least.
The game 5 loss to the Spurs put this current Sonics team in a bit of a playoff pickle. The Spurs are a tough team and beating them two straight is an uphill battle. But there’s a bit of silver lining Sonics fans can gravitate towards.
The Sonics have gradually gained their confidence in SA. The first game was a wash. The intensity of the Spurs plus two players going down was way too much to overcome. I wrote in a previous article how I thought the Sonics started gaining a slight foothold in game 2’s loss.
Seattle continued its confidence boost in their home wins, but game 5 was interesting. The Sonics had a complete breakdown in the middle defensively (Jerome, if you end a game against SA with less than 5 fouls, you have not played well. That’s your number: 6 fouls—maybe 5. You’ll never get a triple double because you’ll have points, boards, but only 6 fouls. You need to foul. That’s your game) allowing Nazr Mohammed to beat them. Ginobili’s capable of 39, but Mohammed cannot, under any circumstance, dunk on you for 19.
Despite James and Evans defensive desertions, the Sonics had an opportunity in the fourth, had they hit a few open looks, of making it close down the stretch. And there’s the silver lining.
Obviously Seattle has to win the game tonight. But they have to go a step further than winning. They need to establish in their minds that they can take the next step down in Texas. They need to win tonight in a way that doesn’t make SA feel comfortable that they still have home court advantage.
And I believe they can do that by doing what they’ve done all season. In tonight’s game, the whole team has to play well. In game 4, Luke and Damien came alive and it carried over to game 5. Sure, they didn’t play off the charts, but they played well enough to get the team close. If everyone is doing their part, Duncan and Manu will get theirs, but it won’t be enough.
No opera in Seattle tonight; no fat ladies singing here.