“Be not afraid, only believe.”
This is the time, Sonic fans. Green and Gold fanatics, we stand at a crossroads, with paths so divergent even google.com/maps would fail at including them in a single page.
At one branch: the sour taste of disappointment. Color it how you wish, but if the Sonics fail to step up in game 2, then fall over themselves and drop 3 and 4 at home, this season will end distastefully. With Ray Allen and a half-dozen other players – not to mention Saint Nate – set to leave via free-agency, this season will not be remembered for the great run to the top, it will be remembered for the disastrous fall back down.
At the other branch: the sweet fragrance of redemption. Allen returns, JJ awakens, and the Sonics snatch a game 2 win before the Spurs can even jingle-jangle.
What will it take? Nothing less than a supreme effort from 3 corners:
1. Ray Allen has to – has to – make this his moment. Even if it is only to cash in this summer, Ray’s got to tell his bum ankle that it doesn’t hurt, and that he is the man to lead the Sonics to the promised land.
2. Rashard must build on his effort in the second half. The Incredible Vanishing Lewis that we saw at times on offense against Sac. and in the first half against the Spurs, the same disappearing act Sonic fans are accustomed to from this enigmatic small forward, has to leave, and the New Rashard take its place. If Lewis and Allen match Duncan and Ginobli, we’re in good shape. In game 1, the Spurs’ duo outscored our heroes by 24 points, which was, not coincidentally, almost the same margin as the game.
3. Seattle needs to find a way to get open 3’s, and make them. The Spurs are exceptional at prohibiting 3-pointers, and the Sonics are exceptional at making them. In game 1, the Spurs’ excellence outdid Seattle’s. Going 2-for-10 from long-distance will not cut it in this series.
So, there you go. 3 things Seattle must do to have any chance. If you read the Times, Steve Kelley says we have no chance. I say the Sonics can win, for the same reason they’ve won all year: they are a combination of potent offensive forces and tenacious rebounders that can wear down opposing teams over 48 minutes.
Let’s hope I’m right.