Wednesday, May 4

Round One Report Card

Seattle SuperSonics Jerome James wears a plastic garbage bag as a cape as he celebrates the Sonics 122-118 win over the Sacramento Kings Tuesday, May 3, 2005, in Game 5 of the first round Western Conference playoff at KeyArena in Seattle. The win will allow the Sonics to advance to the next round of the playoffs. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
J.J. would've received an A+ if he hadn't worn a garbage bag like a crazy person.

With the first round in the books, I thought it’d be interesting to revisit how each Sonic did. Here’s a quick and dirty on the contributors to OUR FIRST SERIES WIN ON THE WAY TO A CHAMPIONSHIP, BABY! YOU SUCK, SAC-O-TOMATOES! KINGS? HUH, YOU GUYS AREN’T EVEN JESTERS!

Okay, I’m calm again, so here goes:

Ray Allen – A+. I think even the biggest Ray-hater (yours truly), has to admit he stepped it up to historic proportions. An average of 32 points, 2 steals, 5 boards, and 5 assists is positively Jordan-esque, and add in a tremendous 2nd-half in game 4 when the Sonics really needed him, and, well, he just could not have done any more.

Luke Ridnour – B-. I’m sorry, but shooting 31% from the field won’t cut it. His lack of D on Bibby didn’t help, either. Saying that, you’ve got to wonder why he rates even a B-, and that’s where his tremendous ballhandling and lack of turnovers raised his grade. 1.5 turnovers in 30 minutes is fantastic, and Cool Hand Luke deserves all the credit for that. His game improved as the series wore on, and I expect him to do reasonably well in round 2.

Rashard Lewis – B+. Lewis’ D on Peja was the unsung story of this series. The Kings’ SF was dynamite in games 4 and 5, but in games 1 to 3 he was a nonentity, and Lewis deserves credit for that. Yeah, Peja was injured and he always stinks in the playoffs, but Lewis still managed to hold him in check. Shard’s offense showed up in games 4 and 5 (not coincidentally, when Peja began to score as well). Count on big things from him if the Sonics meet the Spurs, as SA is going to have matchup hell guarding him (he shot 51% against the Spurs this season).

Reggie Evans – C+. After a 15-rebound performance in game 1, Mr. Glass sort of disappeared in the rest of the series. His frenetic energy was always appreciated, but he was never the best PF on the Sonics: that role belonged to Nick Collison.

Jerome James – A-. Unbelievable. I was trying to explain to my wife how incredible his transformation was, and the only way I could was to tell her to imagine if next week she decided to run the Vancouver Marathon, and not only finished, but beat out all those Kenyan chicks. Again, unbelievable.

Nick Collison – B+. You’ve got to love this guy. I didn’t appreciate his game early in the season, but his knack for finding the ball is wonderful, and he handles the rock in the paint better than any Sonic big man – JJ included. His 15-point, 9-board performance in game 5 has me looking forward to a full season of him as a starter.

AD – B-. The only reason he doesn’t grab a C is his fantastic job in the 2nd half of game 5. Anybody else notice that Luke rode the pine for the entire 4th quarter while my man AD ran the show? Like Ridnour, he handled the rock well, and, like Ridnour, he shot like crap most of the series. AD’s tendency to dribble around the court can drive you nuts, but his tenacious D and passion is always appreciated.

Radman – C-. 6 points per game is lousy for a guy whose defense is subpar to begin with. A decent game 2, but other than that, a non-entity.

Fortson – C-. Like Radman, a non-entity. Like Radman, his only decent game was in game 2, but his proclivity for fouls and T’s earned him too much bench time to be of any use. The Sonics need his tenacity and ability to draw fouls, they don’t need his constant complaining and ridiculous fouls.

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