Nothing like a
Lost in the shuffle - D.E.F.E.N.S.E. I'm talking 14 steals and 26 New Orleans turnovers type of defense. Earl racked up 5 on his own, and Wilkins and Ridnour combined for 7 steals.
On Wilcox, check out these numbers:
FGA in two games since Ray Allen got hurt: 29
FGA in previous FIVE games with Ray in lineup: 31
In other words, the points Ray was getting are going directly into Chris Wilcox' pocket (as well as some other guys, of course; i.e., Wilkins, Watson, etc.). Honestly, I was totally wrong about Rashard Lewis stepping up - either the Hornets were waiting for him to do it and they overcommitted to stop Lewis, or he's just not capable of being the guy on a consistent basis.
More importantly, it hasn't mattered. As always seems to happen in these cases, other people have helped - Watson, Wilcox, Wilkins, Gelabale, Petro - easing the hurt of Ray's absence.
All right, let's take a deep breath. The Sonics just got done knocking off two teams that aren't exactly title contenders. The Hawks and Hornets were a combined 4-9 in their most recent games before taking on Seattle, so a little restraint is due.
To me, the real test will come on Sunday at home against the Warriors. Golden State is on an even playing field with the Sonics. Both are teams that have performed below expectations, but both have a large number of talented players. Most important, both are possible end-of-the-playoff-bracket type teams. A win against the Warriors before the Sonics head out east for a 5-game trip would be flat-out fantastic.