Sunday, December 03, 2006

Duke 61, Georgetown 52

Yesterday was really a tale of two halves on the defensive end. In the first half, Georgetown moved the ball well and got a lot of easy buckets. They shot 78% on their 2s (14 of 18) and had 11 assists on 15 total made baskets. In the second half, the passing lanes got shut down, and the Hoya players were forced to create their own shots individually, which they don't do nearly as well. Georgetown was 5 of 17 from 2 in the second half, and, most importantly, recorded only 1 assist. When this Duke team turns it on on the defensive end, it really is a beautiful thing to watch - actually a lot like LSU last year. I know a lot of people have said that we need to be more "athletic." Well, if you watched that second half, Duke completely "out-athleted" Georgetown on the defensive end. They got in the face of all ballhandlers, switched on all screens, and jumped into passing lanes (once passes were actually thrown) to the point that there were times where it looked like the Hoyas were playing a man down. Duke gave up only 18 points in 30 second half defensive possessions, which is just fantastic.

The offense, once again, struggled. I think the best that can be said about it at the moment is that it was opportunistic. When GU made defensive mistakes, Duke tended to capitalize (witness Scheyer's and-1 when both defenders went with the screener on a pick play in the second half). However, the turnovers are still a problem, and the most frustrating part about them is that they tend to be unforced. Last night saw Duke turn the ball over on 30% (30%!) of its possessions, which is just way, way too many. On the season, Duke's turnover percentage is 284th (yikes!) in the country. Turnovers are really the only thing keeping this team from being very efficient on offense... Duke's efg% is over 50%, their offensive rating is over 107 (even with the turnovers) and they've been doing a great job on the boards. Actually, that was the hidden story in the game yesterday - Duke nailed GU on the boards last night - 45% of their own misses and 63% of GU's misses, for 54% overall. This against a team with a very big front line that had absolutely controlled the glass thus far this year. Duke has outrebounded every opponent except Indiana - a very good sign for a team that routinely got killed on the glass last year.


Anonymous said...

Hey Paul, it's Ryan Harsch. Hope the West Coast is treating you well. Your comments looked lonely, so I figured I'd say something. One comment I found suprising was your point about how the turnovers seem to be preventing them from being solid offensively. I haven't looked at the stats or anything, but it hasn't struck me so far that this is a particularly good shooting team. There seem to be a number of decent looks, even from close range, that just haven't gone down. I can't imagine the team's FG percentage if very high in terms of national ranking. Thoughts?

Paul Rugani said...

Right now, their effective FG% is 74th in the country. A lot of this is being carried by 3-point shooting - .436 on the year, good for 10th in the country. 2-point shooting not so good - .493, only 144th in the land. Part of this could come from quality of the competition, and the pessimist would say that the 3point shooting percentage is unsustainable, or that all the good shooting numbers have come against poor teams. Some of this is true. But trade 5 turnovers for shot attempts, and we'd be likely to get 6 or 7 more points a game. I guess my point was that because we already do other things well (shoot and make free throws, offensive rebounds surprisingly enough, and decent overall shooting) that if we could hold on to the ball even just a little bit better, this would look like a good, but not great, efficient offense. Remember, we play such a slow tempo that possessions are at a premium, so cutting out 5 or 6 turnovers increases possessions with shooting attempts by about 10%, and I'd expect that to come with a 10% increase in scoring, too.

And it was 83 here on saturday and sunday - the west coast is treating me very well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, that's interesting. I ceratinly won't disagree that the turnovers are a big problem right now (see, e.g., DeMarc's patented "drive the ball into taffic, jump stop, and not know what to do with the ball" routine). I was just pointing out that they've also often had a hard time converting even on the few opportunities they have had. Or at least so it seems. Way too many missed layups or close looks. You'd like to think that kind of thing won't continue. Also, building off your point about the slow tempo, do you find it surprising that K hasn't tried to push tempo more? Considering the struggles with a half-court offense, it seems logical that we'd be trying to score more off our defense. Particularly when you consider that Paulus is a pretty good open-court passer and we've got some athletes who can get up and down, like DeMarc, Henderson, McRoberts, etc.

Anonymous said...

Also, it's going to be a high of 40 today in Cville. Just saying.