Friday, February 27, 2009

Duke 78, Maryland 67

That was one heck of a basketball game. 56 possessions in, the score was tied at 60, and neither team had led by more than 4. Over the game's last 12 possessions, Duke outscored the Terps 18-7, hitting some crucial shots (such as the one three from Scheyer on a 1-7 night), and picking up key stops. That was a challenging game in a hostile environment and the Devils never lost their intensity or their cool. In contrast to the games at BC and Clemson, Duke really looked like they came to play from the opening tip.

The Scheyer-Williams backcourt combo has continued to pay dividends on the offensive end. Jon handles the ball very intelligently, and has committed only two turnovers in the last three games at the point. In the three minutes he sat against Maryland, Duke didn't score a point and was outscored 6-0. For his part, Elliot Williams continues to do what he needs to do. He had some nice drives, grabbed some crucial rebounds, and harassed Maryland's guards on defense. Gary Williams gave clear instructions to leave him completely alone on the perimeter - Grievis Vasquez (when he wasn't committing idiotic fouls) "guarded" Williams by standing in the middle of the key ready to cut off any of the other Devils on the drive. Elliot responded with 6-8 from the field, including 1-2 from downtown. It will be interesting to see whether teams continue to show him the same lack of respect on offense, and whether he can exploit that.

As well as those two played, Gerald Henderson simply shined. He and Williams, in their own ways, illustrate the light bulb principle - for some guys, at some times, the light bulb just goes off, and after that they're different players. At some point over the holiday season, the light bulb went off in Henderson's head and he realized that in pretty much any game, he was going to be the best player on the court. Since then, he's acted like it. There were several moments in last night's game that exemplified that - the insanely vicious dunk off the in-bounds play shortly after Nolan went out was one, but my favorite came about a minute later. He blocked Cliff Tucker on a breakaway layup, recovered the ball, and got it to Paulus. As Henderson crossed the halfcourt line (without the ball) he started directing the offense, and I immediately knew he was going to a) get the ball on the left wing and b) score. Sure enough, he got the clear out he wanted, got the ball on the left wing, drove to the free throw line, and nailed a jumper over Tucker. Gerald falls in love with his jumper at times, and still lacks handle going left, but my goodness has he elevated his game. The scary thing is, there's a lot of room for growth left.

Here's the HD Box for Duke:

Also, as a bonus, the +/- for Maryland. Vasquez's numbers are, I think, misleading. He sat for 14 minutes during the second half. During the first 11 that he sat, the team was even with Duke. It was only during the last three minutes that Duke went on its run, outscoring the Terps by 11 at the finish. Also, it should be noted that for the first 8-2 of that run, Vasquez was getting subbed offense for defense, which skews the numbers a touch. Nonetheless, he was the only Terp with a positive +/- on the day.

off def +/- off def +/- off def +/-
Vasquez 32 29 3 7 7 0 39 36 3
Kim 0 0 0 0 2 -2 0 2 -2
Gregory 12 10 2 13 17 -4 25 27 -2
Tucker 14 12 2 19 24 -5 33 36 -3
Neal 26 24 2 20 27 -7 46 51 -5
Hayes 18 19 -1 29 36 -7 47 55 -8
Bowie 16 15 1 29 42 -13 45 57 -12
Mosley 22 27 -5 15 23 -8 37 50 -13
Milbourne 30 34 -4 33 42 -9 63 76 -13

170 170 0 165 220 -55 335 390 -55

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was hoping you'd post the MD +/-; I was very curious about Vasquez's numbers there. Thanks again for providing such an invaluable reference for Duke fans.