I don't know about everyone else, but its really making me nervous for the Georgetown game Saturday. The number of baskets that were missed close to the basket the past two or three games seems to be outrageous. Zoubek missed a couple of easy put backs lastnight, Scheyer is not only struggeling from the floor but from the FT line too.
I can't say for sure, but I wonder if Nolan's back or knee is still bothering him to the point. He opted out of driving the lane against FSU and GT. Without Gerald and Kyle on offense, Gerald, Kyle and McClure on D its not a pretty game as a whole...
If its not for our defense we are 0-2 in the ACC right there with the Tar Heels.
I thought fatigue from the Florida State game might have influenced play last night against Georgia Tech. The Florida State game was extremely demanding from the standpoint of lots of tough physical contact. The environment there can also be a drain.
Perhaps a little rest while in the home routine will restore the level and consistency of play.
Lets hope! And don't get me wrong I am a strong believer in defense leads to offense...I'm just not seeing the finishes we've grown accustomed to over the years lately. Georgetown will exploit that no doubt.
We're a team that has trouble shooting the ball sometimes, plain and simple. Duke had plenty of open looks last night that we simply didn't knock down, especially in the first half. I think that will continue to happen from time to time, and could certainly be a problem in March. Our team plays consistently stellar defense, and G's comments post game tell me that the team identifies itself as primarily a defensive team. If we keep up that defensive identity, play good motion offense (rather than trying to create off the dribble, as Bilas correctly identified us doing last night) AND hit the open looks our motion offense creates, we'll blow people out of the water. If we play stagnant offense or just miss the looks we get, we'll struggle...but our defense will still win us a lot of games.
Bobby Knight had a nice snippet on Duke and our offensive spacing on the four letter this morning. He said that Duke utilized spacing as well as anyone in the country. If we keep to that, and keep the ball moving, we should get good shots. Hopefully they'll fall.
Where is the offense? In G's blood.
Andre Dawkins -- 2011 Final Four MOP
I actually was looking at the 5 guys on the floor wondering who in the world was going to score for us, at one point in the game. Shortly thereafter, Paulus was put in, so it seemed that Coach K was thinking the same thing.
The defense has been great, thank goodness. The boys need some more shooting drills, shooting time, or a shrink or something. We won't be beating the really good teams by missing open shots.
People who think our offense is "gone" because we're missing open threes are missing the boat. Sure, that's part of the equation, but it's not the whole story. Over the past few games, I've noticed three trends in particular that I believe have contributed to our rather poor scoring efforts:
1. We've had little to not fast-break play. Steals at the top of the key are not the only opportunities to run the break. We have the speed to throw quick outlet passes after rebounds and start running, but I've noticed that we consistently pull the ball out and set up in the half-court even when we have numerical and/or positional advantages down the floor. We definitely have the personnel to run it: Kyle, Jon, Nolan, G, Elliot, Lance, Marty, and Dave are all quick. Additionally, we're deep enough and our defense is good enough that we don't have to worry about "running with" teams aside from maybe Carolina and Wake. Perhaps, as someone suggested in another thread, K is trying to save the team's collective legs for March--anyone's guess is as good as mine.
2. We're not driving to the hoop enough. Nolan, in particular, could really open up the offense if he tried getting to the rack a little more frequently. He's not as good a passer as Greg, to be sure, but if he can get deep into lane and draw an extra defender or two, he'll have easy passing options. G, IMO, is also a little too hesitant to take a defender off the dribble. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE the continued development of his mid-range pull-up game, but I've seen him pass up driving opportunities to settle for a contested J--or, simply, to pass the ball to a teammate--more than a handful of times. The more assertive Gerald is, the better we are as a team. I'd also like to see Kyle take advantage of mismatches against taller players on the perimeter. He is frequently matched up with much bigger, slower, and less coordinated defenders that he can very easily take off the dribble. I think Jon is our best driver right now, as well as our most aggressive player overall. Would be great if his assertiveness rubbed off on everyone else.
3. We've stopped running the ball through the post. Regretably, we've fallen into the trap of swinging the ball around the perimeter for 25+ seconds and shooting contested jumpers--it's excrutiating to watch. Yes, we're winning, but this type of offense isn't sustainable (see: '06-'07 season). If we get Lance/Z/Miles (who should get more PT, btw) more touches, the game changes. These guys don't need to play like Shelden, but if K could squeeze fifteen points combined out of our bigs the floor would open up considerably. Not saying we should dump it down to the post every possession, but if we can pass off whoever's playing the 5 as even a minor scoring threat, shots are suddenly more open, driving lanes suddenly more clear, and the floor suddenly more well-spaced.
Taking the glass is half full approach for a second...
-Let's be happy that there is a significant area of our team's game where we haven't peaked in January! There is a lot of potential room for growth, for an extra gear that we haven't had in year's past. G's recent emergence is a part of that growth, and I think we'll see the shooting percentage go up.
-I would like to see us at least throw the ball into the post a little more, which we were doing more earlier in the season, to force some double teams and set up more "in rhythm" 3 pointers on kick-outs. Of course, that assumes Z or Lance would command a double down, smart teams might let them try and make a move. The counter would be to have Singler posting up, but I think we're more effective with him operating and orchestrating from the perimeter
-I, too, often tell myself I'd like Nolan to drive more, but we don't know what the consequence of unsuccessful drives might be - namely fast break baskets on the other end on guard run outs. I do think he should look for his drive more, but not a lot more.
I'd argue that we're in a better place then recent years past because our defense is ahead of our offense, because I think it's easier for the offense to improve, especially because % wise, the odds are that we will improve. I think the extra gear will show itself this year.
Well, in the first half last night we just didn't hit open jump shots that our offense is built to create. Such is life.
Andre Dawkins -- 2011 Final Four MOP
I certainly hope so.
From a coaching standpoint, our half-court offense is usually the last piece of the puzzle. Meaning that Coach K's priorities in the first parts of the season are developing the defense, working with different combinations, and defining roles as well as possible.
Based on the substitution patterns, I think Coach K is not satisfied with the way Nolan runs the offense; too much standing around and pounding the ball on the floor---not enough penetration or feeding the post. So he'll work with Nolan and/or spread the playmaking function around.
A little better shooting would help everything too.
This is kind of on the subject and off because like everyone the offense kind of worries me. But I have to say this team is playing better defense than I have seen a Duke team play since probably 2001. The weakside help is a lot better than last year and I have to say Smith / Henderson in particular seem to be able to stay in front of oposing guards better. In last nights game, particularly the second half it seemed the offense was there when we needed it to be. The GT guy who was 0-? from three hit one, Duke responded with one, he hit another and Duke responded again. It frustrates us when Duke makes a stop yet doesn't score, after all that's how leads are made. But it will be interesting to see against Georgetown how good a defensive team this really is. To be frank, if this team is clicking on defense AND offense in any given team there isn't a team in the country that can beat them. But we have seen entire games where the O or D was doing well and the other was less than stellar or it change from half to half.
Anyway, I was talking to a fellow Duke fan and he and I have noticed a trait over the last two and honestly last five or six seasons. Duke gets everyones best shot at home or on the road. But I often think the Duke teams of the last half decade often play to their opponents level. Against teams they could and probably should beat by 30 they win by 10 or 15. Like last night if the O had been working better it would have been a blow out. That would have given time for bench players to play and starters to rest. So many have pointed out how Duke gets tired at the end of the year and needs more quality depth. I think back to JJ and Sheldens senior year where they won so many games, but not by wide margins usually. I think from that time to now Duke has won most of the games they should win. But for whatever reasons it hasn't been the margins it probably should be. I for one hate seeing Duke slow the game up and take their foot off the gas when they get a big lead. I'd rather get five or ten minutes for some bench players to play at a normal pace than keep starters in an extra five or ten minutes and take a shot when the shotclock reaches 15 or 10 seconds. But hey, it's just opinion and I don't have one national title yet alone three.
I love this Duke team. I think it has more talent and depth than Duke has had in years. But I was baffled by what I saw at Georgia Tech last night.
Duke seemed to run very little offense. There was very little off-the-ball motion, very little penetrating, very little passing, very little team offense. Mostly just standing around watching while a perimeter player waited for a screen to be set, then tried to go one-on-one and put up a contested shot or passed to another perimeter player who waited for a screen to be set and tried to go one-on-one, and so on until the shot clock was running out and a forced shot was taken.
This game had very little passion. The Tech fans are not excited by their team, the stands were only half full at the start of the game, and the Tech fans seemed to have to force themselves to make noise. Duke at Tech is normally a tough ticket, but tickets were easy to get this year. This is not a very good Georgia Tech team.
Duke won because of superior talent but this was not a game to be proud of. Neither team showed much passion.
I realize that Duke emphasizes defense and Coach K likes his players to react and improvise on offense. But please, Coach K, when they are not reacting and improvising, have them run some plays instead of just standing around and watching each other.
Duke can beat anybody if they play with passion. But if they show the same lack of effort and emotion that they showed at Georgia Tech, they can lose to just about anybody.