Very long and boring post. Sorry for being late.
First I have to apologize for being so late. My ISP just stopped our service for 12 hours from 8PM to 8AM CET, so I watched some parts of the game while in work (I couldn’t do the drinking part as Jason advised, sadly) and I could only start writing right after I got home. But now I’m home so let’s do this. I prepared the RC using the following method:
1. Think about (pre-game) stuff I want to write about.
2. Realise I have nothing to say.
3. Watch first quarter.
4. Write about pregame and first quarter.
5. Watch nth quarter.
6. Write about nth quarter.
I also have to admit that I knew the outcome before watching the game (not that it was hard to guess), so I won’t be able to channel my enthusiasm because I don’t have any. Being late, being a bit depressed about the team, losing my internet service for the most relevant part of the season for me lead me to think that since I’m late, I can be very late, but if I’m late, I could try something I always wanted to but never had the patience.
What I will try to do is: break down the game to plays, or even sub-plays and give a plus/minus score based on that. I watch every quarter twice. First, Beasley-style, only watching the man on the ball, second trying to pay attention what’s happening off the ball. I will try to be as unbiased as possible, but I admit I tend to be harder on Love than anyone else, so sorry for that.
So, let’s do the first quarter. This quarter was strange. Because I was concentrating on details, first I felt that we weren’t THAT bad in that first quarter. That’s bad, because the score suggested otherwise and we were pretty much killed defensively, although I couldn’t always spot why (at least my plus/minuses didn’t indicate that much of a difference). Then I remembered that usually I never gave a +/- score when there was no one clearly to blame. I also vaguely remembered that our opponent scored quite a few points off fast-breaks or off non halfcourt situations. So here was our problem: we couldn’t slow Denver down and were very slow to get back on D, which is simply unacceptable. Ever. Now the scores (take into account that I tended to score half-court sets on Wolves playing D, so no fast-breaks or chaotic situations involved, except for one or two brutally simple mistakes).
Love: 6 minuses, one plus ending in an injury, one neutered plus. Love got beaten on defense and what really made me angry that he was usually the last one to get back. I noticed that at the first play, although he shot the three deep, he went for the loose ball, then tried to stop the fastbreak which is okay. But after that 3 DEN players got back before him on D and they weren’t sprinting. He got back late leaving just enough time for Faried to score DEN’s first points off a missed Gallo 3pt attempt. On that same play, Webster was blocking out a ghost so he gets his share of blame there.
Pek: Pek is just awesome. When you watch him closely, he is more awesome. Six pluses, one bad moving screen (he will fix this over the summer), and one shared 3 sec violation with Lion (Both of them were standing in the paint for like 5 seconds). He really did everything well in the first quarter.
Wes: Wes is an intriguing player. Bad, but still, intriguing and weird. For the first 3.5 minutes of the game, he did… nothing. You read it right. Other than decent spacing on offense and getting picked all the time on D and being just half a second late to really be awesome, he was doing nothing. No mistakes though which cannot be said about some others. After that came the Bad Shot Selection, Bad Dribble Selection, Made shot show. Two in a row. One contested three that became a long two, and one very nice curl which ended up in a much-too-difficult fadeaway jumper. Then a nice block on Afflalo, then… nothing for the next two minutes. Six pluses, 4 minuses, 2 effort points (effort point is when you do what is needed but you get outplayed – would’ve been a plus, had the opponent missed) and a neutered plus (missed layup). He also overdoes help D. That was good once and it cost us a wide open shot that I think was missed.
Beasley: Terrible. 6 minuses and those are much worse than Love’s. Love did iffy things, Beas does things I wouldn’t do if they told me to go play basketball. Lost his man about four times and I lost count how many times did he lose his concentration visibly for a split second.
JJ: Mixed. At least six minuses, terrible against all kinds of screens. He constantly gave space to Lawson who just scored at will on him. He also out of control several times on O. When he somehow gets away with it, usually something awesome happens, like a tough reverse floater layup or whatever that was, but Beasley was standing wide open in the corner on that play. His turnovers were bad, his scoring was good. He doesn’t really make his teammates better though, but got to love his energy.
Webster: Terrible in this q. 4 minuses in 4 minutes and one plus for a nice layup. Totally out of control. He doesn’t concentrate. I hate when he gives up a semi-open three for a top of the key contested special shot (fadeaway, stepback, whatevers) off the dribble.
Lion: One minus for a shared 3 sec violation with Pek. I don’t really know what he was doing in the paint then, but I think if we’d ask him, he too couldn’t come up with an intelligent explanation.
My verdict: on a 0-10 scale, this quarter was a sound 3. The interesting thing is that at least 5-7 baskets were because our D was disorganized when it could and should’ve been organized by the time the offense was initiated. That should change with a training camp. We have some terrible system flaws from the years past, not getting back on D is one key weakness of this team. We are passable when the defense is set.
Now for the second quarter!!
Lee: 4 plus, 4 minus. A bit overeager with help D that led to easy open shots. Good drives, an assist. He doesn’t get beaten one on one which isn’t reflected in his score, but he was effective on D.
Beas: 1 minus, 1 neutered plus. Bad quarter. His minus is partly on Wes and AR after they screwed up on D, Beas flew for the three point foul. Yikes.
AR: Now that was an insane quarter for AR. He was super-active which is reflected in his score: 9 minuses, 9 pluses. He set some good screens, had some dumb mistakes on D, didn’t box out properly, attacked the basket and blocked shots. He is very close to being a useful player, but I’m not sure he’ll ever make that step.
Wes: classic Wes: 2 pluses, 2 minuses. He is over-eager on help D. I’d say it’s not a good thing because he doesn’t really pick his spots well.
JJ: 4 minuses, one plus, and one plus he can thank to the refs.
Lion: 4 pluses, 7 minuses. He simply doesn’t know what to do with Harrington. His problem is defensive spacing.
Tolliver: I love the guy, all hustle.5 pluses, 2 minuses.
Faried was just ridiculous this quarter. Also: get the hell back on D. About every fourth play it seems that we turned the ball over even when Denver collected a deep defensive rebound.
I want to share an interesting play with you. Completely organized situation, half-court D set up well, everything seems to be in place. Afflalo gets the ball from Lawson on the right side of the court at deep two territory, somewhat near the baseline. Jabsteps against Webster, post pass to Faried who is posted up against Lion, outside of the paint, a bit away from the baseline. Afflalo starts towards the left corner, Webster follows him. Faried gains a bit of ground on Williams, just several inches and rotates towards the inside of the court. Webster turns, losing sight of Afflalo heading towards the corner. Afflalo is bumped by Wes who is now on two people as Pek is maintaining advantegous position on Koufos and JJ and Lawson are camping outside. Wes is now guarding both Gallo and Afflalo while Webster is watching the ball from the middle of the paint. Faried passes to Lawson, Webster turns. Afflalo got to the corner, Wes rushes to defend the closer opponent, Gallo. Webster tries to run straight between Pek and Koufos (great idea!) creating a pick against himself AND separating Pek from Koufos when Pek clearly had Koufos cornered. Open corner 3. This play sums up Martell as a defensive player (who seems like a really nice guy otherwise). About a minute later a play develops on the left, Martell and Gallo are in the corner. Gallo starts going to the top of the three and for some reason I fail to get Martell starts with him but then hedges toward the paint. Maybe he was going for the steal. This led to a wide open lane drive for Gallo (and a dunk in the end).
We were playing a tight rotation in the third:
Wes: I’m coming closer to understanding why he gets time in the NBA. He does a lot of good things that doesn’t show in any statistics and he does all the things that show up pretty terribly, although this is a really good game for him until now. One of his minuses was giving up a simple pass to Williams for an open three and taking two dribbles instead. He then also got a plus for creating an even more open three for Williams but I don’t like the thinking, especially with his dribbling abilities. Denver guys were quite dumb for calling his bluff there. 5 pluses and 5 minuses. He was active.
Webster: Other than the two plays I’ve highlighted he had at least two other super simple brain farts I just can’t pardon him. 4 pluses, 4 minuses. All of those four minuses were super minuses where I smashed my pen onto the table in anger.
JJ: I’m not necessarily counting all assists into the pluses, mind you. If a pass is very trivial, all you can get is a minus if you don’t make it. I assume a certain intelligence from the players, so JJ’s plus numbers won’t reflect his assist numbers. 3 pluses, 7 minuses. I hate his defensive spacing, I just hate it.
Pek: 5 pluses, 1 minus. What needs to be said? He’s great.
AR: 5 pluses, 3 minuses. An okayish quarter. One brainfart tandem with Martell which lead to a bad corner 3 comes to my mind as a screamer. He went into no man’s land trying to steal a pass from Lawson which completely confused Martell who tried to guard Faried from behind. Afflalo was open in the corner if I remember well. Both Martell and AR got a minus for that beauty.
Lion: 4 minuses, 8 pluses. He sometimes forces things but this quarter his shot selection was good. He shot like crazy and had a good steal. He needs to hustle more.
Okay, we were acceptable in this quarter. Denver obviously fell asleep and that certainly helped, but we kept up with a sleepy Denver. Some healing experience for our wounded and tortured souls.
Lion: 7 plus, 6 minus. He forced it this quarter. Lee: 2 minus. Didn’t get much time. Webster: 3 minus, 2 plus. Tolliver: 2 plus, 1 minus. AR:10 plus, 5 minus. JJ: 5 plus, 4 minus.
Wes: 13-11. Lion: 19-18. AR: 24-17. JJ: 12-21. Lee: 4-6. Pek: 11-2. Webster: 7-11. Trolliver: 7-3. Love: DNQ. Beas: 1-6. In 10 minutes that is.
The fourth quarter was tolerable although I hate that we got outhustled in all of the key possessions where hustle was a factor. We’re not a team that can afford not hustling.
After all the TLDR pain I put through the people who read until this, I feel it’s my duty to defend Adelman. This team, without Rubio, Ridnour and a healthy Pek is definitely a terrible team. Remember though that Adelman never had a full training camp or even 5 practices in a row where he could teach something to our guys in a comfortable, calm manner. This season has been a rush and it certainly doesn’t favour us, especially that we had to change everything on the fly on the road without practice. About 40 percent of our mistakes come from simple stuff such as getting back from D (how about Afflalo’s dunk in the final minute), players losing concentration or players forgetting where their man is (Martell and Beasley are especially great at that, C-Lion is close too). Some of these mistakes can be fixed. By watching closely, I have to say that our offense has no resemblance to an Adelman offense so that’s also a point of possible improvement. Since his schemes are pretty difficult to get down, we won’t see them in their full beauty until next year. Based on this game, I’d try to keep AR around for a low cost, ship out Martell and sadly Beasley. JJ doesn’t seem like a good signing when is he playing starting PG, but he is certainly useful from the bench. He is a bit overpaid though.
Player of the game: AR. Anyone with a positive Keelhaul +/- gets a B-, anyone with a negative gets a D+, Beasley gets an F, JJ an F+. The assist stat is overrated. Sorry for being late and being boring AND doing such a long post. I decided to stick with my plan which may have been dumb, but I only have one shot at a RC this year.
PS: Sadly I couldn't preview so if it looks pathetic, it's just partly my fault.