No matter if you thought the calls were right or if you thought they were wrong in the end it doesnít matter it is now just another loss and that makes 3 losses in a row heading home for a potential trap game vs. Detroit with the Heat & Bulls waiting in the wings for revenge.
Iíve now had time to watch both calls at the end of the game a few times and to be honest I think that they were probably both fouls. At first I didnít think Iggy fouled George on the defensive end I just thought that Paul lost the ball but upon further review I now believe that this was a reach in foul and it looks like he hit Paul on the shoulder.
However I also believe that Paul did foul him while he was going to the basket.
But at the end of the day it doesnít matter. IMO we should never have allowed ourselves to get worked over during the entire game.
The only person IMO who played like they had any sack on them at all was Lance Stephenson. He had no problem driving the lane and trying to get to the rim.
23 three point attempts vs. 17 free throw attempts. This is starting to be a horrid trend and making me look for the streaks of white running the side of Frankís hair.
Sure there are times that we have designed plays that get three passes and an open shooter in the corner, okay I get that. But there are just so many times that our offense looks as organized as a monkey fornicating with a football and we end up with some ďoh crap the clock is running outĒ shot from beyond the arc. Not to mention the times where either Paul or George or D.J. just decide to prove to the world that they are the new Glenn Rice and decide to just take a 3 early in the shot clock.
But I understand that itís hard for me to complain about our continual love the long distant shot when Roy ďthe mighty windĒ Hibbert canít do anything in the post. I am not sure why he now almost exclusively hooks every shot within 10 feet of the basket. I know Hicks told me during the game that this was because it was his best shot but still itís not working. He needs to get in touch with an old Georgetown player by the name of Ewing and see that you can actually shoot a normal shot up close and it doesnít have to be a hook.
Ok before I get into tonightís bullet points I want to talk about my theory of how we have looked so bad in the last three games on defense.
Now understand I am by no means an expert so my idea maybe totally off base but this is what Iíve seen and sadly I think it is always going to happen vs. certain teams as long as they can hit their shots.
Portland & Utah in particular have athletic smaller front courts that are mobile, strong and can hit shots. Denverís front line (other than Faried) is not that way but their teams are athletic slashers who attack the rim.
I think in all three cases, in particular Portland & Utah, what they did was position their big men who really are power forwards away from the basket and have them hit face up jumpers. This in turn makes Roy Hibbert leave the inside thus taking away any and all advantage he gives you on defense.
This is particularly bad because David West while a decent one on one defender in the post is not a good help side defender at all and offers virtually no rim protection. He is slow and because he is slow often times he doesnít even try and rotate to help. Now in Utah we moved West to Jefferson with some success but that still left Roy on Millsap.
In other words anytime we are going to face a front court that has any ability to hit outside shots and is athletic and mobile we are going to be in for some trouble.
This is where not having Danny hurts you. Yes I know the general narrative on him is that he is just this side of Troy Murphy on defense but the narrative is wrong. Danny was (Iíll say was because we donít know how he will be now) a very good help side defender and often times last year covered a lot of the ground that West just canít. Paul can as well donít get me wrong but generally Paul is playing the passing lanes (rightfully so btw) and thus usually isnít in position to do it.
So what these three teams have done IMO is Jim OíBrienís greatest dream minus the absurd over use of the three point shot. They have spread the floor on us on defense and we do not have athletic enough big men to defend them. Honestly Iím not sure why Mahinmi hasnít gotten more time as he is far superior to Roy in this department.
I am not saying Danny Granger makes you win this game because then you wouldnít have gotten the game from Lance that you got (maybe) but just more size might have helped. Think about it Gallinari was their leading scorer and he was being guarded a lot by Lance. Now Lance did as good as he could against him but Lance is 6í5 & Gallinari is 6í9Ē (I think). Danny would have been the same height.
But again Danny may not have made a difference as he certainly hasnít the past 7 years out there.
Anyway that is my very basic layman thought on why we have struggled on defense the past 3 games, we have just faced power forwards playing center that have hit their face up jumpers in 2 of the 3 games and the 3rd game their entire team is designed to get to the basket.
Now to the bullet points and f your one of those people who absolutely have to look for a positive then I will start off with two for you.
ē Lance Stephenson looked great. If you werenít able to listen to the Pacers broadcast they said that Frank & Lance had a long talk and Frank did his usual motivation via positive message to Lance and tonight it worked. Cheers to both Lance & Frank for this.
ē Orlando Johnson also looked really good out there. Not just because he hit his two 3 pointers but on defense he actually was disruptive as well causing one jump ball and one turnover. The fact that he actually hit his shots didnít hurt things any.
ē The decision to not put the ball in George Hillís hands to run a pick n roll with west to end the game was baffling to me.
ē The decision to ever play Hill & Augustin together makes me nauseated. Iím still not on the Augustin bandwagon btw. Defense is as bad as its ever been with him.
ē Not sure why I feel this way but I havenít liked something about George Hillís game since he was diagnosed with Bronchitis. Canít put my finger on it but something isnít right.
ē Roy Hibbert gives me indigestion
ē Not sure why David West wasnít more of an offensive factor at the end of the game. Donít know if it was Denver cutting him off or we just didnít go to him but it was a problem either way.
ē The fact that I have to honestly look at people this year and say ďyes Kosta Koufos has outplayed Roy twice this yearĒ causes me great shame.
ē You know I know he ended up with good stats and all but honestly I just canít say that I really thought Paul George had a great game. He had a great block but he just seemed to float around a little. Maybe thatís too harsh I donít know he didnít have a bad game at all.
ē We really need to get some length and athleticism next year at the 4. Not over West as a starter but going from him to Tyler just gives us to much of the same thing (only less). Neither are rim protectors and neither grab enough rebounds on a nightly basis for my taste.
We have now lost 3 in a row and are only 5-5 over our last 10. We are now game and a half behind Chicago, a full game behind Brooklyn and sadly we are only up half a game on the Hawks who thankfully lost so they didnít catch us (and therefore pass us since they have won the season series so far) and we are amazingly only up a game and a half on the Bucks. I know that the Sunshine brigade will not be happy with me here but I have to say it anyway, we might be in real trouble playoff standing wise in a week. Sure we have Detroit, who btw is much improved, but then we have the gauntlet of Miami, Chicago & Atlanta with a 3rd game in 3 nightís scenario vs. Philly who we have some trouble with.
In a two week period of time we might go from 3rd to 7th. Iím not saying it will happen but we are going to have to see far more consistent play from our club and frankly we are going to have to get more from Roy if we hope to at least not go 1-4.
Iíd really be happy if we could go 3-2 over that period Iíd be thrilled with anything more than that.
Oh well letís not end this on such a dreary note, in honor of Rush finally getting into the Rock & Roll hall of fame here is limelight.