The last two games offensively have been dismal. Particularly in the 3rd quarter. Both in Boston and Charlotte at the end of the half we had competitive and winnable games. In the 3rd quarter we were outscored 66 to 38 by both teams. There has been fairly good production by this team in the 3rd quarter so far this season. Triano has made some great adjustments in games past. But, that quarter alone in a close game on the road will take the life out of you when/if you don't stick to the refined game plan. During the first half coaches on both teams are analyzing opponents for weaknesses to exploit and preparing to veil the deficiencies of their respective teams. Instead of bucking up and tightening the chains we've collapsed like a house of cards in the wind.
How do we fix this?
-We are 3W-6L trailing at halftime
-1W-6L trailing after 3 quarters of play
-0W-5L when trailing on the road after the 3rd quarter
-we're averaging 25.3pp 3rd quarter (second lowest quarter other than the 4th which would be the average because teams play hard defense)
-we are 0W-2L on the road when leading at halftime
-we are 2W-4L if trailing after halftime*
*Both those wins came with strict adjustments in the 3rd quarter that were followed. Against the Clippers, we gave Chris Kaman the double team coming from the weak side and forced him to make bad passes out of the lane forcing turnovers. In New Orleans, they came out of the half aggressive on defense and gave Paul no room.
Can you coach a team into developing focus? Is it up to veteran leadership to take a stance? It's difficult to decipher what really went on in the locker room at half in the last two games. It's still early and there are plenty of games ahead. Unfortunately, the "9 new players" excuse is starting to run its course. Simple execution is brought on during tough times on the road by effort and commitment to the plan. If shots aren't going in, you have the crowd against you and your opponent seems to be making all the right moves. You still dig in. You make the stops. You impose your will. It's desire.
A certain play comes to mind where Bargnani was not willing to drop to the floor for a loose ball that was right in front of him. Isn't that just a plan for mediocrity and passivity? What would KG do? He would sacrifice a bum knee and a career for his team I'm sure. Every time I watch Garnett play I am truly amazed at how dedicated he is to defense. He has an elbow on his man at all times and never loses focus. He plays with blood lust in his eyes and is a true warrior in every sense. Now, Bargnani on a scale with Garnett would be on the opposite end. He loses sight of his man and is completely lost at the defensive end most nights. If he's not producing offensively, he's not doing much of anything out there. Bargnani needs to watch game tape of Garnett at work. Seriously, your shot won't go in every night but your defensive effort is with you at all times. You just have to tap in and ask yourself: "What would KG do?"
How important are fouls in this game? Turkoglu going into the half shooting(I think) 6/7 from the field and simply on fire gets his forth foul in the 3rd and sits. There is a flow to this offense when it works and Turkoglu took that flow with him when he received his 4th and took a seat. From then on Boston solidified theie grip on Bosh and no other Raptor could get going. Where were we when KG got his 5th foul to knock him out? What about attacking Wallace who was also in foul trouble? We do that and all of a sudden Boston has no one left who can possibly guard Bosh.
On a side note I'm not going to get into the Paul Pierce dunk on Bosh(that's the full video with melee afterwords). It's not surprising to me no one got into it from our side. Intimidation during the game when it matters is what counts not in between.
Phoenix comes to the ACC tomorrow and these guys need to show the fans that they can win against a competitive team.
Cool Hand Luke