GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT)

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GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#1 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 9:13 am

If the first four games have taught us anything, it's that we can compete with very good teams despite being outmanned. It's as much if not more about us and how we play than about who we play. What we can control is our effort in communicating on D, getting everyone involved, and executing our plays the right way. Looking forward to seeing how we respond this afternoon!

WHERE: HP Field House Orlando, FL

WHEN: Friday, August 7, 2020, 12pm (CT)

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#2 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 9:23 am

Wait what? This is what we call an opportunity!
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Don't get lulled and make the most of it, Spurs!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#3 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 4:43 pm

A very Happy 31st Birthday to DeMar!
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He's in fine company:
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I hope we double celebrate today!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#4 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 5:12 pm

Same starters for us today - DJ, Derrick, Lonnie, DeMar, Jakob

vs.

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#5 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 6:21 pm

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Yeah we're going to have to play better team ball overall on both ends. They're getting way too many open 3s and have made 8 to our 4 at the half way point. When we contest them, they're missing more, funny that.

I like that we're making a concerted effort to get Jakob involved. He and Drew are doing well inside.

Rudy needs to pass more.

Fundamentals - Lonnie finishing with too much flair for missed bunnies; Jakob not dunking - why? He needs to dunk it like he just blocked it to end the half; DJ leading fast break and passes ahead to Lonnie right side for a dunk - good!; DD leading fast break holds the ball as DJ ran ahead alone - has to reward our young guys for that effort. It has happened often enough that it stands out.

Overall I don't get the sense that we're going all out full tilt, and have series of possessions where it's one and done shots, which is not our game. We can't get caught exchanging baskets, need to stop their drives more - some D miscommunication on coverage, and make sure we're communicating and flat out hustling them.

Let's go, team ball and hustle, Spurs!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#6 » by Phreak50 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 7:40 pm

Was closer than it should have been but it was a combination of us being a team that plays to the level of our opponents and the Jazz stand-ins stepping up quite well.

White is really becoming consistent and showing that experience and level headedness from his Team USA stint. His three point shot has really improved obviously but I'm more impressed with them not just being open looks and often off the dribble. A great weapon to have.

Murray looks out of his depth with the game he is trying to play. He just hasn't taken the next step. He doesn't have any exceptional part of his game and that's including one on one defense as well. He honestly would have been a better fit in the 90s. As it stands, the average starting or even backup point guard these days can either shoot or get their teammates good shots. DJ doesn't do either very well.

Walker looked pretty good again. He is getting more and more comfortable with what he can do and is picking his spots so much better now than earlier in the season.

Oh and a very nasty drive and dunk by Rudy Gay!
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#7 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 7:48 pm

Yep that was more stressful and close than I'd have liked. Some things we did well enough, others far too lax, and it was the Derrick and KJ hustle and smarts show with strong front court presence and spurts of contributions all around them.

Thank goodness we pulled it off:
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#8 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 7:54 pm

Phreak50 wrote:Was closer than it should have been but it was a combination of us being a team that plays to the level of our opponents and the Jazz stand-ins stepping up quite well.

White is really becoming consistent and showing that experience and level headedness from his Team USA stint. His three point shot has really improved obviously but I'm more impressed with them not just being open looks and often off the dribble. A great weapon to have.

Murray looks out of his depth with the game he is trying to play. He just hasn't taken the next step. He doesn't have any exceptional part of his game and that's including one on one defense as well. He honestly would have been a better fit in the 90s. As it stands, the average starting or even backup point guard these days can either shoot or get their teammates good shots. DJ doesn't do either very well.

Walker looked pretty good again. He is getting more and more comfortable with what he can do and is picking his spots so much better now than earlier in the season.

Oh and a very nasty drive and dunk by Rudy Gay!

He's been off in bubble play as Derrick has started to really take off. It's clear who the better player is. DJ did make some nice P&R passes inside to Jakob, so credit for those, but he has been settling so much on his Js (poor efficiency, too), barely driving, barely attempting 3s. Even his closeouts aren't really that strong, hand in face, but still distance from shooter. Not sure if something's the matter that he's dealing with or just seeing other guys step up a lot more and it's in his head or what. On O he's sort of like the DD of PGs in terms of those elbow Js, minus the distribution ability so far. Not sure how long we run with him at point. Imagine our young guys with a true facilitator at PG...
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#9 » by GREY 1769 » Fri Aug 7, 2020 8:47 pm

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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#10 » by Kabookalu » Sat Aug 8, 2020 2:58 pm

As high as I am on Derrick White, I thought Dejounte Murray would be the better player between the two. He's working with some incredible tools. Though I vastly underestimated how lacking Murray's bball IQ is. Seems like the only way he can have a great impact on offense is if he's nailing those jumpers off of picks in spades.

Speaking of White, he's averaging 21.8ppg, 5.2apg, 5rpg, on 66.4TS% shooting in the bubble.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#11 » by GREY 1769 » Sat Aug 8, 2020 5:18 pm

Yeah although I like the DJ-Derrick starting tandem, DJ's efficiency has taken a nose dive in the bubble games. His D has been ok, but just not with the sharp assertiveness I've seen many other times. I really thought his court vision / facilitating game would have taken a bigger leap by now, and though he's been better, Derrick frankly outshines him. We need to retain Derrick at pretty much all costs.
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Re: GAME DAY, BALA! RESTART GAME 5: SPURS VS. JAZZ, 7-8-2020, 12PM (CT) 

Post#12 » by GREY 1769 » Sun Aug 9, 2020 9:05 am

Well it wasn't our best game, but our best young players stepped up in key moments to get the win. It's often the case that a depleted team rallies and plays with a lot of discipline and effort; we've been proof of that. But we were frankly helped when their two hottest players did not play in the second half. It would have been even more tense had they done so; even as we lead throughout the game, they kept pushing at us and forcing us to respond.

Pop mentioned post-game that he likes what we're seeing from the DJ/Derrick combo. I agree, but the trajectories of DJ's and Derrick's games are becoming more pronounced. And it isn't just the PG skill set; it's the effort. DJ can get that J around the key from his sneaky dribble or off a screen. But yet again he wasn't efficient or assertive - 40%FG, drove twice to the basket all game, and was 0-1 from 3. Now to his credit, he did also grab 6 boards and get 6 assists, 3-4FTs, with 2 turnovers. If this is what he can get not really asserting himself, it's tantalizing what he can produce when he does. We've seen flashes of it. But he's been an enigma in the bubble on both ends. He can be stellar when he puts his mind to it. And in this game he did well to stay in front of defenders, but didn't have strong closeouts; hand in face, but too much space. Just little things you notice in his game that make you wonder why we're not getting more. To his credit, he did get 6 points on two Js and 2-2FTs, 1 assist in a key play when they brought it to within 6, and 1 TO on a charge, so he picked his spots well and made a bigger contribution in the final Q.

Derrick flexed his entire impressive game. He led us in scoring (24) and attempts on good efficiency (8-15), and is taking full advantage of the green light he has to shoot the 3 (4-9), including our final points with a minute and a half left for a 10-point lead. But it's how he's getting these points that's important - from the arc from passes in this game (in others some were from the dribble), Js, floaters, and assertive physical drives. He made 4-5FTs, grabbed 6 boards, and had 4 assists along with 1 steal and 1 block. Derrick's game has certainly made a noticeable leap.

Like Derrick, Keldon, who took a back seat on O and was only 1-2, stepped up in important moments: getting steals (3 for KJ) and blocks (1 for KJ); relentlessly shadowing opponents to disrupt their passes; running after an inbounds pass to deflect it off them for our possession; disrupting their fast break and getting fouled; hounding for rebounds. These were the kinds of make-it-my-business hustle plays that shifted momentum back in our favour. Huge impact on the game.

Lonnie apologized after the previous game saying there were some things he was dealing with and it affected his performance. His Dad called him, set him straight, and he gave a better effort. He had some missed bunnies that will hopefully decrease in time if he uses fundamentals and learns to finish with his left hand. But he tied Derrick with 15 attempts making 6-15, 1-3 from 3, 1-3 FTs along with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal. He kept on trying to dunk and got blocked, but you can't fault the effort. His off ball movement has taken a leap forward. Much better recognition and timing to find pockets of space - back door or weak side cuts into the key, or running out to the corner to receive passes. His passing is better, too. You can see he's adding other elements to his game and it's paying dividends for him and us. In the 4th Q, he hit a J, got to the FT line (1-2), and when they got to within 6 points twice, Lonnie drove for a layup and then hit a clutch left corner 3. Great form to step backwards into position and in taking the shot. Gutsy, too. I loved his defensive effort as well. His footwork to stay with defenders and keeping an upright balance stood out. It forced ball handlers into uncomfortable decisions and missed shots.

So our young guards really stepped up in the final quarter, each with key contributions. Early in the game, we made a concerted effort to get the ball to Jakob to take advantage of our front court edge. He scored a season-high 19 points and along with 10 rebounds (4 on O), 2 assists, and 3 blocks, showed more of his O even as he is limited from farther out. He was 5-7 in the first half, 4-5 in the second and did well to get into the right spaces, seal defenders to protect passes and box out for rebounds. His missed bunnies still drive me crazy, but his overall contribution was stellar as we put him in optimal positions to score. Good work with just about all our guards in P&R and with high-low passes from Rudy. I've missed seeing those from our bigs.

After the game, Jakob was more serious than before. Sean and Bill tried to joke with him about not falling asleep and getting sunburned again. He took it well but said something to the effect of 'We're past that now', and focused more on his contributions to the game and how his strengths were highlighted. It's only relevant because it comes across like he wants to be taken more seriously both as a man and player and is asserting himself on and off the court. Good for him. If he continues to grow his O game - and finish with dunks not finesse! - then good for us, too.

Drew joined in on feasting down low and pitched in 8 points on 4-5, with 5 boards and 1 assist. He was the solid aggressive complementary piece to Jakob. And to Jakob's credit he wasn't outplayed by his backup.

Rudy was a ball stopper in the first half, but looked to get other involved more in the second. In the third Q, as they brought it to within 5, he had an impactful stretch; first hitting a 3 and making 2-2FTs, then assisting on Jakob's dunk on a great high low pass, then another 5-point cluster of a J and 3. His 7 boards, 3 assists, and 3 steals was the more balanced role that I hoped he'd show. Picking his spots while facilitating for others as well as making good D plays is the kind of contribution that is best for the team. No tunnel vision or taking better shots away from teammates. Solid.

Beli pitched in a couple of 3s (2-4) which we needed because we only shot 9-22. Yes it's about generating those chances within the flow of our game, but we do need to find ways to shoot more of them. He is useful in off ball movement and some crafty passing, but now that we've seen what consistently good D looks like from the back court, it makes me nervous whenever he's out there. The trade-off of O for D has always been precarious with him, so only spot up minutes is what we need.

Birthday Boy DeMar. Oof. Didn't exactly put on a clinic. He lolled into a 4-10 performance with his dependable 5 assists and 5-6FTs. But he was really lax most of the game like it was a scrimmage in the park, culminating in a brutal fourth Q. The lowlights: Missed J, bad pass turnover, foul, subbed out; returned with four minutes left, missed J, foul, lost ball in the key for a turnover, got a steal but stepped out of bounds, and finally a bad pass for their steal in the last play of the game. He should've given himself a birthday cake to the face for that Q. I'm surprised DJ didn't finish the game, more so for being subbed in for DeMar than anything. Some of our best line-ups were with him out. The DJ-Derrick-KJ-Rudy-Jakob one, for example, was effective. Their fourth Qs couldn't have been more different.

Thankfully it wasn't one of those 'as DeMar goes so does the team' games. We had enough other Spurs step up to cover for him. I like that we had 27 assists; we're far better when we move and share the ball. Thirteen turnovers isn't great, but five were from DeMar. They outrebounded us on O and overall which shouldn't happen in the one game we had a front court advantage. Hustle was the difference on boards as well as in closing our their 3s which allowed them to shoot it at 43.2% while making 16. Our efficiency was solid, but our pace was slower which can leave smaller margin for error in close games. We did enough well enough to get the win, but we do need to play with better focus and intensity going forward.

After the game, Pop said with the young guys playing more, "...we get to determine how valuable they are and if those are the guys we want to move forward with...." Wow. There's a lot of value for us to have DJ-Derrick tandem in the starting backcourt. But depending on the leaps that Lonnie and KJ take (and how the vets showcase themselves), I do wonder about the eventual fate of our guard line-up. It struck me as a forthright tidbit that we'll be making some moves. But before then, we have some games to play to keep showing how we're growing and competing. We'll have to bring far more competitive drive on both ends to best position ourselves for now and for our future. There's a lot left to play for.
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