Wow. What a game. This was certainly a tale of two halves. Two teams with very similar styles--one just did it a bit better. As bad as the Ducks played in the first half--and they were plenty bad--they were only down eight. Then, in the second half, they were able to pull away to victory.
What exactly happened in that first half? Well, for starters, look at rebounding. The Ducks weren't blocking out at all, and Ryan Anderson was getting seemingly every board. The Ducks had a whopping five boards in the first half. However, the Ducks were only outrebounded by four in the end. That means that the Ducks did a much better job rebounding in the second half. The Ducks also seemed to have an inordinate number of turnovers in the first half. The second half was much better. Finally, the defensive effort was just so much better. Now, Cal was on fire in the first half. But the defense was still very bad. The effort, especially on that big run to start the half was so much better in the second half (and Ryan Anderson was largely shut down).
It seemed to me that this one simply came down to effort (and maybe a bit of Cal fatigue).
- Malik is rounding back into form. High shooting percentages (7-8), three blocks, three assists, and took over the game at times. Not to mention his dunk, which was just filthy. The way he is finishing at the rim tells me that the injury is long gone. With him playing at such a high level, I am a bit less nervous about playing without Brokks in Seattle on Thursday.
- MVP did his thing again today. 22 points (mostly in the second half), six assists, and the most ridiculous blocked shot that I have seen all season. And every time we are in an offensive lull, he hits a big shot (often from NBA range). Perhaps the closest player to Brooks in the conference was Ubaka, and Brooks thouroughy outplayed him tonight.
- After one questionable three very early in the game, I thought that Porter's shot selection was much better this game. Although his FG% was low, his shots were of good quality, as 15 points shows. He still has a ways to go on defense, as Wilkes exploited him at times.
- Does anything good happen when Chruchill Odia comes into the game?
- Champ Oguchi showed signs, with five points in 12 minutes. He'll get a lot more than that against the puppies, but hopefully seeing a couple of shots go in (including a big three), will give him some confidence.
- Seven assists for Maarty Leunen. Anderson played pretty good defense, so Leunen got the ball to his mates, who did a great job cutting to the basket. So often, guards stand around and watch the post. The Ducks did a great job keeping the offense in motion.
We'll have a post on all the national pub that the Ducks have been getting tomorrow evening, and some football stuff later in the week.