Two things that, believe it or not, may have been in short supply today.
DC is STILL our fastest guy, and even though he is not all the way back yet, he did fine interceptor work, esp. in the 1st half. If you doubt it, check his series of steals toward the end of the 1st half.
RW has all the tools, but to fill AA's shoes, you have to strap on his work boots. Hackett and Mayo blew by RW several times -- not just to the basket, but to loose balls. They wanted it more. Even Billy PACCker could tell that in the first half.
And Josh -- Josh had his stroke going from outside for sure, but how many times did Mayo and Hackett and Jefferson get to the glass for 2nd chance points?
Leaders lead. It's Josh's time. He can take the reins, but he has to know when he HAS to take the reins. I think and hope this game will be a good learning experience for him.
IIRC, I think Katz or Stein or Gottlieb said earlier in the week that our backcourt is "good, but not great." I'm sure many were ticked off at the notion. However, the WWL writer (whichever one it was) may have a point.
Coming into the year, I'm sure many of us thought that DC would be our best backcourt athlete, with RW right behind, JS being a fairly good athlete, and Roll being just athletic enough.
At this point, however, with Roll out for a few more weeks, we're playing 3 guys extended minutes, and even if Roll wasn't Rex Chapman in blue and gold, he at least spelled our guys so their batteries could recharge mid-game.
You can see toward the end that our 3-man backcourt, ever so slightly, was a quarter-step behind the Toejam backcourt. To loose balls. To the glass. To shooting spots on the floor.
Shoot, how many of our last-minute heaves -- when we really didn't need to settle for 3s yet -- were short or plain-out WIDE. That's mental and physical fatigue there, folks. Mental fatigue in particular, as we apparently tried for 3s at the 59.2-second-point when we could have gone to Gonzaga-style choke-hold D and still possibly pulled it out.
Plus, with Luc on the bench with a concussion, one of our best clean-up defenders was on the bench for a LONG time. Aboya has the speed to cover a lot of mistakes with rotations, which is why the lineup with him AND Luc together at the forward spots is better defensively than a Luc-Love-Mata frontcourt.
Keefe, however, for all his increasingly valuable hustle and smarts, doesn't have Aboya's quicks, or Luc's wonderfully freaky combo of strength, quickness AND length.
Do I think we'll still make the F4? Oh, HELL FREAKING YES. The FAITH is NOT broken today, but is merely being reasserted. Refocused. Rededicated.
But our Ben Ball Warriors WILL need to adjust.
Our mental focus must be sharpened. Our rotations and decisions and communication on help D must ALL be quicker.
But most of all, as unhealthy as this sounds, we need to play with something that AA and Farmar gave us in years past, but what I have yet to see this year.
Who on this team will REFUSE to let himself and his teammates LOSE a game they should have no business losing?
Light and dark side of the Force aside, who is most likely on this team to use their ANGER to drive their play?
Who on this team is going to get PISSED when we lose? Not disappointed. Not frustrated. Not bummed.
I'm talking light-a-stack-of-old-truck-tires-with-his-own-eyes -pissed-so-that-the-flames-can-only-be-quenched-with -the-sweat-borne-of-two-hours-of-shooting-drills-after-breaking-into-the-locked-doors-of-Pauley PISSED.
Sometimes, you need to relight the pilot light for that fire to get your feet back to the Four.
This looks like one of those days.
Relight the pilot, and the whole house can be warm and happy in no time.
Who's our pilot light? Right now, my money's on Josh, but questions remain.
Will he take the reins?
Will he find the anger?
Will he take the next step?
Someone check the locks on Pauley in the morning for me, will ya?