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Cure for First Half Blues

We will put the ASU game behind us. Arron himself was not pleased at all with the team's lack of intensity in the first half:

I'm a little disappointed to have them come out and jump on his like that," UCLA junior guard Arron Afflalo said. "We have to do a much better job of being ready to play because from this point on, we probably won't come back."
Hopefully rest of his team-mates sense AA's urgency.  Bruins may not get a chance to recover in the future games when they take on good teams and don't come out with a focus mindset in the first half.

We should also give credit to the Devils for their wonderful effort in the first half. They stifled the Bruin offense with their 2-3 matchup zone, while shooting almost 60 percent in the first half. From BBR's game wrap up:
UCLA struggled mightily against Arizona State's 3-2 match-up zone settling for long-range jumpers rather than aggressively attacking the zone with dribble penetration or quick passes to find the open shooter.

In the first half, defensively, the Bruins were slow in their rotations, especially off their double of the high screen resulting in easy lay-ups or kick-outs for open shots for the Sun Devils.  In addition, Arizona State was blazing hot shooting 14-23 (58.3%) from the field and 4-7 (57.1%) from beyond the arc in the first half.  In contrast, the Sun Devils had entered the game shooting 42.8% from the field and just 30.7% on three-pointers.

UCLA climbed back into the game with a 23-12 run in the first half keyed by the play of Alfred Aboya and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute who each had three offensive rebounds giving their team second chance baskets.  As a result, the Bruins had five more shot attempts than the Devils and trailed only 37-34 at halftime despite shooting only 46.4% from the field and 25% (4-16) from three-point distance.
As the wrap up notes, the Bruins of took care of business in second half. They played their patented lock down D, and shut down the ASU offense for pretty much the entire half.

Coach Howland was amused by Josh's reverse dunk:

"On that reverse dunk, I think he wanted to show everybody he was OK," UCLA Coach Ben Howland said.
Josh played well in second half and it was good to see him playing without any noticeable sign of suffering from his injury. Still maybe it's just me, but I think Josh needs to play more within the frame work of our team's offense not force the issue on offense. BBR mentioned how the team was settling for long range jumpers.  We were seeing that from both Josh and Arron. Josh took 10 shots. 5 of them were from behind the 3 point line. He made only 1 of those shots. AA's number are even more astounding. 10 of his 12 shots came from behind the 3 point line, and he made only 1 of them. Again as I have said earlier in the season, these guys need to be a little more patient on offense, and let the game come to them. May be it's just me but it seemed like last year AA was penetrating and slashing more inside getting tough buckets or drawing fouls. It would be nice to see a little more balanced inside/outside game from these two this year. I could be off on this. But that's what I have been noticing this year.

In any event, those are issues our coaches can work on.  I think if we come out focused and intense effort on defense we will be fine this Saturday. Saturday is shaping up to be elimination game for the Standard of the Pac-10 if they want to keep their hopes alive for winning the Pac-10. So you can bet they are going to come out on fire. The challenge for the Bruins now will be to come out with much better effort, intensity, and focus than they have shown in the first halves of their last three games. It is time for them to shake off the tam's first-half blues.