I wrote about the big four but the official star of this game was Tony Parker. While I think Tony took advantage of Stanford's weakest position, Alford has another reason and Jack Wang has a funny article on it.
UCLA's 91-74 win over Stanford saw forward Tony Parker pour in a career-high 22 points - far beyond the 5.6 he had averaged against five previous Pac-12 opponents.
The key might have been a well-placed barb.
"You've got to get Tony mad," said head coach Steve Alford. "It's kind of hard to make him mad because everybody he sees, he's friends with. It's difficult to make him mad.
"Sometimes if you crack on his outfit - he had a really ugly outfit on (this morning). He wore red into our office. That's just something you don't do. Making fun of his outfit a lot, that bothers him. ... Maybe he got fired up because of that."
I agree red is ugly. I also like what Wang does to Alford. More seriously the offense looked good last night, thanks to Tony and other reasons.
Alford was adamant this week that the Bruins were not in an offensive funk, shooting 42% in their last four games. . . . .
Tony Parker had career-high 22 points, making nine of 14 shots. Kyle Anderson had 13 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds. The Bruins shot 52% and had five players score in double figures. The Bruins had 34 field goals, with 20 being layups or dunks.
"We just kept moving the ball," said Jordan Adams, who had 19 points. "When you keep moving the ball, the other team gets tired."
While Tony had a great game to me the play of the game was a full court pinpoint pass from Anderson to LaVine. Which sums up Kyle Anderson: everyone was "ohhing and ahhing" at LaVine for a spectacular dunk without realizing it would not happen without Kyle's arguably more amazing pass. Jill Painter has an article praising Kyle.
Anderson is the MVP for UCLA, its leader, the glue and key. He's a dream for Alford, who's in his first year as UCLA's coach. He's credible and can call out his teammates if need be (as he did after Tony Parker's clutch plays led UCLA to a win over Alabama, but Anderson said he was mad that he only had five rebounds). . . . .
During UCLA's critical Pac-12 game against Stanford on Thursday, Anderson scored eight first-half points on 4-of-7 shooting and added eight rebounds[sic], three assists and two steals. He's everywhere.
. . . Anderson makes everyone around him better.
As he goes, so does UCLA.
While Anderson is the MVP and the shooting was nice, the key was turnovers:
UCLA committed a season-low six turnovers and scored 22 points off Stanford's 19 turnovers. The Cardinal finished with just one point off the Bruins' six turnovers.
The teams were nearly even over the game's first nine minutes after Stanford started with three turnovers and two missed shots.
John Gage's three-point basket gave Stanford its last lead, 23-21, before UCLA launched a 21-8 run that propelled the Bruins to a 42-31 halftime cushion.
Six different players scored, with LaVine and Adams hitting three-pointers, and Anderson dunking off LaVine's missed jump shot to close out the spurt.
Stay mad Tony. Good game Bruins. Beat Cal and you are in second place. The last word goes to Tony Parker.
"After the Utah game, I watched a lot of clips of Kevin Love and Zach Randolph who are my favorite players, and I noticed that they stayed around the arc and were active. So tonight, I decided to stay around the arc and I kept moving. We play inside-out. It makes the game much easier, and it makes it easier for our guards to get shots off."