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View Full Version : In search of clutch & finishing power



FuManShoes
01-24-2011, 05:16 PM
In looking back at the losses this season, in all but three, the games have been there for the taking and the Zags simply didn't get it done in the last 10 minutes:


San Diego St - Zags trail for much of the game, lose the battle of the boards and give up one too many threes.
Notre Dame - Teams are tied with 10 minutes left, then Zags go down big, stage epic rally but come up short
Santa Clara - Teams are close throughout but Zags' D fails miserably in final 5 minutes.
San Francisco - Team trails for much of the game, finally gains lead only to relinquish it late on fluke play. But they fight to get to OT, then puke.


If this team is going anywhere it needs to start closing games out with rebounds, defensive stops, execution in the half court and free throws. A team this deep and big should have the energy and horses to defend tough and own the paint for 40 minutes. Sounds simple but of course it's not. But it is a prerequisite for a team that lacks the explosiveness to enter the last minutes of a game with a big lead.

Reborn
01-25-2011, 06:39 AM
I think the Zags finished strong against both Notre Dame and USF. The guys fought with all they had to the bitter end. I felt we did against San Diego St as well. They were just better than us without Elias.

Against USF I thought the Zags showed great guts, hitting some huge shots. Agaist USF it was all about not hitting some free throws. It wasn't about anything else. Overall, I'd say the Zags have closed games out pretty well this year and better than in some years.

I was really surprised by what happened to the Zags last weekend. I am as baffled by that USF game as I was about the UCLA loss in the NCAA tournament. It had just been so long since the Zags lost two road games in a row. The loss at USF just put me in a state of shock the same way the UCLA game did, and Im just now getting over it. Rob getting that intenional foul called on him with 20 some seconds left in the game just reminded me a lot of JP getting the ball stripped from him with 20 some seconds left in the game against UCLA. It just doesnt happen. It was also a controversial call. Was JP fouled? I know I thought he was. Sometimes really aweful things happen. To say it's because the Zags can not close out games is not the right call, in my opinion. As fortunate as the Zags have been, they have also had unfortunate things happen too. I think its just part of the game. It's the nature of sport, and if you think about it, it is also what life is about. I think back to the Wide World of Sports closing statement each week with THE JOY OF VICTORY AND HE AGAONY OF DEFEAT.

I think it happens to most of us. Its not all roses. I remember missing a foul shot at the end of a game in high school with 3 seconds left on the clock. We were down by one point. I was an 80% foul shooter, and I missed both shots. If we had won we would have gone home with a trophy from the state tournament It wasn't because our team couldn't close out games. Things like that just happen. Who knows why.

hooter73
01-25-2011, 07:13 AM
As much as I hate to say it Goodson is becoming our clutch guy. MM and KO have made some big shots and Rob has clutch rebouded for us. We just need to fire on all cylinders all game and not get in a position in games where it comes down to one foul or one shot or even one possession.

zagitup
01-25-2011, 07:24 AM
As much as I hate to say it Goodson is becoming our clutch guy. MM and KO have made some big shots and Rob has clutch rebouded for us. We just need to fire on all cylinders all game and not get in a position in games where it comes down to one foul or one shot or even one possession.

Hooter, I'm not sure why you hate to say it. I personally don't see any mystery here.

In CBB, just like in life, when success in within reach, give the responsibility (or the ball) to the guy with the biggest heart. Your chances of succeeding increase exponentially. No doubt in my mind who has the biggest heart on this team...

ZagsObserver
01-25-2011, 09:04 AM
I think Gray, Harris or Sacre could be clutch depending upon the circumstances. Even Few considered Stockton to be clutch in a sense, as he continually subbed in Stockton for Meech on the offensive end to make things happen (and on one trip down it resulted in a beautiful pass for a three-point play, and a clutch 3-pointer the next trip down) during the last few minutes against USF.

hooter73
01-25-2011, 09:15 AM
Hooter, I'm not sure why you hate to say it. I personally don't see any mystery here.


Its half and half for me: Half because I wish Gray was the go to guy and half because I've traditionally been in the non-Goodson camp but am starting to come around.

Hooter after Goodson's USF game ["MMMM thats good Crow"]

I stand by the fact that we shouldnt be in clutch situations as a team but the team has to be able to react to adversity like terrible game flow because of calls or a guy going off on them for 30+ points. I think the clutch guy might just be the best one on the court that night no matter what team it is.

Johnzaga
01-25-2011, 09:44 AM
IMO, we can't put our faith in Meech because he hasn't proven himself. His inconsistency makes it hard to believe in him. BUT it is great to see that he has it in him to knock down shots and my faith in him is growing. We just need to see some consistency in his shot and decision making.

Stockton however has made a few feshman mistakes, but I love the ball in his hand. I would love for him to split time at the point with Meech. He is tough - Mentally tough! He never looks scared and he has certainly learned the tricks of his father's game.

The real point is that everyone needs to step up, everyone needs to make plays and everyone needs to play hard for the full game and like MM be ready to come off the bench and hit a huge shot at any moment. The ability of these guys to sit on the bench for 20 minutes or so and get up and hit their first shot is incredible to me.

FuManShoes
01-25-2011, 09:55 AM
I think it falls on everyone. You have to finish plays at this level. How many layups and freethrows were missed by Gray, Sacre, Kelly and Harris against USF? Far too many. I don't know that there's some magic formula or secret but these guys just need to convert when the opportunity is there, because it's one of those things that separates bad teams from good teams and good teams from great teams. Perhaps it all comes down to confidence.

cjm720
01-25-2011, 10:33 AM
I think Matty B had a calming influence on last year's squad that we don't seem to have this year (and perhaps next year). We certainly have the talent level...

Go Zags!!!

SUSpokanative
01-25-2011, 11:06 AM
Seems to me that this team needs to play with more of a chip on its' shoulder - like other teams so far in conference. I don't know whether it's other teams amped up so much that they are bringing it more than us OR is it that WCC has recruited better athletes with the promise of doing what the Zags have done to enter the national stage? Seems to be agreement that the conference is weaker this year, but maybe the new recruits are starting to hit stride now. At any rate we appear to be losing momentum. May just be a down year and good for the rest of the WCC. One other thought, lock the players in the Kennel that need to vastly improve free thow percentages. The main reason for losing at SF.

bullzag23
01-25-2011, 01:14 PM
One other thought, lock the players in the Kennel that need to vastly improve free thow percentages. The main reason for losing at SF.

Sorry but our main reason for losing at USF was defense, or the lack thereof. Free Throws didn't help, but overall this year they've been one of our biggest strengths. This team has improved vastly from the line compared to last year's edition. I would much rather see the team spend an entire week practicing defensive switches and rotations.