Seriously, I’m asking.
I’m talking to the one and only Nina Mandell. After watching the amazing Duke/Wake Forest game, the headline she comes up with is “Wake wins shows Duke’s inside game still wanting.”
Okay, where do we start? Does Duke have a big man who can dominate; a Brand, a Boozer? Nope. Do we need one? If we learned anything last night, we’ve proven that Duke can do just fine without one this year.
First, her justification for this nonsense was the end-of-the-game inbound pass. Yep, according to Nina, it was Duke’s lack of size that did them in.
Check out these lines in the first paragraph.
“The kid in the concession stand on the 300 Level knew what the play was going to be.”
And after Coach Gaudio said the inbound pass was a great play, Nina’s response, “No offense to Coach Gaudio, but anyone could have made up that play.”
Seriously? Did she watch the play? No, the kid from the concession stand could not have called that play (although he could probably write for CNNSI). That particular play (that the parking attendent could have apparantly called) had never been called before by Wake…ever. Johnson found himself open, not because Duke doesn’t have the size, it worked because the entire Duke roster followed Teague. Instead of fronting him, Gerald Henderson was standing behind Johnson waiting to catch Teague coming off a screen. The play was part ‘brilliant’ on Wake’s end and part (if I can quote Coach K) “horrible” defense on Duke’s part.
However, Nina doesn’t stop there. She continues on talking about the game that she clearly couldn’t have watched.
“Duke proved that when matched up with true inside pressure, its post presence isn’t strong enough this season to get the Devils back to more than what will likely be a one-week stay atop the AP poll.”
Um, Duke outrebounded Wake 45-39, including five more offensive rebounds. In fact, over half of Duke’s baskets came off of offensive rebounds. Also, Duke held a pretty solid shooting team to 40% shooting, Wake’s lowest of the year. Maybe Wake won because they’re a good team who had a good night. Maybe, just maybe.
“Singler was his squad’s best player Wednesday.”
Um, no he wasn’t. He was the second best player. Gerald Henderson scored 20, grabbing eight boards (Singler was slightly better at 22/12). It was Gerald in the second half who kept Duke around. While Singler was fumbling the ball out of bounds and picking up charging calls, Henderson was the only man capable of scoring early in the second. Later, it was Henderson’s basket that tied it and it was Henderson’s block and rebound that nearly sent the game into overtime. Christ, it was Gerald who pulled down the rebound at 2.9 seconds, not all those Wake Forest big men. Let’s not forget, if two Wake player’s aren’t laying on the floor when Gerald comes down, the game goes to overtime.
This next line is…uh…I’m not sure what to say about it.
“Henderson also put up some key shots — but his one big attempt to tie the game? A midrange pull-up jumper that he barely got over Johnson.”
He barely got over Johnson? Oh my God. He barely got over Johnson. How many game winners did Michael Jordan ‘barely’ get over a defenders hand in his career? I have to ask, who writes that sentence? Henderson made an amazing shot, on the road, seconds to go, over one of the best big men in the country, and Nina write’s it like he got lucky.
Let’s continue, shall we?
“On defense, it only got worse for the Blue Devils. Aminu, with David McClure sent in to shadow him for much of the game, had a solid performance — scoring a team-high 15 points, most of which came from point-blank range.”
Aminu, the guy with the ‘solid performance’ shot 5-14 from the floor. Johnson, the other big man that couldn’t be stopped? He made four baskets. I have to ask again, did Nina watch the game? Duke’s defense failed them tonight not because they couldn’t handle Wake’s size, it failed because our guards couldn’t stop their guards. Our guards couldn’t keep Teague and Smith out of the lane. The bigs got points because our bigs were forced to come over and double, leaving Wake’s big men open.
I’m sorry, I’ll call holding a guy 5-14 in shooting a good night. And finally,
” But perhaps more important than their comeback was how they did it. After an entire game of trying to compete inside, the Devils went repeatedly to the outside funneling the ball to Jon Scheyer, Henderson and Greg Paulus — not the way to go for a team that supposedly has a solid inside presence.”
Okay, where do I begin? There’s so much wrong with this statement. First, so Duke WAS trying to compete inside? I want to be sure about this. Obviously it failed because we outrebounded them and actually had more free throw attempts at that point, down 13 with seven to play. Duke couldn’t have been losing because they were like 2-19 from three at that point?
Also, Greg Paulus? Maybe Nina was busy doing something else in the final seven minutes, but Paulus played only one minute in the last seven and sat for the final six minutes of the game. Remember, Nolan Smith shooting three free throws?
Sorry, but CNNSI should be embarrassed by this. Yes, Duke doesn’t have size, and haveing a Patrick Patterson or a Greg Monroe would be nice, but this team relies on having four guard-type players running the offense and preassuring defense up top.
Last night Wake Forest was the better team. They won a great game, played by both teams. Personally, this defeat to me more about this Duke, than any of the 18 victories ever could. They were on the verge of being blown out, yet refused to go away. They rallied to tie the game at the end on an amazing shot, and got an unlucky break when Henderson landed on some Wake Forest players.
I wonder if any Wake Forest Concession stand employees are looking to do some writing on CNNSI. Apparantly, anyone can.