I haven’t done my Comarow’s Corner Nerdy Takes since the non-conference season, so if anyone doesn’t know what they are, I re-watch the game and give a basic summary of my thoughts followed by a quick take on EVERY SINGLE PLAY. It works perfectly if you want to re-watch the game or revisit a specific sequence of events.
This Duke-Georgia Tech game was interesting to watch the second time around. Poor rotations have led to transition issues against NC State, Miami, and Notre Dame for periods of time in each game and as well as against other opponents, and watching Duke rotate poorly many times against Ga Tech, transition was assumed to be the primary issue. That would be wrong, though. Yes, Duke will get taken advantage of if these poor rotations continue against future opponents, but Georgia Tech did not want to run. This game was simply a matter of one team being on fire from three-point land and the other not being able to hit their own three’s. Duke planned its defensive strategy around Georgia Tech being a bad three-pt shooting team, and then saw Tech hit 8 of 11, including five of six in the 2nd half. That is tough to do even in shooting drills without defenders! Meanwhile Duke, after making most fans forget about their lack of any made three’s in the 1st half against Virginia by raining them down in the 2nd half comeback, struggled, shooting 5 for 18. There were some miscommunications on defense and some uncharacteristically sloppy offensive play and on-ball defense by Tyus Jones, and Okafor surprisingly looked like the less physical player in his match up against Demarco Cox. Quinn Cook had his worst half of the year both offensively and defensively in the 1st half, but played like a champion in the 2nd half. On another positive note, Matt Jones keeps on improving. The young man has a bright future ahead at Duke. Amile Jefferson was up and down, but Justise Winslow was my player of the game, showing nonstop aggressiveness and not settling for the outside shot.
Duke’s man to man extended, ball denial defense is made to keep opponents from setting up the offense until late in the shot clock. And it does with this year’s Duke team, except for the fact that the Duke defenders get broken down many times as the shot clock runs down. Georgia Tech, like Miami, NC State and Notre Dame, can individually break down Duke defenders on the ball. While not as talented as teams like Wisconsin, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Virginia, Duke struggles against teams with this capability. It is obvious that Coach K doesn’t want to abandon his man to man defense entirely, but he may have to think about matching up better to specific offensive styles. The bottom line, though, is that Duke kept their cool and played tough when it mattered most, unlike earlier in the season. Their play will continue to be up and down, but they gel together when it matters most.
*By re-watching every play and determining the primary factor for the result of each possession, I looked carefully at any signs of effort/lack therof. If I thought less than optimal effort was given, I wrote it down. I have no bias at all. After doing this, I feel as comfortable now as I do after every game saying that besides random occasions, effort is NOT a concern.*
This is every play of the game summarized with my thoughts. I mark the time of the game for when the specific play generally STARTS, rather than the exact time that would be listed in the official play-by-play. These thoughts are not meant to be grammatically perfect.
Amile switches to Tyus’ man, and Tyus seems confused, leading to a free path to the basket for Sampson. Blows the layup, though.
On Cook’s miss from 3, Winslow was inside rebounding. Amile got the board and scores, but only Tyus seemed ready to get back in transition.
On Cook’s second miss from 3, Winslow again is going for the rebound inside, but this time Tyus didn’t rotate over. Duke got lucky there was a scrum for the ball, holding up a possible fast break.
After Duke plays amazing defense for 28 seconds, Bolden hits an insane three-pointer from 5 feet behind the line. Too good.
Off Jah’s miss from the right baseline, Duke rotates back well.
Cox bumps Okafor off for a 5 footer. Jah can’t let this happen. (Both the positioning and the bump)
Jah seems determined to run over the defender before he even received the ball from Tyus on the pick and roll. Maybe he was still frustrated from the defensive possession.
Winslow takes a bad angle on his man on initial drive, but Duke gets the ball back. Winslow really struggles when asked to stick to man with the ball for long periods of time.
Jah turns it over and Ga Tech would had a 4 on 1 since Justise didn’t hustle enough with Jah and Amile trailing.
Good pick and roll run by Winslow to Jah for the jam. Love Winslow’s attacking.
Quinn stood and watched instead of boxing out his man, who got the offensive rebound and GT scored. Based on Quinn’s reaction, he knew he was in the wrong.
Tyus with the on-balance floater. Good iso.
Amile gives a half-hearted attempt at doubling the GT man on the press. Everything was set up to succeed, but GT got transition because Amile didn’t double hard enough. Duke lucky Mitchell missed.
Grayson misses a 3 and Quinn sulks because he didn’t get the ball, thus not rotating to get back on D. Duke lucky again to get the ball. Getting away with TERRIBLE rotations.
On Matt Jones’ 3, Quinn rotated back, and it was okay for Grayson to move in because his man wasn’t leaking out.
Quinn goes over the screen on a pick and roll to follow his man with a terrible angle, but Marshall is ready to switch and follows Quinn’s man, leaving his own. Quinn needed to go under the screen and trust that Marshall would stick to his own man.
After Quinn’s miss, Matt Jones scores on the offensive rebound. Grayson had rotated back, and Quinn’s man went to the basket, so the rotation was fine.
Moving screen on GT
Matt Jones 3-pt miss. He flopped, so he was down and Grayson was inside rebounding. GT could have had #’s.
Cox beats Jah badly 1 on 1 with an up & under move
Tyus bumps off Jorgenson and hits a cutting Matt Jones for the layup.
Matt Jones cancels out his good play by gambling for the steal and leaving Georges-Hunt open for 3. Splash
Another great find by Tyus to Jefferson. Amile uses incredible footwork to score.
Duke surrounded Cox down low and got the steal. Tyus finds Amile in transition with a great pass for the score.
Jackson misses a shot after getting the Angle on Jefferson after a Amile/Matt Jones screen. Duke lucky he missed.
Tyus, on the 3rd straight possession, whips a pass ahead, this time to Jah on the fast break, who gets fouled shooting.
Amile with incredible footwork on Mitchell to cause a travel.
Not much movement on offense, but Tyus guns a 3. He’s playing at an unbelievably high level.
Tyus follows his man too far out towards the sideline and is bumped off. His man, Heath, sees this and immediately cuts towards basket, and with the momentum & angle, scores at the rim on Jah.
Matt Jones has a clear path directly at the rim for a layup, and for some reason (WHY???) dumps off to Amile, who is blocked out of bounds.
Tyus misjudges his floater and airballs it, but great rotation back on defense.
Good aggressive double team by Plumlee coming over to help Winslow. Mitchell makes a great pass to find a shooter, but it’s missed and GT player goes over the top trying to rebound over Winslow.
Winslow hits a 3 and immediately starts to move back as the shot is released, with Tyus and Matt Jones rotating back as well on D.
It initially looked like Tyus lost his man on the made 3, but watching the entire defensive possession, Winslow’s off in no man’s land. That is either Justise not knowing his responsibilities or losing track. Basically, awareness issues.
Matt Jones scores on the put-back from his own miss, in which the defender flopped leaving him a wide open layup.
Jah comes way out on the switch to guard a 3. Amile switches to box out Jah’s man, who is coming in to rebound, leaving his own man, who runs in on the right baseline to grab the rebound and score. Jah’s gotta stay at home there and hope Tyus can catch up. Too big a rebounding risk to come out.
Tyus, off the inbounds pass, quickly moves the ball ahead to Quinn, who throws it down to Jah, scoring before the defense is set. Good job, especially since it came after a GT score.
Winslow amazingly goes under the screen, stays with his man, strips him, and takes it end to end for the bucket at the rim. I picture NBA scouts drooling. With more space to work with, Winslow bases his game more on instinct and reaction and stops overthinking. The NBA game has much more spacing.
Jorgenson stripped by Cook from behind and takes it to the basket, missing the layup, but Winslow’s there for the put-back. Winslow in transition is a different beast.
Jah’s momentum goes 1 way, but he has plenty of time to reverse course. This shows how slow he is at changing direction, as he still takes too long to get back in position, but Amile saves him with great defense.
Jorgenson makes a stop and pop jump shot from the left elbow over Quinn, with Cook in his face. Keep in mind this is a guy who averages less than 4 pts per game and shoots 30%.
Jah gets robbed by the rim off a great move and shot. Unlucky.
Quinn takes an hour and a half to get back on defense, then points ahead to the man he should be guarding, who now has a wide open 3. Luckily, it’s missed, but GT gets offensive rebound and Jorgenson SOMEHOW splits both Tyus and Amile, hitting the bank shot floater….What???
Tyus misses the 3, but Duke rotates back well. Tyus with HORRIBLE defense, though, letting Jorgenson, who obviously must be John Stockton in disguise, go right by him and is fouled by Amile.
Tyus gets beat again off the dribble, this time by Heath. He talks to Plumlee after, and I hope it’s not to place blame. Tyus has to move his feet better.
Winslow great kick out from the double team to Matt Jones for 3, but Jones misses from the right baseline. Duke in good position to rotate back on D.
Jah blocks Cox before he can elevate. At this point, that’s how most of Jah’s blocks come. Once a shooter leaves their feet, he doesn’t get blocks.
Jah plays too finesse and misses. Just take it to the rim, big boy! Arrow keeps it with Duke on rebound scrum.
Winslow does it himself, taking Sampson off the dribble and scores at the rim and-1.
Matt Jones does an amazing job of going under the screen and catching up, but Cox again bumps off Jah and gets down low. He’s getting deeper position than Jah.
Jah again fades away. He can’t go left, and GT knows this. Winslow gets the rebounds and kicks it to Matt Jones who is blocked on a drive to the rim where he fades away. He fouled off the in-bounds pass and shoots 2.
GT commits a turnover and Duke seems ready to take it to another level.
Tyus leaves his feet on the pass, and GT tips and converts it into a transition bucket.
Tyus turns it over again, and GT converts to transition as the half expires. Sloppy, dumb plays by Tyus.
Cox gets great position on Jah again, but misses easy shot.
Jah travels far away from the basket on left baseline.
Cox again with great position on Jah, but Jah blocks him as he goes up for the shot.
Tyus and Amile switch, but Winslow plays off his own man and helps unnecessarily. Therefore, a wide open 3 for Bolden. Splash.
Inbounds from Tyus to Winslow is knocked off Winslow for a turnover.
Quinn takes a big risk from behind for the steal and misses, but Amile knows it back to him, leading to the eventual transition basket to Jah.
Jah goes out too high on Cox, eventually leading to clear path to the basket on the pick and roll. Luckily, Cox blows it.
Tyus passes it ahead to Cook on the left baseline for 3. Cook misses, stands and watches, and Winslow doesn’t rotate back. Transition bucket for GT.
Quinn drives and dishes to Tyus out on the right wing for 3. Splash. Good play.
Jah unnecessarily wanders off to Tyus’ man and leaves Cox on the pick and roll. Stay home, Jah!!
Quinn gets the angle off a good Amile screen and drives all the way to the hoop. GT didn’t rotate at all.
Jah lets Cox shoot a free throw line jumper and it’s missed. Shocking! (sarcasm)
Cox looks like he blocks Okafor clean, but called a foul. Bad call.
Tyus’ momentum takes him one way and Heath goes another. Heath blows the layup and Tyus gets lucky.
Tyus passes up an open 3 for a floater that he misses. Frustrating, but I can understand the decision.
Cox is dominating Okafor at this point. Deep position and goes right into Jah’s body for the bucket and-1.
Tyus pushes ahead to Quinn for the 3 on the left baseline. I love when Tyus pushes.
Quinn gets destroyed off the dribble. When he starts with a bad angle, there’s no making up ground. Winslow tries to cover for him, but is called for the foul on the shot.
Duke runs a play to get Cook a 3, but it’s missed. GT still doesn’t seem to want to run.
Winslow rebounds a miss ahead to Cook in transition, who takes it in for the reverse layup. Again, Duke seems ready to take control.
Somehow Georges-Hunt splits the Winslow/Plumlee double team. Winslow gets all ball but is called for the foul. Bad call.
Matt Jones misses a 3, and Tyus and Quinn rotate back well.
Duke allows a bad shooter, Jackson to shoot and airball a jumper from the left elbow, creating a transition opportunity for Tyus, who takes it down and gets fouled.
Plumlee decided to go all the way out to guard Jorgenson’s 3 pt shot, but Jorgenson fakes Plumlee out of his short and drives in for the mid-range. Plumlee’s out of position and his man tips in the rebound.
Winslow creates on his own and drives in for the shooting foul.
Off a loose ball, a pass is rifled to Jackson for 3. Good shot, but unlucky that things developed that way for Duke, as they were trying to get the ball on the ground.
Winslow takes it down and is stripped trying to force the action.
Jorgenson takes it in transition and hits from the left elbow. He then slaps the floor twice which most certainly will endear him to Duke fans, haha.
Winslow creates an easy opportunity for Plums, who blows the 1 footer. America still loves you, Private Plumlee.
Jorgenson now blows by Cook all the way down the court (who is this guy???) but throws up a prayer and misses, leading to Duke transition.
Tyus telegraphs his pass to Cook on the right baseline for 3 and it’s stolen.
GT pushes the ball in transition and Jackson misses an open 3.
Tyus hits Matt Jones cutting on the baseline to the basket for a foul. Matt Jones is by far the best mover off the ball on the team. Not even close. Jah then makes a power move to the center of the court for a bucket.
Good defensive possession by Duke.
Jah starts far away, Cox prevents him from going left, and Jah is bailed out by the foul. I don’t like the passiveness.
Jah makes the same move, misses, but gets own rebound and is fouled. Makes 1 of 2.
Winslow with a great block at the basket. So athletic. Tyus then takes a tiny push and tries to win an Oscar with a cartoonish flop. Georges-Hunt then travels. Weird possession.
After a Tyus miss where falls out of the picture, GT takes it down in transition for the 3-pointer.
Matt Jones takes it to the center, telegraphs his pass to Winslow, and GT takes it down in transition, where Georges-Hunt blows the layup. Duke gets lucky.
Quinn puts his head down, drives to the basket and scores. Impressive, impressive play.
Georges-Hunt blows by Winslow, but Okafor gives good backup, blocking Georges-Hunt. Winslow takes it in transition and passes ahead to Cook for an and-1.
Amile fouls Sampson off Quinn’s free throw miss. Sampson misses the 1 and 1, but remains GT’s ball.
Winslow anticipates the pass, picks it off, and goes coast to coast for the dunk. Great play
Duke plays zone, and ball is passed around to Bolden, who hits a 3 from the top with 1 second left in the shot clock.
Winslow taking over the game, driving in for the foul.
Cox takes a shot from the free throw line and misses with 5 seconds to go in the shot clock.. I’m okay with him taking this shot.
Defender is overpowered by Jah going right and, like Vitale says, scoops the shot in. When he’s determined, he’s unstoppable even if the defender knows where he’s going.
Winslow looks like he gets a clean block on Georges-Hunt, but is called for the foul.
Jah misses, but Winslow gets another offensive rebound and kicks it to Tyus, who swings it to Cook. Cook carves into the defense with a tremendous runner.
Jah fouls Cox on the floor, but Duke’s over the limit
Cook takes a step back 3 off the dribble and misses.
Georges-Hunt misses his own step back 3 off the dribble.
Tyus misses a runner without hitting rim, and eventually Quinn chucks up a 3 that hits the backboard as the shot clock expires. Not really anything going on during that possession.
Bolden crosses up Cook and gets into the lane for a runner. Great play.
Jah misses a baseline jumper and GT gets the rebound, but Matt Jones makes an insane steal off a Georges-Hunt pass. GT fouls Cook, who makes both.
Winslow gets a steal and takes it coast to coast for the foul. Makes 1 of 2.
Jackson makes a quick 3 for GT.
Cook fouled and makes both.