(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Dallas Mavericks
(2) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (7) Memphis Grizzlies
(3) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (6) Golden State Warriors
(4) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Portland Trail Blazers
(1) Indiana Pacers vs. (8) Atlanta Hawks
(2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Charlotte Bobcats
(3) Toronto Raptors vs. (6) Brooklyn Nets
(4) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) Washington Wizards
Early game on Friday against a Pace team that held us to only 37 points in our last league meeting, but a nearly full bench missing only P Brandes meant a good opportunity to stretch the current winning streak to 2. Badgers in fact have only lost once in the league since January and are looking for a strong run in as the business end of the season approaches.
Pace utterly denied the post moves and drives, as they had so effectively in previous meetings, with Honeybadgers winning on both occasions but only scoring 37 and 44 in league and cup respectively. While never a threat to Fraz and G on the boards – the badgers bigs looking imperious in this respect – the Pace defence were clever in making sure that offensive boards were stifled and recycling was a low percentage affair, negating our advantage from the glass. Basketball is the truth though, and a team that denies hard in one area leaves a directly proportionate opportunity somewhere else as their focus is being spent. The question then is whether the opponent has the tactical sense to see this, the technical ability to execute the opportunity and the nerve to make it count.
Previously, as illustrated by the scorelines, the badgers have bludgeoned wins by sticking to their favoured approaches and allowing their quality to carry them over the line. This occasion, refreshingly, saw a more mature approach with some of our more regular all – action high scorers (Mike, Fraz, Scott, Dom for example) recognising that the way to a good performance required some sacrifice and teamwork, and they duly worked just as hard to give our spot up shooters the opportunity to get down to business.
Recognising that the way around this Pace defence was to shoot over it, the badgers speed merchants darted dived and distributed, spreading the floor and trusting the likes of J and Doug to go to work. While the pace collapsed on our swashbuckling guards and defence draining bigs, great movement and awareness led to some crispy passing and some beautiful looks that were gratifyingly put to good use by our mid / long range shooters. It’s important to recognise thought that our shooters were only allowed these looks because of the threat posed by the rest of the team inside. It doesn’t show on the teamsheet, but from seeing it first hand the majority of scorers will have had a teammate to thank for most of their buckets.
In the first quarter, the badgers laid out a trademark defence, limiting the opposition to 8 which is pretty much par for this hard working team. Difference was on the other end however, where the pace’s D was not set up to cope with the shooting touch of Doug and J who combined for 17 points in the first quarter – a devastating single handed 11 point quarter from J as the pace failed to find answers to Luque Sanchez’ Spanish inquisituion.
The Pace rallied from here, realising that clogging the paint wasn’t going to be enough to stop the Leithers, but as they tightened up on J and the Doc, they left gaps elsewhere, and there are no weak links in the Badgers team thesedays, as they found out with points raining in over the next 2 quarters from G-man, Scott, Dom, Holden, Mike and Fraz.
Key to the Badgers strong showing was tough D with good man switches, continually improving communication and fast hard D with Andy running the bench as well as the floor to keep legs fresh. Farooq switched in repeatedly, and everyone on the team is delighted to have him come on and lay down his hustle and newfound composure in those vital little 2 minute segments.
The remaining 3 quarters were 11-11, 7-9 and 12-12 showing just how tight this game could have been if we didn’t have so many options to call on. On this occasion the final score was 54 – 38 Honeybadgers, but more importantly a lesson to all- us included – that a team that has more than one dimension and the sense to use them is hard to stop.
Next up Lions, and almost the exact opposite kind of opponent. Do the honeybadgers have the weapons and the mentality to bring the series back to 1:1? Guess we’ll find out on Friday J
Stay tuned true believers…!
Doug – 19
Jonatan – 11
Fraz – 6
Mike, Scott, Mark – 4 (each!)
G, Dom – 3 (each!)
I missed this interview from All-star weekend, really interesting to hear some inside perspective on the Bulls and Lakers teams, as well as what could have been in Orlando..
And a bonus involving red mamba!
I hate to be that guy that just posts everything from one subreddit, but this is also a great article on the Spurs system
Friday night saw the Honeybadgers hit the court coming off the back of a solid second half performance against the league leading Tigers. They knew that if they played with the same kind of intensity that they finished that game with then they could go home happy, whatever the result. Bottom of the table Currie Buccanneers haven’t won a game since Valentines day but the Honeybadgers knew that missing a few players meant that they needed to be on their guard.
Stand-in Captain Dr Doug Gibson opened the scoring with a 3 and a follow up long range effort from Scotty D showed that the starting 5 had taken Coach Holden’s instructions to heart. Move the ball, create the opening and take the open shot. Inside Big G marshalled the boards, keeping the ball alive, making sure the Honeybadgers led at the end of the first quarter. Second quarter was more of the same, strong man to man defence held the Buccanneers to 7 baskets in the first half. Scoring came from the hard driving Dom ‘the’ Jacquel, with a couple of strong finishes inside. The Honeybadgers ended the quarter as they started it, 2 3′s from Big J ended the half – 27-14.
At the beginning of the second half the Buccaneers change things up a bit, pressurising the ball and switching to a man defence. It took the Badgers a couple of possessions to adjust and moving the ball became difficult. The Jacquel and Scotty D took control of the Badgers scoring making sure that the 3rd quarter ended with the score still favouring the Badgers. Scoring in the 4th continued in the same vain, with Scotty D and the Jacquel pushing hard and scoring quickly. The defence stepped up and slowed the Buccaneers down, holding them to just 6 points in the last period of the game. As time ticked down Dr Doug made sure that he book ended the score sheet, ending the night as he began by putting the ball in the bucket.
All in all a good result for the Badgers who know that when they have a full complement of players to call on they are a match for any team in the league but that there is plenty of work to do every Wednesday night in training.
Final score Honeybadgers 46 – 29 Currie buccaneers
Dr Doug – 9
Scotty D – 11
Big G Hulk – 3
Coach Holden – 2
Dom ‘the’ Jacquel – 13
Big J – 6
Honey badgers up to 5th in the league, 8/7 record.
Next game, this Friday early tip off vs Pace. Last played in November. Honey badgers won by 11. Pace currently 8th in the league 6/10 record.
It’s a bit late but too good not to share. This is how to get round restrictions!
KD drops 38 points, surpassing Michael Jordan with his 41st consecutive game of 25 or more. For my money he done more than enough to earn regular season MVP.
Stephen Curry becomes the fastest player in NBA to history to finish with 30+ points & 15+ assists