Game 27: Michigan at Illinois Recap

Dylan Burkhardt

This one hurts and not just because of the agonizing nature of final seconds. It was painful because Michigan had a chance to win despite playing an excruciatingly poor offensive game and just couldn’t find the big play necessary to steal a win. In a way, Stu Douglass’ desperation heave was a microcosm of Michigan’s season: so close but just not quite enough.

I’m not going to focus much on the final play. Michigan tried to get Hardaway in an isolation situation and, as the Illinois defense overplayed him, he found Smotrycz for about as clean of a look as you could ask for. The argument as to whether Smotrycz should drive or shoot could go on for ages but I don’t think he could have got to the basket very easily. He’s more comfortable shooting the three and the percentages are close, 38% on threes and 43% on twos. The biggest problem was that Smotrycz seemed to rush a bit and never really got set after the pump fake.

Ultimately, this game wasn’t just about that possession. In a road game against a good team you can’t afford to throw away possessions down the stretch. Far too many times, Michigan was caught trying to do too much (bad shots) or not doing enough (standing around). Michigan failed to score on three consecutive possessions inside of four minutes while trailing by just three points. Those are the possessions you have to win to steal road games. Michigan made those plays in East Lansing but opportunity after opportunity went for nothing in Champaign.

Lost in the offensive struggles is the fact that this was Michigan’s best defensive game in Big Ten play. Michigan held Illinois to .90 points per possession and more impressively just .73 per trip in the second half. Michigan was abused by the high-low in the first half but made the right adjustments to negate Illinois’ size advantage in the second half. Illinois posted an eFG% of 48% – 56% on twos & 22% on threes – and only attempted 9 free throws on the game. Most importantly, Michigan did a great job on the defensive glass, grabbing 76% of Illinois’ missed shots. Illinois missed some open looks but Michigan’s second half defense was as good as we’ve seen.

Michigan’s offense just couldn’t get the job done. It wasn’t that Michigan was chucking threes, the Wolverines attempted just 18 threes to 41 twos, it was that Michigan just couldn’t make any of them. The Wolverines shot 49% on twos and 11% on threes for an effective field goal percentage of 39% for the game. Turnovers kept Michigan in the game as the Wolverines turned the ball over just four times all night. Perhaps the most disappointing stat was that despite the Illini committing their seventh team foul with 12:53 to play in the second half, Michigan attempted just three free throws from that point on.

The margin of error for Michigan’s NCAA tournament push has been reduced to almost nothing. With four games remaining on the schedule, Michigan needs at least three wins and one of them probably has to be over a Wisconsin team that John Beilein has never beat. Next up is a road game at Iowa – a game where Michigan won’t gain much from a win but can’t afford a loss.


Player Bullets:

  • Darius Morris: Morris finished with 11 points on 4 of 12 shooting with seven assists, six rebounds and one turnover in 33 minutes. Darius struggled finishing around the basket (33%) but this is probably one of the toughest match-ups in that regard. Much was made of Morris sitting on the bench for seven or so minutes in the second half but U-M had been playing good basketball during that stretch and had trimmed the lead to one. He probably sat a bit too long though as Illinois had stretched the lead back out to four points before he reentered.
  • Jordan Morgan: Clearly bothered by Illinois’ length in the first half (2-6 fg), Morgan responded with a strong 8 point second half on perfect 4 of 4 shooting to finish with 12 points and 7 rebounds. Morgan was very solid overall and seemed to improve on the defensive end as the game wore on. Similar to the Ohio State game, Morgan seemed a little rattled, but it was great to see him respond in both games with a strong second half performance – probably the lone bright spot individually.
  • Stu Douglass: Douglass just couldn’t find the bottom of the basket: 2 of 11 (1-8 3pt) for 5 points and four rebounds. I actually didn’t think that Douglass took too many bad shots but one stands out specifically: With Michigan down three and three to play, Douglass fired up a long pull-up jumper with about 20 seconds on the shot clock. It just wasn’t the shot Michigan needed and was a waste of a possession. Douglass, generally one of Michigan’s best off the ball defenders, also got caught on a screen for McCamey’s biggest three point shot of the game. Stu has had some great games this year but he’s also had some painful ones, this is one that he’ll want back.
  • Tim Hardaway Jr.: Hardaway was phenomenal until the first media timeout, scoring 7 of Michigan’s first 11 points, but then he was held to just three points in the next 36 minutes of game clock.  Illinois focused on taking Hardaway out of the game and to his credit he handed out five assists after his scoring decreased.
  • Zack Novak: 7 points and 8 rebounds for Zack but he couldn’t buy a three (0-3). The one shot he’ll want back was his missed (open) three with 7:56 to play that would have given Michigan the lead. McCamey would go on to hit a three of his own to extend the Illinois lead to four points just two possessions later.
  • Evan Smotrycz: Five points on 2 of 9 (1-5 3pt) shooting with two rebounds in 17 minutes. Evan struggled all day and it wasn’t just the buzzer beating miss. Evan consistently tried to drive by his man after using the pump fake but could never finish around the rim. If Smotrycz could develop a little pull-up jumper, it would prevent him from having to try to finish over and around shot blockers at the basket.
  • Matt Vogrich:12 minutes with two points, a rebound, and an assist. Vogrich never found an open three point attempt but did have a nice finish in transition.
  • Joel

    :( This will be the one that cost us the tournament.

    • ScottGoBlue

      Doubtful THIS game will cost us the tourney all by itself. Sure, it was nearly a win. But with four games left, we still have our opportunity in front of us. If we play this well each of the next four games, we can beat each of the opponents: @Iowa, WISC, @Minn, MSU. Will we? Let’s see …

      • lavell99

        Agreed Scott. While this was definitely a missed opportunity to put us in incredible shape, we’ll have more chances. Analysts and voters have extremely short memories in college bball. To me, last night was only further validation that we have a solid coach. I thought our youth was a big factor in just not closing that game out. Beilein massively out-coached Weber and despite shooting dismally from three, we were still in a great position to tie or win that game. We just plain lack that 2nd or 3rd go-to option right now at the end of a game when we need a bucket and Morris is covered. Could Hardaway or Smotz or Morgan develop into that? Possibly. But they’re not there yet. And having Brundidge and Burke as options next year certainly won’t hurt either.

      • Joel

        Well not by itself, but I think it was a pivotal game and a must-win, especially when you’re that close. I just feel like we’re going to come up a game short and that will be the one people will look at.

  • Brian W

    U-M’s young roster has come a long way since its trip overseas and the start of the Big Ten season. They’ve played with much more confidence on the road, playing well at MSU and coming from behind at Penn State. While the game at Assembly Hall was disappointing, it should give them confidence going into the road game at Iowa. No reason to hang their heads since they still have games left and a chance at the NCAA tournament or even the NIT.

    V.J. Beachem is another 2013 kid who’s been offered by Purdue and is getting interest from Michigan…

  • Mith

    I love this team so much. I love how they battle and how they’ve surpassed most people’s expectations this year. It’s been an exciting year and like Dylan said, the “so close” has really been the theme of the year.

  • lordfoul

    Watching Michigan play that horribly on offense and still have a chance was painful but was also another indicator of a bright future for this team. The NIT is beckoning, and may be better in the long run for this squad. It would provide a familiarity with lose and go home atmosphere but with much more beatable opponents and a higher likelihood of a deep tourney run.

    That game had me jumping up and down swearing though. Next year is going to be sweet.

  • Mdjohnny5

    Can’t complain much when a team shoots as badly as UM did and was still right there with a chance to win a road game. My only disappointment was also that they didn’t have Morris and Hardaway just attack the rim after Illinois got in foul trouble. It’s what every team does to us when we get in early foul trouble, but I also understand they had some athletic shot blockers and our guys looked scared of that at times.

    • JimC

      Yes I would like to really know why Morris sat for so long? Was it the shot-blockers?
      (After Stu came out bleeding late in the game it looked like Beilein might pull some “Hoosiers” coaching move and not put Darius in at guard, because he wasn’t following the coaches lead)

      • BK

        I don’t think it was disciplinary. The team was playing really well without him. Like Dylan said, that’s when we cut the lead to 1. Why mess with your lineup when it’s working?

  • JimC

    Actually I thought this game was a little encouraging: a month ago, after say the IU game, if they had played at IL I would have expect a 15+ point loss. It shows me that the vast improvement since the MSU game is real, and is a pretty good sign for the IA game.

    But oh if Stu had just had a little more on that left-handed 3!

  • Mattski

    If Smotrycz had gone for the layup five Illinois players would have got to the rim first and the ball would have ended up in a cornfield. A pullup j would have been the ticket.

    We’re kind of to the point where we see what part of their game everybody needs to work on between seasons. For me Morgan was the highlight last night; having a bit of an inside game has been perhaps the biggest difference-maker this season. Without him I don’t think this team is threatening down the stretch in some of these heartbreakers. I’m with MDJohnny who wonders why Morris didn’t attack the rim a little more toward the end. But there were really four or five bad sequences in a row on O, and all of them were bad news.

  • GoBlue1980

    It just ticks me off that I get my hopes up that we can make the tournament after coming into the season thinking they wouldn’t even get out of the cellar of the B10. I hate getting my hopes up only to have them get shot down. Ahhh such is life as a sports fan. Here is to hoping we win 3 of our last 4, but I just don’t think it happens. I think last nights game was the killer that will end our tournament hopes. Another season goes by without a NCAA tourney bid, March is really starting to piss me off.

    • Champswest

      Well, many said before the game that the Illinois game would be the hardest for UM to win out of their last 5. So, we have that going for us.

  • DoubES

    My problem with Stu’s game today was not the poor shooting (most were good looks) or his off ball defense (as I saw some heady plays he made), but with some careless dribbling in the lane. I was surprised to see he had zero TOs, because there were at least two times where the ball was stripped after he drove into traffic, one of which fortunately ricocheted over to Morris who found Morgan for an easy deuce. He’s gotta pick his spot when driving against such a long team.

    Speaking of Illinois’s length, while it would have been nice to try to attack the basket after they got in foul trouble in the 2nd half, they’re not an easy team to do that against. And despite us getting into the bonus relatively quickly, I got the impression that overall, the refs were letting a fair amount of contact go, which also isn’t optimal for attacking the basket.

    I also agree with your observation about Smot’s around the rim finishing. He does well to pump fake his defender and drive by him, especially when he’s being guarded by someone like Tisdale, but he just lacks any punch around the rim. Besides maybe using a jumper like you say, I’d hope he could get better at being stronger when he finishes, and maybe use contact to clear away the help defender. That may come with an offseason or two of strength training.

  • Greyblue

    This team is growing. Now they can compete away from Crisler. Earlier in the year I never thought they would have a chance to compete when the long ball was is in the freezer.

    They need someone to spell Morgan, and next year they will have it. When Horford gets some muscles on his muscles, he’s going to contribute, get real good, effectively spell Morgan.

    Beginning to think these guys may do some damage in Big Ten Tournament, but very wary of that second game against the Spartans, and the remaining regular season. Do they ever beat Wisconsin? More immediately, Iowa is playing better too.

    But it now looks they can compete, so we’ll see. With all their faults they are an exciting team to watch.

  • gpsimms

    there really shouldn’t be anything to be upset about. they played real hard, the offense created a million easy backdoor buckets, and generated a million open looks from three. they played real tough defense.

    yet–We were a bad bounce on a McCamey 3 or a good bounce on any one of our 3s from being ALONE in 4th place with a game coming up against Iowa. That’s tough to swallow.

    • MarcO

      I couldn’t agree more. I knew it was a long-shot to win that game but it didn’t hurt any less when those last 2 3’s both clanged out.

  • matt d

    The issue that cause the most pain for me wasn’t the lack of execution during the final 3-4 minutes, or even the horrible shooting from deep. For me it was the poor coaching on the defensive side of the ball during the 1st half. As soon as Tisdale entered the game, Illinois gave him an entry pass right over the top of Morgan as he was fronting him. This proceeded to happen on at least 4 occasions during the remainder of the 1st half. I just don’t understand why Coach B waited until halftime to make the adjustment, it was so frustrating. There is a very simple rule in basketball, if your bigs are going to front the post, you MUST have pressure on the passer. Quite frankly, we simply don’t have the quickness on the perimeter to do that on a consistent basis, so Coach B should realize that. Very frustrating to see that

    • MikeM

      Even Tim Doyle managed to call Novak out on this at one point… not being close enough to the passer to prevent the lob.

  • Azad

    That was a frustrating game on many levels. I can’t wait to see the evolution of Hardaway later in his career when he goes and demands the ball and gets it. Too many possessions he was not getting touches where we really needed him to touch the ball, because whenever he did, good things happened.

    I think Smotrycz has the potential to be good but right now he’s really frustrating to watch. If he can come up with an in between game it’ll look a lot smoother but for now he just looks a step slow on everything he tries to do. Time and development will hopefully make it look better, but I don’t really see how he helps us on the court right now the way he’s playing.

    • Champswest

      I feel your pain, but we are starting (usually) 3 first year players. No one else is doing that. We expect that they will have all of the knowledge and tools to compete at this level. Remember, these guys were playing high school ball last year at this time.
      This team competes hard and plays together. They are fun to watch. We are heading in the right direction.

  • billiam

    Two thoughts:

    More reason to look forward to next year. That’s what this was. We didn’t expect the team to even be in the mention on the bubble, so I can live with this close loss. The impressive part that everyone is over looking is the fact that OUR YOUNG TEAM JUST HAD A CLOSE LOSS to IU. Davis, McCamey, Tisdale all leave next year for them; we lose no one. Look at the close losses to KU, Syracuse, and OSU, and tell me that next year’s team doesn’t play them better. This team is on the up. While last year gives us caution, you can’t help but expect the NCAA next year for this team. We’re a lower-middle B1G team that loses no one next year while all the other middle-of-the-pack teams lose multiple starters. We’re in pretty good shape for a run next year.

    2.) an examination on whether the NIT is actually preferable.
    Assuming that we do get in to the NCAA, we’d most likely lose first round, and get little exposure. So, the exposure argument isn’t really there; in fact, I’d argue we’d get more exposure in the NIT if we made it to the semis, which we have a chance to do.
    Also, there were no expectations for this year, so failing to make the NCAA isn’t failing expectations.
    Finally, isn’t it better to get the extra practice of playing 2/3 decent teams in the NIT than losing to a #1/2 seed in the NCAA? Really, I think it’s preferable to win the NIT than to lose to a #1 seed in the first round of the NCAA. (I still hope we win out, but just sayin’)

    • Mith

      I get your point, but we wouldn’t play a #1 or #2 in the NCAA until the 2nd round(a major conference team will never be seeded #15 or #16). What seems most likely IF we eek into the field is that we play a play-in game against another bubble team and then emerge as a #12 against a #5. Next up after that is a #4 or #13. So, the possibility would be there to win a couple of NCAA games.

    • gpsimms

      once/if we fall short of the tourney, i will agree with you, because i am obligated to take the most positive viewpoint of mbball at all time.

      but until then, i am going to go ahead and fantasize about turning one of our bjillion near missed from the year into a cinderella shocker 2nd round win against a pitt, or whatever.

    • lavell99

      100% agree on #1. 100% disagree on #2. NCAA Tourney is ALWAYS better than the NIT. We’ve already proven we can play with ANYONE in the nation. IF we were to get in the big dance, would making the Sweet Sixteen be terribly shocking to any of us? Simply making the big dance helps the team psyche, recruiting, and the program image. And if we could actually have a little success, it brings infinite exposure to the program. The NIT does little to nothing for exposure. And no, I do not think we need extra practice at this point.

      • Dylan Burkhardt

        Making the NCAA is always better, I agree. But I definitely think that this team could gain something playing in the NIT. They are getting better every game and more games against good to above average teams would be nothing but a perk.

  • steve

    I do remember Pomeroy had us at 16% for a chance at a victory… We haven’t won there since 1995 so I don’t think we expected a victory. Is it still frustrating? Yes because we didn’t play all that well and still could have won. But this game is not going to be the one that cost us the NCAA tourney… We can still win 3 more games and a BTT game (we need to beat Wiscy, MSU, Iowa) and win one game in the BTT. So this game was frustrating but didn’t end our hopes just yet…

  • AG2

    Guys, forget about the tournament, just take the season one game at a time. This isn’t the game that would keep us out, blowout losses @ Indiana and Northwestern are the games that would have kept us out. But making the tournament was never a reasonable expectation this year and the fact that we’re even on the bubble is an accomplishment. Last summer, the talk radio station in East Lansing kept saying they didn’t see how Michigan could win a single Big Ten game with the void of talent on our roster. This team has accomplished so much already that it would be unfair to characterize their season as a disappointment. Just 3 weeks ago Michigan was probably not going to be NIT-eligible.

    That being said, how good of a look could Smotrycz’ final shot have been if he had to pump fake to get it off?

  • tyler

    I still don’t know what people were watching on that last shot. Smotrycz had a clear lane to the rim. He already beat his man, and the only other defender on his side of the court was davis. At worst he gets fouled. And it’s not like his jumpshot was even close. In fact, it never had a shot. At this point in his career its clear smotrycz isn’t ready to take that shot. Could this change, certainly. But for now it should be morris or hardaway taking that shot. In that case without a TO I can understand why he was one who did take the shot though.Smotrycz is also a liability on defense right now. I don’t want to kill the kid, because he is just a freshman, but right now he is hurting us.

    I don’t see us winning 3 out of the last 4 , but you play good basketball and anything’s possible. Just take care of business Sat. and go from there.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      He missed the shot but I would say he’s more ready to shoot a three than try to drive and finish around the help D. I just can’t see him being successful driving to the hole lefty with the clock running down and finishing over the help defense.

      • tyler

        I dont know Dylan, he beat his man pretty badly with that pump fake. Help was pretty far away. Like you said, this debate can go on forever. I can buy that he is more comfortable shooting the trey though. It just looked like the moment was too big for him.

        Something that bothers me is earlier in the game, he beat tidsale badly (as he should), and could have easily gotten to the basket, but kicked it out. With the game on the line I can understand the jumpshot, but in the middle of the 1st half I didn’t understand the kick out. Just seems to be playing a little scared to me.

        • Dylan Burkhardt

          My biggest problem is that when he pumpfakes he sidesteps. That momentum carries his shot in the same direction. I would much rather see a pump fake and hard dribble forward to shoot a bit closer shot, even if it’s a two. Although in this situation, I think going for the win wasn’t the worst idea. I just think this is a shot that Evan shoots too often and rarely hits.

          • tyler

            Yea the problem is I can see him doing the same thing throughout the entire game. In other ways, I don’t believe that “going for the win” was going through mind. You know, what I mean? I think he just happened to sidestep because thats how he plays, not because he wanted to win the game right there.

          • Champswest

            He may have looked open after the fake, but if you have observed his foot speed this season, you would have to conclude that by the time he got from the 3-point line to the basket, he would have had a lot of company. Not to mention the fact that he is not the best finisher around the hoop. He rarely dunks and more often tries to lay it in off of the glass and is susceptible to getting it blocked.

    • ChathaM

      I disagree re: Smotrycz’ potential game-winner. That was a perfect shot fake, and perfect footwork leading into the shot. Unfortunately, for a RH shooter, dribbling left then shooting is one of the more difficult fundamental moves to make. The tendency is to drift left, and the shot will miss left, which is exactly what happened. But…I have no doubt that the guys practice this move all the time, which is why Smot looked so pissed at the final buzzer. I’ll bet he makes that shot 8 out of 10 times in practice, and it was a great shot to take in that situation.

      • Beilein’s Bricks

        It was the right shot to take. Considering his lack of quickness/speed, no way he gets to the rim, and some poor fan could’ve gotten killed by the speed with which the ball would’ve flown into the stands after being blocked. Right now, he’s nothing more than a spot-up 3-point shooter, and I’m ok with going for the win as at least he had 50% of our 3-pointers for the night. I wonder if we could’ve snuck Vogrich in there instead, as he’s pretty good at those corner 3’s. However, the Illini probably would’ve played a different defensive set-up and he probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance.

        • MikeM

          Yeah, I think Evan’s split-second decision was the right one… Go for the win on the road, while shooting a wide-open shot that’s in his comfort zone.

          • Champswest

            Agreed. Besides, he was the one who ended up with the ball at the time to shoot. If he doesn’t take the shot there is no guarantee that we would have had any better one.

      • Troy

        Disagree most RH shooters love to dribble drive left and pull up off the bounce. This is due to your right arm being closer to the rim. If u notice most RH shooters take the ball to the rack when they dribble drive with the right , i.e. Darius Morris. Metrics problem was that he never got set and rushed the three.

      • ouchudied

        Wrong. Jumpshooters would much rather shoot after dribbling to their left. Its a much more fluid motion… I thought that this was common knowledge.

        • ChathaM

          It’s a far more natural movement to shoot off a dribble to your strong side than to your weak side. Try it next time you’re at the gym. You’ll find that it’s a lot simpler, smoother motion to your strong side.

          • ChathaM

            …or ask a coach whose knowledge you respect.

          • Tweeter

            Gotta agree with those above Chatha. It is a lot easier to avoid drifting on your shot if you are RH when you dribble to the left. That is because the natural motion of moving the ball back to your right hand off the left dribble forces your body to shift back to the right and hence stop the continued motion left. If you go right, the natural thing to do is continue to drift on your shot since the movement into your shooting pockey continues to your right side.

  • MikeSal

    As bad as we played last night to have a shot at the end is all you can ask for. We played better in the second half but the high low really killed us last night. I’m surprised Weber didn’t stick with it more. Once Morgan went out it was like they stayed away from it.

    A situation like what happened tonight is frustrating now, but it will do wonders a year from now. Having a situation like this to draw on in practice or during film sessions will only make us better. JB has said all year that there are teaching moments in every game and a perfect one to help get the point across that Evan needs to work on his left hand/driving/pull up jumper. We are only gonna grow and learn from something like this. Let’s take the positives out, learn from the negatives, and keep working. Postseason is important whether it be NCAA or NIT. We just need extra games and practices right now. I like what I see and the effort is certainty there. We just need to keep working and games like this will go in our favor next time.

  • AC1997

    I’m proud of this team because I frankly excpected them to lose by 10-12 points last night. No one wins @ Illinois under Bruce Webber.

    At the same time though, when I saw the conference standings late in the game and realized we could be in FOURTH PLACE with a game @Iowa coming up (no gimmie, but a must have) I was getting my hopes up. To see them claw back into the game but flounder late was a gut punch.

    This team will miss the NCAA tournament because they lost so many close “resume” games (Syracuse, Kansas, OSU both times, @ illinois, Minnesota). That’s six games that if they go just 2-4 they are probably in the dance. I’ll chalk it up to youth and figure they can close out a couple of those next year and find themselves dancing.

    Finally, next year I think depends almost entirely on how much Smot improves. Morris, Hardaway, and Morgan will be fine and probably incrementally improve. Novak and Douglas are what they are at this point. Horford, Burke, and Brundige add depth but probably won’t play much. The weak link in this rotation right now is Smot – his defense, his ability to make a basket inside the 3pt arc, his rebounding, and his ability to play PF to allow Novak to play at guard. If Smot improves, this team could be really, really good……I hope that’s possible.

    • MikeM

      This is why I think Beilein is still recruiting Nance… Could be a solid hedge on minutes at the 4.

    • Jeff

      Agree with your comments about Smotrycz. I was actually saying earlier in the year that Smotrycz would be the player that makes or breaks Beilein at Michigan. Now it looks like they’ll be good next year regardless, but big improvement by Smotrycz could make us really dangerous.

  • Adam Sobczak

    Very frustrating game to watch for UM fans everywhere. The two things that come to mind for me during these games are 1) shooting percentages and 2)defense.
    Michigan has struggled mightily from range when they play great teams like Kansas, Ohio State, and Illinois. They seem to not play as loose on the offensive end and seem to overthink whether or not to shoot when they are open. When they start missing, they start thinking more and people become tentative. One example was the posession when they were down three with under 50 seconds to play and Belein had to take a timeout because nobody was assertive on the offensive end. Guys were looking for somebody else to create something instead of moving the ball and trying to make a play.
    I gotta give UM’s defense a lot of credit. They played hard on that end and their rebounding was better than i’ve seen on the defensive end in a long time against a bigger and more athletic team.

  • Giddings

    Anyone know what’s up with the Warren Nolan RPI site? It’s been down for a long time… unfortunate because it seems to be the most up-to-date RPI site out there.

    • Dylan Burkhardt

      Was wondering the same thing! I love that site and the server seems to be down. I haven’t been able to find anything.

  • sven

    The game was ours for the taking. Illinois played like crap again and tried to give us the game time after time but we just couldn’t make a freaking shot. Nobody to blame but ourselves for this one.

    I was 9 rows up right behind the spot where Evan took the last shot.

  • JimC

    Here’s a question: Why is Colton playing more minutes that Horford, if at all?
    Granted it’s just a few minutes, but it seems Horford has a lot more potential.

    • Kenny

      I guess that Colton might be a better parameter defender but he looked lost on defense in the few minutes he played. Horford plays 5 but now they like to play Smot at 5 with the small line-up.

      • sven

        The perimeter defense excuse seems thin to me. Jon would have to be pretty inept to not be able to guard other teams 4’s on the perimeter. He also can’t be any worse on offense than Colton who scares the crap out of me every time he touches the ball. He can’t dribble. He can’t shoot. Every pass the throws comes dangerously close to getting picked off.

        • Dylan Burkhardt

          Christian has learned the four all year. Horford has learned the five all year. Both have had breakdowns defensively in terms of positioning etc. and I don’t think it’s that crazy to think they don’t know how to play more than one position. I don’t think the three minutes that Christian played were really mission-critical either way.

    • Brian W

      For what it’s worth, Matt Shepard mentioned during the broadcast that Christian had an excellent week of practice when Colton checked into the game.

  • billiam

    “We’re lying when say Jordan Morgan is 6-8” -Coach B.

    Damn, height is more of an issue than I thought. Is Smot the tallest player in the rotation now?

    • Jeff

      Nearly all basketball heights are exaggerated. I’m sure it’s not just Morgan’s whose is exaggerated.