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Paulus Struggles Saturday

Date: 2/4/2006

2006 Archive  
Posted By: Matt

Unfortunately, this was one of the worst performances that I can remember from a starting Duke point guard in quite a while. The 7/1 A/TO ratio was very nice; there's absolutely no doubt about that, and I was thrilled that he took the ACC assists lead back from Frasor, who actually went without a scoring dish today, because I don't want to hear about *Frasor*, not Paulus, leading the ACC in assists as a freshman when the season's over.

But here's what's interesting. You know why Frasor didn't have many assists today? Mostly because he was called upon (or took it upon himself; either way) to score: he was the Tools' second-leading scorer with 16 points in 29 minutes. Can you visualize Paulus doing that? I can't. And I don't believe that Clemson's defense is any worse than FSU's; if anything, Clemson's defense might be slightly better, so Frasor had a harder task than Greg did. Let's look at Greg's game in detail.


Greg was 0-6 from the field today, and the misses were all pretty bad. Those six shots were:

[Note that my times might differ from ESPN's PBP by a few seconds in some cases - - I DVRed the six shots and found that ESPN was simply off by about three seconds in most cases, accounting for the discrepancies.]

(1) An absolutely wide-open three at 19:35, 1st half. No one was within 15-20 feet of him, maybe 25 feet, when he took the shot.

(2) Another wide-open three at 16:16, 1st half. This was from almost the same spot as the previous shot, and Greg was just about as ridiculously wide open. Another easy shot that should have been made. The miss was also bad because it rebounded wildly to Galloway and led to a fast-break transition opportunity for FSU, and we got pretty lucky when Paulus was credited with taking a charge from Galloway on what sure looked like it could have been a blocking foul plus a score by Galloway, since Paulus was still moving and was definitely not set. After the shot, Hogewood noted correctly that Paulus is shooting about 20% from three in ACC play (21.4%, in fact, and now 18.8%.)

(3) A missed jumper from the elbow after a nice move to create space from Galloway resulting in a bad clank off the rim, 12:03, 1st.

[note here that there were no statistical shot attempts by Paulus for about 22:30 of clock; he did attempt free throws at about 12:33 and 10:39, 2nd.]

(4) A missed two-point shot on a drive at 9:32, 1st. This came from the left side of the lane - - on about a 10-foot floater or so. This one really was just bad luck and should have gone in. Rebounded easily by FSU since Shelden was out of position and no other Duke player was anywhere near the play.

(5) The absolute killer, the busted easy layup at 11:32, 2nd, after Redick's steal, which would have put Duke up 63-62, energized the crowd, given Duke life because they would have scored on a fast break, etc., but resulted in, effectively, a turnover after Shelden missed dunking the follow and FSU claimed the rebound.

(6) A horrible 18-foot jumper from the extreme right side of the basket with no one in good boarding position for Duke that was nonetheless rebounded by McRoberts, 5:21, 2nd. After McRoberts' board, Thornton fouled him, and McRoberts converted both free throws. This was McRoberts' only rebound of the entire game, and after these two free throws, no one but J.J. and Shelden scored again for Duke, in 10:21 more of game time, but those are two different conversations.

Greg's only scores were three free throws in four attempts, none of them in what I would consider serious clutch time.

That's a pitiful offensive showing for a 34-minute stint. Poor selection on three distance shots, a clanked floater, and two busted layups, one of which was horribly costly and should have been converted with total ease. There was no reason for FSU to expend anything other than token energy guarding Greg, leading to double-teams of J.J. and other complications all day long.


Greg's defense was absolutely abysmal in this game. He was beaten at will by whoever he guarded, and since FSU routinely blew past him, under Duke's overplay scheme (since K refused to zone for a single possession), other people had to rotate over to help, and this certainly contributed to all of the ridiculously easy looks that FSU got at the basket.


I appreciated the seven assists and only one TO; it was the exhausted Redick and the still-limited Nelson (who was good for about 15 minutes of outstanding play today - - he's just not back all the way yet) who committed the vast majority of Duke miscues, 13 of the team's 18. However, Greg's seven assists and one TO don't make up for his horrible shot selection, enabling FSU to ignore Paulus offensively, and the utter matador defense.

It was a terrible game for Greg. He has got to bounce back, or he should not be taking so much time away from other players. Come on, dude. We need you.


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