Basketball: Simple things are always the hardest, part V

This is the first time in my fifteen years of ball, that the urge to play ball is totally quashed.

I feel depressed. And I hate feeling this way about the sport I love.

Maybe I should just stick to playing pickup games.

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Basketball: Simple things are always the hardest, part IV

So.

Last night’s game. It’s good having Hin and Martin back into the lineup; gave us more rebounders. The game plan was simple: clog the paint and secure the defensive rebounds.

And it worked. We were fighting our asses off on the first half, and it showed in the score. The opponents thankfully, had no proficient shooters in their mix, and depended largely on the low post and cutters from the high post. So all we had to do, was to stop the cutters, and double-team the low post plays. And we got our rebounds, which helped tremendously.

The second half was another affair as usual. They got a couple of shots in, we started giving away shooting fouls due to bad defense (read: fatigue) on the top and that was basically it.

Our offense was bad as usual. We tried to run the elbow play, but the interesting thing about the opponents to date – they simply ignore the people without the ball, and focus on pressuring the perimeter. So there wasn’t a real need for double screens, one would have been enough. But there isn’t enough practice on this play so far, we are lacking reaction on variations. Say for example, if the designated elbow shooter is not getting free, then what? Does the pick come off for a shot attempt? Should it be reset and run on the other side? Work in progress.

The other thing to note, is that our offense always begins with an attacker in face up position. No entry passes into the post areas, it’s all face up with 1-on-1 being the key. I ran circles and circles endlessly cutting, in position but never getting the ball. A little frustrating to be honest. And I’m really ticked off by the fact that during timeout, there’s talk about getting less guys standing on the perimeter but when it’s gametime, I see four guys outside of myself standing at the arc.

I had three shot attempts; one open three, a finger roll on a drive and a putback. I mucked up the putback, should have landed back on earth before trying to put it back. On the defensive side, I think I had a couple of tips on rebounding, and maybe two blocks. And I gave away an and-1, pussy foul instead of a hard foul pfft.

Basketball: Simple things are always the hardest, part III

So.

With the new season begun and two games into the fight, I thought I should write a little about how things have been going.

In a word? Abysmal.

Our first game was played against the team we won in the postseason, seemed like a fitting start. But they had us whooped so badly, one of their new guys was asking, “You all lost to these guys in the finals?”

You would have imagined that our team has progressed to better teamwork after the course of a full season, but sadly enough, we are still playing nearly as badly as we did at the beginning of last season. The only positive point I can put on it, would be that we are not committing as many stupid turnovers as we did previously.

On our second game, I suggested using box-one against this team. Judging from past games, I knew this team relied primarily on their star player to execute during offense. If we could stop him, we had a fighting chance.

(Cue the old NBA adage: Defense wins championships.)

So I played my guts out in the first half, playing man on man defense on that #23 fellow. I have never been an outstanding offensive player by any stretch of imagination, but I’m reasonably confident in my defensive skills. Lester took over for periods when I was gassed, and worked his ass off denying the ball to #23. And by the end of the first half, we were leading 10-8. Thanks to their star being shut down, and thanks to everyone for boxing out and grabbing defensive rebounds like their lives depended on it.

And we collapsed in the second half. My fault too, I missed my assignment on a couple of possessions, the star got his way on transition points when I was on the wrong side of the court during offense.

Factors for the loss?

  • Game tempo. We played too fast in the second half, which resulted in hurried shots, fast breaks for them and uncoordinated defense for us. The first half was decent because I always yelling at the guy who brought the ball upcourt, to SLOW DOWN. And we settled down. I forgot about the yelling that in the second – too gassed.
  • Offensive execution. Horrible as always. I tried out two basic plays I practised with a few of the guys a few days before the game; an elbow screen (with the shooter curling around the screener for the shot), and a baseline screen and shot. Briefed everyone on what to expect but come gametime, everyone was lost. All I can say is, more practice. Like Lester said, we should have been practicing more during the off-season.
  • REBOUNDING. We did not box out on rebounds, they got easy offensive boards and we forced shooting fouls, which meant free throws. They were really bad at free throws, but made enough to put us away.

More post-game analysis to come after the coming Monday game.

Summary for now: (lack of practice = no cohesion) + starters with heavy minutes = recipe for disaster.

I need to remind myself that:

  • Offensively: I need to stay calm when facing a defender face-up, to drive with purpose and to learn to kick the ball out when driving. And to post up with confidence.
  • Defensively: Box every motherfcuker out and rebound on defense. And foul before the shot.

Melbourne: The Road to Residency V: Fingerprinted!

So.

If you had read my previous post, I was last seen preparing for my COC application..

Here’s an update on how things went:

Bank draft: much thanks to Bill, who helped with the HSBC bank draft. No rocket science involved here but remember folks, you need:

  • A HSBC account holder
  • Cash – $50 draft + $18 fee x SGD-AUD exchange rate 1.33 = GREAT SAVINGS!
  • Get to the teller before 3pm during Daylight Savings Time.

Fingerprinting: called Victoria Police and managed to get an appointment in early Feb at Wangaratta, which was a good three hours’ drive away from the city. Much thanks to Stan and V for driving up together, we had an unexpectedly fun road trip!

Waited in the station for a bit, and the friendly female constable came around. We headed over into the work rooms, she filled up my details on the fingerprint record sheet, then proceeded to get my hands all inked up. One would think that modern technology allows scanning and printing of the fingerprints, rather than the time-honoured tradition of inking but whatever works I guess.

The remaining ink smudges on my hands were taken care of by these awesome mechanic’s wipes she had; my hands were probably cleaner than they were before the inking. The sergeant on duty signed the sheet after that, and that was it!

According to the constable, a lot of people head over to Wangaratta for fingerprinting (surprisingly), so I would advise that you get an appointment booked early.

Tidied up my documents, made sure everything was ready and sent them off. I had wanted to send it via express, but normal mail costs $3.30 and express cost something to the tune of $40 so nah. I’m in a hurry, but not in that kind of hurry.

And the bomb’s away, all that’s left to do is to cross my fingers and hope it comes back soon.

Update: Mailed the application off on Feb 10, got my CoC back from Singapore on Mar 14 via registered mail. This should give you a benchmark on time frame.

Blurp of the day 070212

Nope, bad idea to play without contacts. Eyes get tired after bout ten minutes, shots start going awry. Bad: being unable to see teammates’ expressions, I don’t know wtf they are feeling heh. Good: can’t see scoreboard, no pressure baby.

Basketball: Refinements in progress.

So.

I thought it’s been a while since I last wrote about ball. Just finished a light session in the morning, it’s been years since I last played without glasses and contacts. The world may be a little blurred but my shots (some of them) are still going in so it’s not too bad. I could actually learn to like this!

Basketball is always a work in progress.

  • I’m learning to finish on a drive with my right hand more consistently. What I’m trying to accomplish is basically my usual move (a left-handed drive on the left wing), crossover and drive into the paint and curl/finish on the right side of the hoop with my right hand. Can’t find a video, so no samples until I actually make one of these in a league game.
  • The rework on my shot release is more or less complete at this point, it takes much less energy to shoot and I’m able to make shots from three point range, something I was never able to do previously. Much thanks for tips from Better Basketball, and of course to Dinesh for the recommendation.
  • Another one of the things I’m trying to do: to face-up on my opponent, and shoot in his face if he allows the space. It’s one way to get his attention! And the next time he jumps for the block, it would make my drive much easier.
  • I’m also trying to incorporate more pump fakes into my movements, so that I can step in for an easy basket. Something like this:

  • Another thing to keep in mind, would be to keep the dribble alive. Pulling up unnecessarily reduces mobility.

Perfection, lies in constant improvement.