One key factor when you have a late lead - take the uncontested layups.
I have no problem with SG slowing the offense with a big lead and cramps adding to the attrition from injuries. The strategy was sound and should have resulted in a win. Yes, we missed 7 FTs down the stretch - which is 9 points off the board since 2 were front-end 1-1s. I feel bad for Green, Hudson and Brown... nobody will take this loss harder than those guys. And I am confident that they will learn to close games very very soon.
One key factor I have not seen discussed... we had at least two chances in the final two minutes to take an uncontested layup (or at least go to the rack strong and get fouled). One was when EG got a steal on an FSU possession following his first missed 1-1. He had a clear path to the basket on a fast break... his bread & butter this season is finishing these. But he pulled up at the free throw line and dribbled a few more seconds and got fouled (and then missed the next front-end 1-1, sigh).
The second play was a sideline inbounds pass from the backcourt to Eddie, who broke to the basket from halfcourt and beat the defense. He caught the long inbounds pass in a position with another clear path to the basket and pulled back... only to be fouled like 1 second later. (I think he made one of two FTs in the double bonus).
My point here is... I understand the concept of running clock in the halfcourt offense with the lead. But I don't get the logic of passing up an easy layup on a fastbreak - especially when your opponent is in fouling mode. The worst that can happen if you take it to the rack is a missed layup and a shooting foul (2 shots, not 1-1). You could get a 3 point play... or a flagrant foul also. It's just a little thing... learning to close games. It's not just about making your foul shots... it's also about knowing when to finish your opponent. A dunk by EG or JE in either situation likely would finish the game.
This is a tough loss. I hope we are starting to see this team turn a corner. I hope we get our injured players healthy and finish the season strong, regardless of whether we play postseason or not.
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