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Post Will Georgia fix its offense?

Sunday February 4, 2007

Last night’s 66-61 loss at Vanderbilt might seem like just another close road SEC loss, but there are two trends developing that might continue to hurt this team in SEC play. It’s not just about the past two losses; Georgia has even been able to overcome these things and win, but I don’t know how many more wins you can expect with these things happening.

  • Georgia’s offensive decisions. Takais Brown did not attempt a shot nor go to the foul line for the entire last ten minutes of the game. I don’t know how many touches he got, but he was not a factor on offense. The leading scorer and a guy shooting 5-for-8 from the night is completely taken out of our offense due to shot selection and bad decisions. Meanwhile, Mike Mercer leads us in attempts again and shoots for another low percentage. Surprised?

    Honestly, I don’t blame Brown or Mercer. This wasn’t the first game that Mercer took too many shots and played out of control. If Richt had a quarterback whose favorite check was to throw deep into double-coverage no matter what was called, we’d first get on that QB, but eventually we’d wonder why Richt kept him in the game. Bad shot selection in basketball is bad enough, but when it comes from your leading shooter, it’s twice as bad. Think in terms of possession. If you have, say, 15 turnovers as a team and your leading attempts guy takes 10 shots that are rushed or low-percentage for him, that’s actually 25 possessions where you didn’t get a good shot. That’s a lot of pressure on the defense.

    Coach Felton must tighten up his offense. Georgia didn’t learn from the Kentucky game, and they shot under 30% from outside in the past two games on an average of 25 three-point attempts in each game while Brown attempted just 8 shots in each game. Why should we expect anything different against Florida and down the road?

  • First half production. In the four games leading up to and including the Alabama game, Georgia averaged 39.5 first half points in each game. They didn’t fail to score fewer than 30. Since the Alabama game, Georgia is averaging 28.5 points in the first half and has scored 30 or fewer in three of those games and no more than 33 points. They have trailed at halftime in each of the past four games.

    The point isn’t that Georgia came back to win two of those games or that they scored 39 points in the second half at Vanderbilt. When you dig yourself that kind of hole in the first half, it requires a lot of energy to come back. Against Kentucky and LSU, Georgia had the home crowd and good enough defense to completely stifle the other team in the second half. Still, because of the first half, all of that great second half play just meant that Georgia had a shot at the end of the game.

Are these two trends related? You tell me. Here’s Georgia’s three-point shooting in each of the past four first halves: 2-15, 3-11, 1-14 , 3-10. Less than 30% in each game.

If this team is going to choose to live or die by the three-pointer, they have to shoot much better and make sure the people they have on the court taking the deep shots can hit them. If they want to be a more balanced team and take advantage of the improving Brown inside, then he shouldn’t be third or fourth on the team in attempts.

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