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Since some people can't access directories called
"games" from work, we are crossposting the game stories on the main
page. This is the same thing you'll see under games past

 

After a lethargic game against NC A&T, where he was shut out in the first
half, Shane Battier responded with a career high in last night's game against
Davidson.  In fact, he probably shot as well as anyone at Duke has since
Laettner was perfect against Kentucky.  Shane hit 8-9 from the floor and
12-12 from the line.

To us, Davidson played a lot like a European team -they spaced the floor
well, moved the ball efficiently, and found and did a reasonable job of
exploiting the holes in the defense.  They run a beautiful fast break. They
reminded us a lot of the Australian team which came through a couple of years
ago and played brilliantly.  It's a sad fact that international teams
usually master the basics of the game better than do Americans, but there it is,
and Davidson played that way for a fair stretch of the game, before talent and
defense put Duke too far ahead.  But we admire the way they played. 
It was impressive, and is, we're pretty sure, highly unusual for the Southern
Conference, which augurs well for the Wildcats.

Aside from Battier's offensive surge, there were other things worth noting in
the game. First and foremost, Nate stayed late in the locker room because his
knee was still aching. We understand it's tendinitis but haven't heard that
officially.  We heard on the post-game show that he rode the bike and did
various other things to loosen it up.  Best thing in the world for him is a
few days rest, which comes now.

The other thing, and no less significant, is the continuing emergence of
Carlos Boozer.  After the tremendous stretch Brand had at Duke, and the
remarkable combination of talents he has, between his bulk and speed, to some
extent everyone, probably  including Boozer, expected him to be like
Elton.  He's not, but Elton is sort of a genetic freak.  But Boozer is
showing us that Carlos Boozer is  a pretty impressive player in his own
right - and his skills are far more advanced at the same stage than Elton's
were.  Again, that's not to imply that he's Elton, because he's not, but we
never saw Elton shoot with both hands, and tonight Carlos showed his range
extends out to the foul line, and one of our Alaska readers says he's good out
to three point range, which we saw a flash or two of in the McDonald's game last
spring.  His skills are formidable.

In the second half it was as if a lightbulb went off and Carlos realized he
could take anyone on the floor, so he did.  He made a number of very
impressive moves to the basket.  It wasn't like Michigan, where Williams
found him under the basket for easy points. Against Davidson, Boozer generally
created his own shots.  More and more you can see a post presence emerging,
and in some ways it's more like...well not Laettner exactly, but more versatile
and skilled than Brand, if not as overwhelming.  His explosiveness is
returning. On the post-game show, Johnny Dawkins said that Carlos is using a
smaller orthotic device in his shoe, and it makes it easier for him to be
athletic.

Boozer ended up 7-9 from the floor, and the stats won't show his increased
ability to anticipate steals or get out on the break.

Chris Carrawell also had a typically fat stat line - 6-9 from the floor, 8
boards, 7 assists, and a total of 13 points.

Jason was a bit off tonight but after getting pretty beaten up in the last
game, maybe that's understandable.    Still, he hit 20 points,
50% shooting,  had 5 boards,  and 4 assists. It's indicative of what
he's done already that a freshman can have stats like that and still have it
seem like an off night. Mostly it was a question of decisions, of when to bring
the pass in or when to not try.  A couple of times we saw him seem to
consider things and then not do them, and a couple of times he pushed a little
harder than was prudent and the ball went over.  Taking care of the ball
and distributing it is primarily his responsibility and tonight he was
erratic.  However, his defense was solid.

Dunleavy continues to show signs of knowledge beyond his years.  What
you see in his game, often, are small things - he passes quickly, and smartly.
He gets where the ball will be after the shot misses.  Things you can't
quantify. He started tonight after Nate stayed in the lockeroom, and certainly
held his own.

Casey Sanders got good minutes for the second game in a row, but picked up
early fouls (this was after Boozer got 2 early ones as well), and didn't get as
much time as he might have.  Nonetheless, the positive signs continue -
Sanders is stronger in the post than we thought possible this season, he has
learned to shoot reasonably well (this fall he really couldn't), and he's
starting to use his considerable speed to his advantage. One of our favorite
things in this game was seeing him sprint down court to tip a shot in - and then
seeing Battier rush on at the timeout to praise him.  Very cool.

Nate as we said played with pain and so wasn't up to his recent standards.
Horvath played and didn't factor in very much. Christensen got 14 minutes and
looked better than he has recently. Buckner also got 7 minutes and played some
keen D.

All things considered, while this wasn't a quantum leap from the A&T
game, the intensity was there, though the almost-traditional post-exam flatness
was too. 

Other points worth noting - a lot of teams are doing a couple of things we
haven't seen as much recently - soft zone presses and less than soft zone
defenses. We assume they have been studying tape and are finding ways to slow
down Jason Williams.  Surely the teams which have pressed haven't taken the
ball from Duke - Duke has dealt with it very well, actually - but they have
slowed the advance of the ball and gotten it out of Jason's hands. The zone
makes it much more difficult for him to penetrate as well.  Though the post
offense is improving by leaps and bounds, the post defense isn't improving as
rapidly.  Casey has shown tremendous improvement since pickup ball, but he
still gets faked out a lot. He left his feet early several times tonight, and
since he is going to jump quicker and higher than 80-90% of his opponents, he
can afford to jump last.

One last note - a caller mentioned DBR on the post-game show in a question
about recruiting and the internet.  Just to reiterate: given the
proliferation of rumors on the net, we decided some time ago to just link to
published sources rather than pursuing recruiting news on our own.  We did
this specifically because a lot of sites either are damaging or could damage the
schools they profess to follow.  So for that caller, that's why we don't
pursue it much ourselves, and why we encourage Duke fans to be thoughtful about
how they post on the net. You never know who might be reading.

Notes - a Davidson fan was in rare form - shaved head, paw on the back, face
painted white...very cool....Coach K was as animated as we have seen him in a
long, long time...the next game in Cameron will be dated '00....Shane's point
total  matched his jersey number tonight....Duke forced 23 turnovers with
12 steals...28 made free throws to 11 attempted for Davidson...