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There were two somewhat unusual notes at the beginning of the game today -
first, the team ran out from the left side of the band rather than the right
side, meaning that they are using the new locker rooms in the annex.Â And
secondly, and more significantly, Carlos Boozer jumped center for the first
time, meaning that there is a lot more confidence in his foot now.
And he showed that there was reason to be, too, as he shot 11-12 from the
field and 6-7 from the line for a career high 28 points and led Duke to a 96-55 win over William & Mary. It needs to be kept in
perspective - it's W&M, not UNC or Maryland. But he has made a lot of
progress and it's really showing now.
Early in the season - as shown in his stats, where at one point fully 1/3 of
his shots were dunks -Boozer was relying on teammates to get him the ball in
great position.Â That's still happening - he had a number of well-placed
passes today - but recently he has begun making his own shots, driving to the
basket, and showing a real flair for the reverse layup, with either hand.
Clearly, his game has gone up at least a couple of notches.Â How high can
he go? Who knows.Â But the player we saw in the McDonald's game last year
was a lot rangier, and some of our Alaskan friends swear he's really a three
Duke, playing for the first time in 12 days, really took William & Mary
out of this game quickly, going up 17-2, and they never let them back in it.
In fact, the first fifteen minutes of the game were possibly the best this
team has played this season.Â The offense was clicking the defense was
potent, and ball possession was valued highly.Â All things considered, a
solid performance.Â In spite of playing very aggressively, Duke didn't even
pick up a foul until almost the five minute mark.
There was an offensive funk after that, though, which went into the second
half and took Duke's percentage from .560 (we heard this on the radio, it might
be off) to .463
They also didn't take care of the ball like they had earlier in the game. By
the end of the game, they came back around and were shooting reasonably well
Like a lot of Duke opponents so far, W&M played a lot of zone, and Duke,
while they pounded it in to Boozer on a regular basis, responded with 26 threes,
of which they made 9.Â Since .333 is break-even for a three point shot,
like .500 is for a two point (as first realized by Rick Pitino at Providence),
Duke was under that, but not by a lot.Â Williams in particular shot well,
hitting 5 of 10. Other than Williams, only Nick "The Knife" Horvath
hit more than one (he hit 2)
So while they were erratic, Duke came out and played with a lot of intensity
for a good stretch at the beginning and end.
- Nate James didn't shoot well at all, at 1-8, but he grabbed 7 board, 5
offensive, and 3 steals.
- Battier didn't shoot much, not that it's a big loss to him, but he needs
to be aggressive.Â He shot 4-13 and got 8 board, 5 assists, 2 steals
and 3 blocks. Not a bad day outside of the shooting.
- C-well shot 8-12, 3-4 from the line, 7 boards, 8 assists, 20 points total,
2 blocks, and a steal. That's a pretty good line, we'd say!
- Jason Williams broke even at 7-14, 8 boards, 7 assists to 4 turnovers, and
- Carlos Boozer, as mentioned, shot 11-12 from the floor, 6-7 from the line,
five boards, 2 assists, 4 turnovers, in 22 minutes.Â
- Mike Dunleavy in some ways (shooting for one) had one of his lesser games,
going 3-11 from the floor, and scoring only 6, but then again, he was the
leading rebounder at 9.Â He also had 2 blocks (the box score missed one
somehow, both on breaks where he caught the shooters from behind.
- Christensen's stats were negligible, other than 5 fouls in 11 minutes, but
he played, we thought, better than he had in a while.
- Horvath shot 2-5, both 3's,Â with 1 assist,Â but what an assist
it was. Watch for it onÂ the news; it should be on at least in North
- Sanders played 7 minutes but had no particular impact on the game.
From here on out, of course, everything matters and life is precious.Â
ACC play starts for Duke on Wednesday, at University Hall, a tough place to play
not least of all because the lights tend to, or at least used to tend to,
distort shadows and depth perception.Â They may not be using the same type
of lights they used to, but it was a big advantage.Â Aftre that game comes
Maryland at Maryland.Â Duke fans haven't thought so much about what the
other schools are thinking about getting their heads handed to them 19 times
last year, but the other schools certainly have.Â UVa and Maryland will
come at Duke with everything they have, so Duke will have to match that
intensity.Â Could they start the ACC 0-2 like they did the regular season?
Easily. On the post-game show, Bob Harris asked Mike Dunleavy what he thought
about the ACC and he said, in essence, it's just basketball. Be interesting to
see if he still thinks that after a few games.Â
Notes...there were two W&M students who made the trip who were
hilarious...they argued every call and screamed at the ref
constantly....Horvath's pass to Boozer was really beautiful - we want to see the
replay...60 years, 600 wins, and birds still fly in the windows during
games....you have to love that...almost as good as the periodic squirrel which
runs among the forests of legs...Dunleavy banged his right shoulder twice, both
times pretty hard...26 assists to 18 turnovers....also 16 steals though...the
last several years Duke has either stolen a game at UVa or crushed the 'Hoos..remember
Wojo's steal when the clock malfunctioned....