When examining any first half performance, especially one where the Devils are down or in a tight one, there’s a phrase I can often look to that brings me solace in my frustrated need ( Jesus, it sounds like I’m about to break into song…) : regression to the mean.
At the end of the first half against Miami on Sunday, the Devils were facing a team shooting 50% from the floor and 5-10 from the 3-point line, while getting exactly 2 points from Nolan Smith…and were still up by five. So , my assumptions for the second half are a) Miami comes back to earth and shoots a percentage from 3 to bring them back to their season average ( 38%), (which would mean about 26%) and b) Nolan (hopefully) comes back to the court after getting gouged in the eyeball and drops in enough points to bring him close to his average of 20 ( so i guess this would be progression to the mean?) ;whereupon the Devils win the second half by more points than they did the first, and, consequently, the game.
yup. pretty much.
Miami shot 25%, Nolan dropped in 18 and Duke won by 10. I do love it when a plan comes together.
The first half was dominated early by Miami’s sweet shooting Malcolm Grant ,who dropped in 12 early points before having to head to the bench with 2 fouls. Duke countered with strong play from Seth Curry, who picked up the slack after Nolan went out at the 13 minute mark and scored 13 of his 16 points before the half. It would appear that Duke has finally found a consistent 3rd option since Kyrie went down. In his last 3 games Seth is 17-30 from the floor, 9-17 from distance and has 7 steals.
In the second half, Duke locked down on Grant, and rode the strong play of Smith to their 10th win in ACC play.
- Mason had a solid game with 12 and 5 and shot 100% from the line! ( 2-2, but still…)
- Ryan, after having 3 straight games as a relative non-presence, dropped in 9 points. He did a great job finding the “soft” area in Miami’s zone.
- Duke had only 9 turnovers. They’ve averaged a mere 10 per game in their last 4.
- Andre Dawkins is only 2-13 in his last 3 games. One hopes he is not becoming overly discouraged.