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Coan’s Comments: Three’s Company

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Coan’s Comments: Three’s Company

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When I saw the Trail Blazers sink 21 three-pointers against the Charlotte Bobcats on Jan. 2, I began to understand head coach Terry Stotts’ strategy. The Blazers currently rank first in the NBA in points per game.

Their weapon of choice is the three-point shot, making a league-best 10.3 three-pointers per game, and shooting a league second-best 0.395 from three-point range. They also rank first in the league in scoring with 109.3 points per game. However, the Blazers are ranked fourth-to-last in points in the paint with 36.6 per game.

The varsity boys’ basketball team suffered its first two losses to Poway (CA) and Redmond (WA), going 2-2 overall in their winter break tournament. Its first win in the tournament was only by three points, 49-46. Again, the Cards faced the difficulty of being a perimeter team. They only shot 35 percent from the field and 20 percent from three-point range.

Luckily the defense showed up, holding their opponent’s leading scorer to 10 points, nine points below his average.

The Cards’ second win came against South Gate from Sacramento, 68-54. Just as the point differential rose to 14 in their second win, the Cards field goal percentage rose to 52 percent.

The boys currently sit at 10-5, and 10th in state, after a 42-39 win against Southridge on Jan. 17.

While I was photographing the game, I began to notice similarities between the Cards’ and the Blazers’ game plan: Lincoln attempted 12 three-pointers.

But a weakness was shown in the Cards’ strategy. They only made one of their 12 three-pointers, which ended up deciding the margin of victory. Luckily for them, Southridge had its fair share of missed opportunities.

The problem with the Cards’ and the Blazers’ strategy is not enough points in the paint. The Cards have no inside game, but unlike the Blazers, the Cards lack an inside option. They don’t have anybody big enough to play the post.

Without an inside option, head coach Sean Christensen must rely on his players’ ability to hit jump shots. But what happens when then Cards travel to Jefferson on Feb. 4 to face one of the state’s best offenses? Will they be able to keep up in scoring with Democrats?

The perimeter game is not what concerns me. It’s the defense.

If the team goes cold from the field, it has no option but to persevere. This puts more pressure on the defense to keep the score close. With no inside option on offense, the team is also left vulnerable inside on defense.

Defense wins games. It doesn’t matter how many points you score if your opponent scores more. And if your team goes cold from the field and can’t score, that gives your opponent an advantage. The Cards’ shooting is fine.

They’ve proven that they can hit three after three after three. But I’d feel a lot more secure of our playoff hopes if I knew the defense could stand tall and shut down its opponents.

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