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Cal Basketball

Bears Lose Close One vs. Sun Devils

December 3, 2020
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Losing to the Sun Devils 70-62, Cal fell short in the final minutes of a very close game at Haas. The Bears took the lead several times throughout the ball-game, but excessive turnovers and strong play from ASU’s backcourt contributed to the loss.

Bradley was the focal point on offense with 20 points and 8 rebounds, but it was a tough night for him from the field where he was 7-21. He struggled especially from three where he was 1-9. Still, he made some key plays for the Bears in tough moments. He’ll need to improve his decision-making though and look to pass more often when the shot isn’t high-percentage.

The Bears were most effective on the boards, where they outrebounded ASU 36-27. Big men Anticevech, Thorpe, Thiemann and Kelly all garnered valuable playing time. Despite a solid rotation from the Bears, only 6 points came from the bench. The Bears have a lot of talent upfront, but at times it seemed like there was too much pressure on Matt Bradley, contributing to his poor percentage from the field.

On ASU’s side, things worked out for their talented backcourt duo of Josh Christopher and Remy Martin, who combined for 36 points on 14-23. Martin has averaged over 20 against the Bears and it was tough for Cal to contain them.

The Bears need to slow things down on Sunday at UCLA, where they’ll face a talented frontcourt. The Bears gave it their best shot against the Sun Devils, and they’ll move to 2-2.

More stories:

ASU Brings Nation's Top Backcourt to Haas

Bears Pull it Together Late in 60-49 Win Over Nicholls State

Discussion from...

Bears Lose Close One vs. Sun Devils

1,640 Views | 11 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by SFCityBear
59bear
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Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?
calumnus
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59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?


He is our best player, I don't think you tell him to pass up a good shot, but yeah, he has to pass up bad shots. I think we are set up to go 4 out and have Bradley, Betley, Foreman and Grant/Kuany as 3 point options with Kelly/Lars down low. If one of the those guys is left open for 3 you let them shoot. If Kelly/Lars is open you get them the ball for the dunk. If everyone is covered then a lane is open and you let Bradley take his guy to the hoop. If shots fall you win, if they don't you lose.

Also, and I know I have said this many years over the past few decades, but this team is not very athletic or very deep, needs to get shooters on the floor and therefore should play mostly (3-2) zone. Defend the three and have two of Lars/Kelly/GA/Kuany/Thorpe as rim protectors.

Not a bad showing last night considering Bradley had a very off night and calls weren't going our way.
SFCityBear
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59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?
Bradley as a freshman was one of the best 3-point shooters in the country. His 3-point shooting percentage dropped a lot in his second year, from 47% to 38%. Some of that might have been that teams had more film of him, and might have been better prepared to defend him. In year 3, his percentage is down to 22%. It is too early to tell, of course, but I'm concerned that it might have become a steady deterioration. Something physical perhaps, changes in his eyesight, or more likely, in my opinion, he might be overworking some muscles in the weight room. Too much lifting can affect the long range shooting touch, I can speak from personal experience on that. It happened to me. Once I stopped lifting and conditioning, my shooting touch fully returned in a few weeks time.
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?


He is our best player, I don't think you tell him to pass up a good shot, but yeah, he has to pass up bad shots. I think we are set up to go 4 out and have Bradley, Betley, Foreman and Grant/Kuany as 3 point options with Kelly/Lars down low. If one of the those guys is left open for 3 you let them shoot. If Kelly/Lars is open you get them the ball for the dunk. If everyone is covered then a lane is open and you let Bradley take his guy to the hoop. If shots fall you win, if they don't you lose.

Also, and I know I have said this many years over the past few decades, but this team is not very athletic or very deep, needs to get shooters on the floor and therefore should play mostly (3-2) zone. Defend the three and have two of Lars/Kelly/GA/Kuany/Thorpe as rim protectors.

Not a bad showing last night considering Bradley had a very off night and calls weren't going our way.
I'd agree that perimeter shooting is our best card to play, but you know what they say, "Live by the three, die by the three." I would not consider Kuany as a three point option. He made only 5 of them all last season, and has yet to even attempt a single three this season. I think you have to do what Fox is doing and play to all your strengths. You have to post Kelly up or let him drive to the to the basket, and Fox needs to encourage that, as Grant seems tentative so far this season. Of course he needs to make some threes to set up his drives (and vice versa)

It seems like Fox may be moving toward a 6-man rotation, as Lars got only 8 minutes and Thorpe only 2 minutes. They played a highly-rated conference team very even until the end, but I think that won't work for long. With your system, Brown, who can't be depended on to make threes, would not see the floor, and you need him sometimes at least for defense and play-making.
calumnus
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SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?


He is our best player, I don't think you tell him to pass up a good shot, but yeah, he has to pass up bad shots. I think we are set up to go 4 out and have Bradley, Betley, Foreman and Grant/Kuany as 3 point options with Kelly/Lars down low. If one of the those guys is left open for 3 you let them shoot. If Kelly/Lars is open you get them the ball for the dunk. If everyone is covered then a lane is open and you let Bradley take his guy to the hoop. If shots fall you win, if they don't you lose.

Also, and I know I have said this many years over the past few decades, but this team is not very athletic or very deep, needs to get shooters on the floor and therefore should play mostly (3-2) zone. Defend the three and have two of Lars/Kelly/GA/Kuany/Thorpe as rim protectors.

Not a bad showing last night considering Bradley had a very off night and calls weren't going our way.
I'd agree that perimeter shooting is our best card to play, but you know what they say, "Live by the three, die by the three." I would not consider Kuany as a three point option. He made only 5 of them all last season, and has yet to even attempt a single three this season. I think you have to do what Fox is doing and play to all your strengths. You have to post Kelly up or let him drive to the to the basket, and Fox needs to encourage that, as Grant seems tentative so far this season. Of course he needs to make some threes to set up his drives (and vice versa)

It seems like Fox may be moving toward a 6-man rotation, as Lars got only 8 minutes and Thorpe only 2 minutes. They played a highly-rated conference team very even until the end, but I think that won't work for long. With your system, Brown, who can't be depended on to make threes, would not see the floor, and you need him sometimes at least for defense and play-making.


I would play Brown only sparingly, as Foreman's backup at PG, at least until he can hit an open three reliably. Under my strategy we do not need him for playmaking or defense, neither of which is he really exceptional at anyway (just relative to our team). Maybe if there is an opposing guard we want to stop we go box and 1 with Brown, otherwise, no. If Hyder becomes eligible.....
HoopDreams
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one thing you can count on is Remy Martin shredding us

the thing is, he didn't shoot well from deep and still killed us with passing and scoring

besides his point guard skills the thing I think is his super power is his handle. he is a master of the hesi move, which is something I never understand more players don't master

it is probably the single most effective basketball move on the planet

Chapman_is_Gone
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I see they're still wearing the ugly jerseys with the very feminine "Golden Bears" across the front. Shame.
BeachedBear
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SFCityBear said:

59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?
Bradley as a freshman was one of the best 3-point shooters in the country. His 3-point shooting percentage dropped a lot in his second year, from 47% to 38%. Some of that might have been that teams had more film of him, and might have been better prepared to defend him. In year 3, his percentage is down to 22%. It is too early to tell, of course, but I'm concerned that it might have become a steady deterioration. Something physical perhaps, changes in his eyesight, or more likely, in my opinion, he might be overworking some muscles in the weight room. Too much lifting can affect the long range shooting touch, I can speak from personal experience on that. It happened to me. Once I stopped lifting and conditioning, my shooting touch fully returned in a few weeks time.
I wouldn't overthink Bradley's %s at this stage of season Three. I would call it a slump (along with the strange schedule of 2020). I think Year 2 was mostly about him being 'the guy' after Sueing departed. Defenses picked him up at the 3pt line in year two and applied double teams often. In year 1, he was more in the role that Betley is in these days and was more open more often.
HoopDreams
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Chapman_is_Gone said:

I see they're still wearing the ugly jerseys with the very feminine "Golden Bears" across the front. Shame.


agree on the golden bears ... it should be the California on that uniform

but I think the uniforms are good, not great

fortunately they changed the shorts from the first year which were awful
SFCityBear
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BeachedBear said:

SFCityBear said:

59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?
Bradley as a freshman was one of the best 3-point shooters in the country. His 3-point shooting percentage dropped a lot in his second year, from 47% to 38%. Some of that might have been that teams had more film of him, and might have been better prepared to defend him. In year 3, his percentage is down to 22%. It is too early to tell, of course, but I'm concerned that it might have become a steady deterioration. Something physical perhaps, changes in his eyesight, or more likely, in my opinion, he might be overworking some muscles in the weight room. Too much lifting can affect the long range shooting touch, I can speak from personal experience on that. It happened to me. Once I stopped lifting and conditioning, my shooting touch fully returned in a few weeks time.
I wouldn't overthink Bradley's %s at this stage of season Three. I would call it a slump (along with the strange schedule of 2020). I think Year 2 was mostly about him being 'the guy' after Sueing departed. Defenses picked him up at the 3pt line in year two and applied double teams often. In year 1, he was more in the role that Betley is in these days and was more open more often.
You are probably right about this being a slump, and I hope you are right. We don't know what this is just yet. Perhaps I was exaggerating to make a point. It is pretty good to have a player who still scores 20 every night, when he is in a slump. He finds a way to score. The great ones usually do.
SFCityBear
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calumnus said:

SFCityBear said:

calumnus said:

59bear said:

Helped by a couple of unlikely buzzer-beater 3s! Is it too early to be concerned about Bradley's shooting woes?


He is our best player, I don't think you tell him to pass up a good shot, but yeah, he has to pass up bad shots. I think we are set up to go 4 out and have Bradley, Betley, Foreman and Grant/Kuany as 3 point options with Kelly/Lars down low. If one of the those guys is left open for 3 you let them shoot. If Kelly/Lars is open you get them the ball for the dunk. If everyone is covered then a lane is open and you let Bradley take his guy to the hoop. If shots fall you win, if they don't you lose.

Also, and I know I have said this many years over the past few decades, but this team is not very athletic or very deep, needs to get shooters on the floor and therefore should play mostly (3-2) zone. Defend the three and have two of Lars/Kelly/GA/Kuany/Thorpe as rim protectors.

Not a bad showing last night considering Bradley had a very off night and calls weren't going our way.
I'd agree that perimeter shooting is our best card to play, but you know what they say, "Live by the three, die by the three." I would not consider Kuany as a three point option. He made only 5 of them all last season, and has yet to even attempt a single three this season. I think you have to do what Fox is doing and play to all your strengths. You have to post Kelly up or let him drive to the to the basket, and Fox needs to encourage that, as Grant seems tentative so far this season. Of course he needs to make some threes to set up his drives (and vice versa)

It seems like Fox may be moving toward a 6-man rotation, as Lars got only 8 minutes and Thorpe only 2 minutes. They played a highly-rated conference team very even until the end, but I think that won't work for long. With your system, Brown, who can't be depended on to make threes, would not see the floor, and you need him sometimes at least for defense and play-making.


I would play Brown only sparingly, as Foreman's backup at PG, at least until he can hit an open three reliably. Under my strategy we do not need him for playmaking or defense, neither of which is he really exceptional at anyway (just relative to our team). Maybe if there is an opposing guard we want to stop we go box and 1 with Brown, otherwise, no. If Hyder becomes eligible.....
Your strategy is fine for a portion of a game, but we need to consider each opponent's strengths and weaknesses and adjust our matchups accordingly. Don Nelson said basketball is a game of matchups. In the ASU game, Cal got ahead, but ASU caught up and was up by one at halftime. Their best player is Remy Martin. In the second half, Brown subbed in after one minute, replacing Foreman, and guarded Martin pretty much the rest of the second half, although Foreman did come back in for a few minutes, but played most of that together with Brown also in the same backcourt. With Brown guarding him, Martin's production went way down in the 2nd half. Brown (primarily) held Martin to one layup, one jumper, one assist, and one rebound, while Martin missed all three 3-point attempts, and made 3 turnovers in the second half. Cal was able to cut the ASU lead to one, but could not get over the hump. I think it was the right call to play Brown, as Foreman is a decent defender, but not the defender that Brown is, and I think if Foreman had played instead of Brown, the final margin would likely have been wider. Just speculating, of course.

We can't just go into every game with the same plan, or we will be too easy to figure out and stop. It is one reason I'd be happier if Fox was confident in his bench to give them more minutes in certain situations. Lars, Thorpe, and Kuany are getting very few minutes so far. And not only them, but with Bowser out, and Celestine not quite ready, I don't see us getting past too many Pac12 opponents with our 6 man rotation.
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