Why Warrens won
By Justin Marville | Wed, September 12, 2012 - 10:03 AM
With the Premier League finals completed, NATION basketball writer Justin Marville breaks down the just concluded title series between Warrens and Lakers, which led to Warrens’ first ever top flight championship.
• Make no mistake. This outcome and the ease it seemingly happened were surprising to say the least. But a fluke? Far from.
Lakers’ coaching staff would have you believe that they just missed shots, and boy did they ever, going a combined 90 for 276 for a schoolboys-like 32.6 per cent in a woefully inept four-game finals performance that would make even the offensively-hamstrung Senators blush.
I, though, believe in coincidence as much as I do the tooth fairy and useful inquiries in Barbados, so I credit Warrens’ ability to blow up their opposition’s dribble hand-offs and chase every guard off the line more so than merely assigning Lakers’ woes to simple happenstance.
And yes, I know, Warrens stole Game 1 on the unlikeliest of buzzer beaters from a sketchy (to be kind) three-point shooter at best.
But that was a game Lakers had no business winning in the first place, having needed all of Andre Lockhart’s all-time finals performance just to wipe away a 12-point deficit and a six-point hole inside the final 45 seconds.
• While we’re at it, let’s just throw in that Lakers should also consider themselves lucky not to have been blown out in Game 2, after also falling behind by double digits in that contest as well.
To be honest, outside of two spurts in Game 2, Lockhart’s Game 1 heroics and Warrens’ Game 3 second-half fatigue, the favourites were really outplayed in these finals.
If you don’t believe that, then take a closer look at where most of Lakers’ points came – or better yet, where they didn’t come.
With Warrens focused on taking away open jumpers from opposing perimeter players, Lakers’ offence was much ado about nothing in the half court, often leading to several contested shots or Lockhart having to create something from nothing with the shot clock winding down.
And those were the occasions when their oft-ignored big men muffed lay-ups or similarly easy scoring opportunities in the paint.
It seemed every time that Lakers went on a run, they were basically on the run, either beating their older and slower counterparts down the floor for easy scores or getting buckets from Lockhart and Ricardo Jemmott off a somewhat secondary break.
Remember the second half of Game 3? Or, how about Jemmott’s three straight dunks in Game 2? Lockhart’s series of jumpers in Game 1? Yup, all came in transition situations.
Could you imagine what Lakers’ shooting percentage would look like if you take away those easier scoring chances in the open floor? Yeah, me neither.
• These, though, are really just smaller aspects of a greater point at play: Warrens simply exposed Lakers’ roster for the jumper-over-reliant creature that it is.
From Adrian Allman to Keefe Birkett and Ian Alexander right down the bench to Jamar King and Jamario Grazette, it’s just one spot up jump-shooter after another coming off the pine, and this generally works seamlessly for their dribble-drive and dribble hand-off offence.
The issue comes when they’re faced with a disciplined defensive unit (who thought I’d ever say this in reference to a Peter Alleyne-led team) keyed in on chasing these near identical players off screens and the line and forcing them towards the hoop.
And outside of Lockhart, Jemmott and Mark Bridgeman, none of these players have the ability, far less the desire, to consistently create their own offence and finish at the ring with regularity.
So when their shots aren’t falling, the shooting numbers are.
I’m not exactly sure how the saying goes, but I guess when you live by the gun, well, you die by a shot – or in the Lakers’ case, the inability to make one.
• As we’re on the topic of people shooting themselves in the foot, maybe I can buy into the notion that Lakers have only themselves to blame for the series loss. Well, at least their Third Division players.
Remember when Alleyne was retired, Pearson Griffith and Kevin Austin’s health were both questionable for this season and the whole Warrens team was going through an entire rebuilding process?
Well that was just six short months ago at the start of the year when a fresh-faced remodelled side made its first appearance in the season-opening knockouts.
But someone’s certain upset-minded Third Division squad had to show all of Barbados (alright, just local basketball) that the kids just weren’t ready to do it by themselves, having extended Warrens to a double-overtime scare.
We all know how this story ends, right? Alleyne and Griffith commit for the entire regular season, and Austin returns for the play-off stretch to put Warrens over the top with a series of clutch baskets.
Talk about life coming around in full circle. I don’t expect the Warrens men to host their St James rivals for a Thanksgiving dinner but they sure have a lot to be grateful to Lakers for.
And just wait until a certain Akeem Williams makes the move down the highway next season.
• So much for that prevailing view from particular non-playing members of the Lakers camp that the refs were pulling their weight for Warrens in this series. Unless, of course, my maths is wrong in somehow figuring that Lakers (58) were whistled for fewer fouls than their nemeses (59).
Almost as absurd as the thinking behind this silly conspiracy theory is the possibility of a Lakers side that makes its living off jumpers drawing more calls than Warrens, who boast of a six-foot-ten centre who resides in the post and an ever-driving, slashing presence in Peter Alleyne.
But here it is that Warrens someway managed to “out-foul” the Husbands men in all but one contest – ironically the one they lost – while Lakers were firing away from behind the arc.
Guess it’s too much to get the benefit of the whistle and scoreboard all at once.
- Editor's Choice
- Most Read Stories Today
- Test cricket at the crossroad
- DEAR CHRISTINE: Help me take care of my daughter
- EVERYDAY LAW: Unfair dismissal under new act
- ONLY HUMAN: Time for Sinckler to go?
- EDITORIAL: Response to terrorism not consistent
- LEFT OF CENTRE: Genuine concern by investors
- RIGHT OF CENTRE: Now up to businesses and consumers