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Thursday, December 30, 2004
Head Guts 
There seems to be something missing with this team. Other teams are scoring with ease, our guys treat the ball like a hot potato on the boards, and we give away late leads like they were Antoine Walker bobbleheads. What in the world is going on here? You could call it youth, but some of our younger guys are the best defenders and rebounders. You could call into question the team's heart, but I don't think that is fair to the guys that are busting their humps every day.

To me, it seems like the only thing applicable here is a coaching cliche. This team lacks "mental toughness." When the going gets tough, they play scared. They play not to lose. They punt and play prevent D.

I'm not going to cast blame on any one player or coach, because this is something that is developed as a team. On the other hand, one strong personality or event can polarize a team in the right direction. It doesn't have to be a vocal leader either. Gary is a loud vocal leader, but its tough when he's more Mittens than the Glove. Paul takes it to the hole, but he talks more trash than he talks to his own team. Someday Al Jefferson is going to be great, but he's a kid who is quietly deferring to this elders right now.

I almost wish Blount would just lay someone out (cleanly) and go toe to toe with someone. One of the things that really helped us make a run last year was the play of Brandon Hunter. I'm not saying we should have kept him over someone else, he is a limited player. But he really got after it on the boards, and that seemed to pick everyone up a notch. Or perhaps we could use a trade. Imagine bringing in someone like Najera or Kurt Thomas (these are just examples). Guys that just go out there and get it done.

I don't know exactly what form it will come in, but if this team is going to turn it around, they are going to need a spark. As others have said, losing breeds losing, and we can't count on a gradual learning curve to get us out of this. Something or someone is going to have to do something to make this team a winner. (Is that specific enough for you?)

# posted by Jeff @ 12/30/2004 08:44:00 AM - Message Board

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