This UCLA basketball team was supposed to continue its dominance against UC Irvine after thoroughly destroying Indiana State in its home-opener on Friday.
These UCI Anteaters were supposed to lay down and take a beating, and these Bruins were supposed to have taken advantage of this and were supposed to have whipped the athletically-challenged Anteaters.
None of that happened, though, and in the end, the UCLA Bruins escaped the contest with an over-time thriller which was one Larry Drew up-and-under, off-balance layup away from being total heartbreak for UCLA.
These Bruins were awful, though; don’t let the “2” in the win column get you giddy, because it wasn’t as if this game was something to be proud of.
Where to begin with this mess? The frontcourt’s an easy target, and we’re staring directly at Travis and David Wear, who have proven consistently, over the past calendar year, that they don’t belong together on the floor at the same time. Defensively, this UCLA hoops team is porous with the Wear twins occupying the middle. Offensively, forced mid-range jump-shots become the dominant theme. Although you’d think that versatile players like the Wears would be fantastic in an uptempo offense, watching them work in such a scheme is frustrating to watch.
Because uptempo offenses aren’t made for bigs to take perimeter shots early in the shot clock; they’re meant to get perimeter players better looks while letting the bigs — in this case, the Wears — streak to the basket for easy lay-ups.
Instead, you saw the Wears take a lazy pass and immediately jack up a shot well outside the paint with 20-something seconds left to play in a half-court offense, something you’re supposed to do if a fastbreak is stopped immediately.
Of course, head coach Ben Howland insists on starting the two at the same time, seemingly unwilling to accept the fact that watching each struggle — due to the fact that they have similar styles of play — while on the court at the same time is hurting this team’s offense, which shot at a godawful 38 percent clip.
Meanwhile, freshman Tony Parker earned the least minutes of the eight UCLA players on the court tonight despite having just two personal fouls to his name; Parker was on the floor for just seven minutes all game, and though his line looks mediocre — two points off of four shots and a rebound — that’s not as bad, per-minute, as Travis Wear’s line, which saw him go 6-for-15 from the floor while picking up five fouls.
This, of course, was all while Parker wasn’t terrible defensively and did much better in fronting his man down low, playing aggressively as a big should, all while still able to streak to the basket far better than both the Wear twins.
Josh Smith? He was maddening to watch. Hell, we don’t have to tell you. Just check the GIF:
This pretty much sums up Josh Smith’s performance on Tuesday as well as his entire career at UCLA.