A week ago, the UCLA Bruins (9-1) got their first wake-up call of the season as they lost to the Missouri Tigers, 80-71. It gave us a vision of how UCLA can have fast starts, and then fall to pieces when the opposition makes proper halftime adjustments. The defense is the main concern because it has no consistency, but hey, at least the offense is on fire.
Things needed to change and it started with a 95-71 victory over Prairie View A&M (2-8). The offense was clicking and looked sharper than it did against Missouri. Granted, this was a cupcake, but it was also a chance to build confidence in their game.
Seven Bruins scored nine or more points. Quite impressive. Jordan Adams (18), Kyle Anderson (13), Norman Powell (13), Zach LaVine (10), Travis Wear (10), Bryce Alford (9) and David Wear (9) were proficient in their efforts and many times acrobatic. LaVine, Anderson and T.Wear were a few highlight reel Bruins who lit up Pauley Pavilion with dunk after dunk after dunk. It was not boring in the least.
The Bruins had 29 points off turnovers, which has been one of the few bright spots in their defense. Transition D, no problem here. It also helps when your opponent gives up 17 turnovers for the game. Adams once again lead all in steals with five.
There appeared to be sharper focus for the Bruins on defense, but the execution was the same, unaggressive. There was no doubt the transition was good, but the Bruin defense allows most of their opponents to just blow right past them. And let us not get started on rebounds, or lack there of. There is no one grabbing balls off the rim except Kyle Anderson (7). UCLA had 6 offensive rebounds for the game. You want to know how many PVAM had? Yup, 13.
There is still much to be desired, but it is still early in the season. The Bruins are fast in every aspect and that is a huge plus. If they can continue to turn their defense into offense, then they will be fine. Now if they just box out and grab some rebounds, they will be even better.
It is time to get ready for the one everyone has been waiting for, Duke.