Obviously this game has drawn a lot of attention from fans and people around the league. People have been asking me a lot of questions about it so I will answer some of them here. First of all I need to stress how important that win was as we are in a stretch of games that we really need to win to dig ourselves out of the hole we started the season in. With that said, it is really important to come out and start games well so we do not have to play from behind. We came out aggressive and jumped on them early. It felt really good to control the game and play with the lead. We must do that more often.
Individually, honestly I went into the game feeling just ok. I was a little upset going in because my pre game routine was broken. As athletes we like to keep a similar routine going into our games. I have been playing better basketball over the last 2 games so to break my routine had me a little upset. Usually before each game I like to listen to some Young Jeezy before i get dressed. Then I get dressed. I have a special pair of game socks I have been wearing for at least a year now that I always wear and I fold them a special way (I know it sounds dumb but most athletes have a few of these little rituals). Then before i step onto the court I listen to “Tha Mobb” by Lil Wayne on his Carter 2 album. Well for this game I forgot my socks at the hotel and had to borrow a pair from Taurean Green. Then I forgot my iPod Touch that has the Lil Wayne song on it. On top of that, the gym was really cold so I felt like I didn’t warm up good enough. I guess none of that really even mattered because once the game got started I was locked in.
We adjusted our game plan a little bit coming in because we figured they would throw some trap defenses at our pick and rolls. They changed line ups to start the game and went with a really big line up. I think they wanted to try to force me to match up with a bigger guard so they could post me up. That could be a good idea except for the fact that they have to use a bigger player to guard me also and I don’t think very many 6 foot 6 guards like chasing me around and guarding me off the dribble. On top of that I have a lot of experience against bigger guards from my days at Boston College. When i wasn’t guarding Tyrese Rice, my matchup was Sean Marshall who was like 6’6 and 220 lbs.
I found an early rhythm by making my first 2 shots and then getting an “And-1″. So within the first 2 minutes of the game I scored 8 points on 3 shots and when you get going that early your confidence gets extremely high. My teammates found me in good positions and I just made shots. I really did not have to force any offense or make any spectacular shots. People have asked me about the game in college where I scored 38 points and 19 points in 4 minutes but this really is not the same thing. In that game i was just completely on fire. I was taking crazy shots from very deep with the defense hanging all over me. I was truly in the zone. In this game vs. Valladolid, I did not take any crazy shots. I just made some shots early, got to the free throw line, and got 3 or 4 easy buckets. Easy buckets and free throws make all the difference when you are talking about having an average night or having a spectacular night.
Gran Canaria – Valladolid (89-70)
Outside of my performance Spencer Nelson played well for us with 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assist. Javier Beiran was huge with 8 rebounds. Every time we win it is a big team effort. It was a nice night but now it is time to move forward as we go into our final EuroCup game tomorrow.