I’ll be updating this thread with Sofo impressions (who just entered the game) as well as taking any questions all day long. Just post in the comments section and we’ll update the front page regularly. Clipperblog – reducing work productivity since 2005!
In typical Los Angeles fan fashion, I arrived fashionably late, then couldn’t get my internet to work, so I regrettably missed some of the first quarter. Unacceptable start.
1st quarter, 31 seconds left – Sofo shows some impressive athleticism getting off the floor for a loose rebound, and then draws a foul. He knocks down both free throws- he brings the ball up behind his head, but his form isn’t terrible and he gets a lot of arc on the ball. He’s got room for improvement, but his form is decent.
2nd quarter, 9:20- Sofo uses his body well to keep his post defender on his hip. When he receives the ball, Israel brings a weakside double, but Sofo powers through the smaller defenders with a pump fake and step through, drawing the foul.
2nd quarter, 9:00- Sofo gets doubled again, but this time he kicks it out as soon as it comes. He’s extremely aware of the defense collapsing on him at the catch.
2nd quarter, 8:05- Sofo is part of a double high pick at the top of the key. The ball carrier uses his screen, but doesn’t penetrate off the pick, instead swinging it to the guard opposite the side of the play. Sofo opens up to ball side, rolls to the hoop,stops in the middle of the key and seals off his man beautifully to allow an easy lob entry pass. Sofo receives the ball, collects himself, and goes strong to the rim for 2. Great set.
2nd quarter, 7:36- Sofo gets caught on Israel’s point guard, but the shot clock is running down. Sofo doesn’t allow any room to fire up a jumper, and allows the small guard to dribble out the shot clock, resulting in a turnover.
2nd quarter, 7:17 - Another high pick and roll on the left hand side, but this time Israel goes under the screen. A long missed shot equals a long rebound, which leads to a leak out with Sofo nowhere in sight. Sofo was caught in no man’s land, ideally you’d like to see him commit to either crashing the boards, or hustling back on defense.
2nd quarter, 6:57- Sofo just controls the paint with his size. A Greece guard drives baseline, and Sofo again positions himself perfectly to receive the pass and finish with a layup at the rim for the and 1. Sofo knocks down the free throw, giving him 9 points in the first half.
2nd quarter, 5:49- Sofo on another high pick and roll, but the Greece guard jacks up an ill-advised three. Sofo doesn’t look happy. He doesn’t crash the boards, and despite Israel pushing the ball up the floor, he barely jogs back on defense. Greece gives up an easy layup, and Sofo is nowhere to be found on the play.
2nd quarter, 5:29 – It’s amazing how hard Sofo works to get the ball in the post. On this play, his man is doing a great job trying to front, then half guard, then again front the post, but Sofo keeps reacting and using his weight to give his passers the chance to give him the ball. Some of the things Sofo is doing might get called in an NBA game, but his aggressiveness down there is impressive. When Sofo does finally receive the ball, he spins to his right in the lane, sees the double coming, and makes a nice cross court kick out to the opposite corner, which leads to an Israel foul.
2nd quarter, 5:29- Sofo checks out of the game, but it’s been an impressive first half for him thus far. The score is 40-34 as he checks out, we’ll see how Greece performs without him in there.
2nd quarter, 2:12 – Thoroughly enjoying the crowd at this game. It’s not a big one, but all the chanting and songs they do during the game are awesome. Fantastic atmosphere.
End of Half- Greece goes on a big run to end the half and is up 56-42. Greece is more of an up and down running team with Sofo off the court, which makes sense. Sofo ends the half with 9 points and 1 board, going a perfect 3/3 from the free throw line. The announcers remark that a lot of shots have been put up in this game. The score does seem abnormally high for an international contest, which have 10 minute quarters instead of 12.
Halftime- I could skip ahead and catch up, but I’m enjoying the halftime festivities (completely empty court, supremely awesome foreign song) a little too much. Fine. I’ll skip ahead.
3rd quarter, 9:44 – Sofo gets the start in the second half, and posts up in the middle of the lane. Sofo takes one dribble to his right, delivers a great up and under fake to get his man off the floor, and draws the foul on the lefty layup. McHale-esque. Sofo knocks both free throws down.
3rd quarter, 9:21- Sofo gets the ball in transition in the paint, but tries to fight through two defenders unsuccessfully, leading to a badly missed layup attempt. The spacing on that possession was poor, but you’d like to see Sofo catch and put up a quick jump hook before pounding the ball immediately and forcing up a bad look.
3rd quarter, 8:57- He’s just too damn big for Israel. Again, Sofo receives the ball in the post, drop steps to his left, pump fakes thrice and draws the foul. Israeli big men look absolutely frustrated dealing with this monster.
3rd quarter, 8:57- Sofo misses his first free throw, but knocks down the second.
3rd quarter, 8:34- An Israeli guard penetrates baseline, and Sofo does a great job of beating him to the spot and cutting off his progress. I have to say, Sofo has some pretty good lateral quickness, even if his top end speed is that of a Dodge Caravan.
3rd quarter, 7:16 - Sofo tends to hang back on all pick and rolls, a tactic that absolutely torched Clipper big men last season. This might be Greece’s gameplan though- I haven’t seen Israel knock down any long jumpers yet.
3rd quarter, 6:58 – The screens Sofo sets are pretty poor. If he showed as much enthusiasm for getting other people open as he does himself, he’d be a very solid, and more complete, offensive player.
3rd quarter, 6:38 – On the defensive side of the ball, Sofo mostly sits in the paint. The guys that he’s covering don’t appear willing to take open jumpers, so Sofo is gladly hanging back. He picks up a foul here contesting a drive to the bucket.
3rd quarter, 6:20 – Amazing entry lob pass from the top of the key to Sofo, who elevates above defenders to snatch it and finish with a reverse on the other side of the rim. I haven’t seen Sofo dunk yet, so I’d be willing to restructure his nickname of “Baby Shaq” to “Matured Glen Davis” if that’s okay with everyone else.
3rd Quarter, 5:25 – Sofo receives an entry pass, takes one power dribble, picks up the ball and lowers his shoulder, gets stuck…then inexplicably takes another dribble and gets whistled for the obvious violation. Somewhere, Chris Kaman smiles.
3rd Quarter, 4:59- After good pick and roll defense by Sofo, an Israel turnover results in a transition opportunity for Greece. Nothing materializes, and there is no secondary break option because Sofo is not even on my screen. Still not on it. Did he fall? Where is he? Sofo eventually re enters the play, walking all the way back up court. This has been an extended stretch of minutes for the big man, and he looks dead tired.
3rd quarter, 4:17- Sofo receives the ball on the left block, fakes right, and drop steps back to the left. Then, to further shut me up, he powers up for a dunk attempt and draws the foul. I feel bad for the Israel low post defenders – they just don’t have the girth to move Sofo, and he’s getting whatever he wants in single coverage.
3rd quarter, 4:17 – Sofo knocks down both free throws, and heads to the bench for a well deserved breather. The score is 69-51, and Sofo is 8/9 from the line and 4/6 from the field for 16 points. Great offensive showing from him thus far.
3rd quarter, 2:48- Israel’s point guard (#7) looks just like K.A. It’s starting to weird me out a bit.
Start of 4th- Calathes and Koufos sit next to each other on the bench, and should get some minutes here in this 4th quarter. Sofo leads Greece with 16.
4th quarter, 8:46- Both Calathes and Koufos in. It’s a great sign that Sofo gets P.T. over Koufos. Maybe Sofo is more NBA ready than we think?
4th quarter, 7:25- 81, 72, Greece up 9. Israel is hanging around.
4th quarter, 5:05 – The lead quickly balloons to 19. Sofo is likely done for the day.
4th quarter, 2:56 – Greece breaks 100 with a Koufos dunk. Free gyros for everyone in attendance!
End of game- Greece improves to 3-0 in tourney play, thumping Israel 106-80.
Sofo’s final line: 15 minutes, 16 points, 1 rebound, 1 block, 4/6 FG, 8/9 FT, 2 personal fouls.
Quick impressions: Sofo looked good in the post, simply overwhelming Israel defenders with his size, strength, and quick feet. The fact that Sofo went 8 of 9 from the line in a great bounce back performance is encouraging. Defensively, Israel didn’t offer much for Sofo to deal with, but that could change if Greece is to run into a team like Spain. Sofo only pulled down one rebound, which is concerning, but probably not the end of the world. It’s hard to get a true gauge against an opponent the caliber of Israel, but Sofo looked like an NBA caliber big man tonight.