GINEBRA coach Tim Cone conceded that Joshua Smith will continue to wreak havoc down low, but is hoping his wards would make up for it in other aspects as the Gin Kings seek to knot their PBA Commissioner’s Cup semifinal series against TNT KaTropa at one game apiece on Tuesday night.
In their first crack, the Gin Kings failed to solve the puzzle that is the 6-foot-10, 330-pound Smith, who scattered 35 points, 13 boards, four assists, and two steals in just 28 minutes off the bench in the Texters’ 100-94 Game One win on Sunday night.
“He’s a load, no doubt about it,” Cone said in a chat with SPIN.ph in practice a day after the loss. “We didn’t have an answer for him. It’s just hard to deny him his position.”
“But the bottom line is we did not play a complete game,” the champion coach was quick to add. “Yeah, he beat us up, but offensively, we missed a bunch of … missed three or four dunks, we had some really uncharacteristic turnovers, and we had some breakdowns defensively that we don’t normally have.”
If the Gin Kings can regain their bearings in those areas, then Cone believes that can negate Smith’s dominance.
“Josh Smith is going to get his stuff. He’s that good, he’s that big. He’s going to get his stuff, but we can compete in other areas,” Cone said. “And I felt that was what we didn’t do last game. We lost in the other areas also. And if we’re going to lose to him and in all the other areas, then we don’t’ have a chance.
“We’re not going to have any magic defense to shut him down. He’s going to get his numbers,” he added. “But, like I said, there are some other areas of the game that we can take advantage of that we didn’t.”
Does Cone care to divulge those “areas?”
“No. I’d have to kill you if I tell you,” the American tactician said in jest on the eve of Game Two on Tuesday night also at the MOA Arena.
So it seems the Gin Kings will just have to live with Smith’s efficient production.
“Again, there’s not a whole lot you can do,” Cone, who deployed Japeth Aguilar, Joe Devance, and Dave Marcelo on Smith, said. “You do the best you can and you tip your cap to him when he makes a nice power move or gets a nice offensive rebound.”
“We got to compete in the other areas of the game,” he reiterated. “We got to be able to defend the other guys; we got to be more efficient offensively; we got to make sure we’re playing at the proper tempo – all those things we didn’t do last game.”