I was flipping around TV the other night and I came across that classic 1980s movie The Karate Kid. I liked The Karate Kid because it was one of the great underdog movies of all times that had that dramatic winning finish for plucky Daniel Laruso against the leading member of the evil Cobra Kai Karate School. And it got me thinking. The Cobra Kai were well trained in the art of karate but taught to execute in an aggressive attacking manner that often employed some questionable techniques. In competition they pushed the rules envelope to get away with as much as they could. Winning was the most important thing and there was no mercy. Then it dawned on me. Duke is the college basketball version of the Cobra Kai. These are skilled and well coached basketball players who also bring an intensity and aggressiveness that at times rubs people the wrong way and at times engage in questionable physical play. They push the envelope to win almost at all costs without mercy. It is still basketball but some one argue not basketball the way it should be played much the same it was in TKK. So tonight UNC takes the floor against the Cobra Kai. Let's all pray no one tells Greg Paulus to "sweep the leg" should Ty Lawson play.
Liveblogging after the jump.
8:23 PM: I will go ahead and sum up the 63 different takes I have heard and read on Ty Lawson. He is dressed and has come out to shoot but he is still a gametime decision which means...well...they will decide around gametime if he can go.
8:31 PM: Per Tar Heel Radio: Lawson is doing layups, still to be decided.
8:33 PM: I have a friend at the game who just text messaged me to say Lawson "looks good" and he does not appear to be limping.
8:46 PM: Ty Lawson will not play. It is all on QT.
8:56 PM: I agree with the sentiment from Eric Montross that states it is probably better for the rest of the team to know Lawson will not play at all instead of having him for limited minutes and less effective than normal. I do think it bodes well for Sunday against Clemson.
9:05 PM: Here we go.
9:06 PM: Nice defensive start save the Paulus three.
9:08 PM: UNC 6 Duke 5. They cannot give up those drives to the hoop by Nelson.
9:10 PM: Not a lot of pressure on QT and he is handling the ball well, the offense seems to be fine in the halfcourt.
9:11 PM: UNC came to play, at least so far. We will see how it is in a few mins when they come down off the high.
9:12 PM: Don't bring that stuff around Danny Green!
9:13 PM: 1st TV timeout(or the first time K gets to spend time working the refs) UNC 12 Duke 10. I like what I am seeing so far. The offense is there in the halfcourt and the defense has been good. The two threes hit were not bad to give up.
9:15 PM: Controlling the boards so far. Crucial minutes with Hansbrough on the bench.
9:17 PM: Thompson huge so far.
9:18 PM: Tim Brando keeps confusing Thompson and Stepheson.
9:19 PM: Nolan Smith has been far more aggressive on defense than Paulus was at the point.
9:20 PM: Two fouls on Graves. I guess we won't be seeing him for the rest of the half...possibly the game.
9:21 PM: First bad play of the night for QT, did not hurt UNC as Duke misses on the other end.
9:22 PM: Ha! Roy gets the 2nd TV timeout called by holding onto the ball after the made Duke basket. Tied at 18.
9:24 PM: Ever notice that Paulus has some rodent like facial qualities?
9:26 PM: Paulus should not be allowed to get that deep into the lane for a kickout.
9:27 PM: Nice charge taken. Two fouls on Nelson. Duke up seven but I believe hot shooting teams tend to cool in the 2nd half.
9:29 PM: Even officiating so far which is probably a miracle.
9:30 PM: 3rd TV timeout. Duke 27 UNC 22. Thompson came to play. I really wish Ellington could get on track.
9:34 PM: Well U.A. Paulus pushed off.
9:35 PM: Ellington has to hit open threes when they are available.
9:36 PM: The problem with QT right now is not anything Duke is doing. He is simply making bad decisions.
9:37 PM: And forget what I said about the refs, seems like they have turned.
9:39 PM: Duke might find some foul trouble if UNC can pound it inside.
9:41 PM: UNC down 10 now. They to string together a run to get this close by halftime.
9:42 PM: Final TV timeout. Duke 39 UNC 31
9:46 PM: 10 turnovers. UNC cannot do much right at the moment.
9:49 PM: Who is Paulus clapping to going to the timeout? UNC needs a couple of stops to bring this down to the 5-7 point range by half.
9:51 PM: How many freaking stupid mistakes are we going to make here? This is not Duke defense, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
9:52 PM: Wow, a rare sighting of the UNC fast break offense in this game.
9:53 PM: A lot of Duke players with two fouls.
9:55 PM: Very good end of half rally sparked by some good defense and Hansbrough getting involved. And HUGE playby QT to knock the ball away and essentially stop Duke from getting a good shot off.
Duke 42 UNC 39 at the half. Given the amount of trouble UNC has had doing anything, being down three might be a gift. UNC basically needs to get Hansbrough the ball and either Green or Ellington need to show up in the second half. UNC has had 12 turnovers and about half of them are just mental mistakes not great Duke defense. This game could have gotten away from the Heels but the reeled the Devils back in.
10:01 PM: Stat check. FGs: UNC 50% Duke 43%. The issue there is Duke is 8-16 from three. I think that will slowdown but who knows.
Tyler Hansbrough has 18 and 7. Deon Thompson has nine, Marcus Ginyard has seven. The big, huge, 800 lb gorilla in the room? Ellington and Green have two points between them.
Duke only had six FTs and only shooting 38% from inside the arc. If they can keep Duke about right there in those two areas and get some cooler shooting from them, UNC should be able to get control of the game.
10:08 PM: Okay, Raycom showed opposite shooting percentages than the ESPN box score.
10:11 PM: Wordpress apparently does server maintenance on Wednesday night so I might be spotty here.
10:13 PM: QT is feeling it or has decided he can take Paulus any time he wants.
10:14 PM: Still waiting for Paulus to miss one. Hansbrough's first trip to the line and he misses the first makes the second.
10:15 PM: Dang it Deon. Too many stupid fouls.
10:16 PM: QT has really played well since an early period of making some bad decisions.
10:18 PM: Nelson with four fouls and they count the basket on Ellington's tip in. So that evens out the loss of Thompson in my mind.
10:19 PM: That is a huge missed chance. Stepheson does not need to operate that far out.
10:20 PM: 1st TV timeout. Duke 55 UNC 51. Roy has one of his blackouts he gets from standing up too fast.
10:21 PM: Stopping dribble penetration should be easier with Nelson out. Paulus cannot take it to the rack and will look to kick to there is no need to collapse on him.
10:23 PM: Payback on missed kick calls sucks don't it Paulus?
10:24 PM: UNC needs to capitalize on this stretch here and get the lead back. Where are Green and Ellington at? Geez.
10:26 PM: Green has gone out to lunch on offense.
10:28 PM: Ellington can't buy one. Green can't buy one. Ginayrd cannot run the point. Hansbrough needs touches. Down seven and Duke has missed shots and again a turnover.
10:30 PM: Nothing is going right on offense. 2nd TV timeout and UNC is down seven and has been down the same seven for several possessions.
10:33 PM: Finally something. Surprised Scheyer did not just fall down there.
10:34 PM: Hansbrough touches and UNC gets some offense. Another missed FT though.
10:35 PM: Duke has already started the pull out game. Hansbrough cuts it to five and Duke wants a timeout.
10:37 PM: Matt Doherty and SMU are getting smoked by Memphis.
10:39 PM: Green did not play Henderson right. Why he cheated so far right there is beyond me.
10:41 PM: Ellington. Finally got a shot to fall.
10:43 PM: 3rd TV timeout. Duke 68 UNC 61. I just don't know what else UNC can do. They are stuck in this 5-7 point deficit and despite the fact they have had Duke shooting pretty cold, they cannot score to close in.
10:45 PM: Green/Ellington 2-14 in this game. That will be the difference should UNC lose.
10:47 PM: UNC cannot get what they need on offense and it is only a matter of time before it catches up with you.
10:48 PM: Well Ginyard will do.
10:50 PM: Hansbrough is missing every other FT. Ginyard is the other reliable option at this point. Unless Duke stops scoring and that is going to be tough with the clock killing offense in place, UNC is in some trouble here.
10:54 PM: Final TV timeout. UNC in a world of hurt.
10:58 PM: I am not sure what else Ellington needs to do. The ball was down in the rim for a full second and came out. I feel sorry for him at this point.
11:01 PM: This is just not their night. Hansbrough is 4-9 from the FT line.
11:04 PM: As much as I would like to believe UNC can find a way to overcome a nine point deficit with 1.5 mins left, I just don't see it happening, not the way things have gone tonight.
11:08 PM: UNC gets it to within five with 54 secs left as Danny Green decides to score.
11:11 PM: UNC needs some help to get back and missing FTs is not helping.
11:13 PM: Tim Brando and U.A. have no clue of history. Duke may have an inside track on a #1 but it does not discount UNC as one too.
Duke 89 UNC 78