So Halifax played another close game, but unlike Augusta they did not have a day off – making this their 3rd game in as many days taking to the court just 16 hours after their last game ended. Fatigue and injuries showed as Halifax started slow and didn’t really recover until the fourth quarter.
– Halifax dressed only eight seven guys with McNeal, Sanders, Twyman and SirVal all resting.
– I don’t know the scoring stats, but AJ Millien was definetely contained much better this game. They did a good job denying him position inside and making it hard to even get an entry pass into him. I liked what Rick Lewis did for most of the game – he had Crookshank playing D on him. If Crookshank is going to get a shot at top European clubs it is going to be by becoming an absolute lock-down defender. He has the lenth and athleticism to do it and getting tough assignments like Millien is a good start. As always, Eric did a good job disrupting passing lanes as well. Halifax experimented with a zone and some full court man to man as well.
– Mayes started and played the first quarter and a half but continues to struggle. He had some great dunks and rebounded well but his jump shot just will not go down. I think he needs to work on his defence. Being able to contain opposing guards will ensure he gets some minutes, and if he can pick off some passes for easy points then it can get him going.
– As you can guess from my last two comments, I love defense. Particularly full court defense, traps and people jamming up the passing lanes. Well in the fourth quarter Halifax showed the best defence I have seen out of the franchise. There was great hussle, smart scrambles, perfectly timed traps, and plenty of forced turn overs. It was really nice to see.
– Unfortunately at least three times they forced turnovers and tried to get out and run but then turned the ball over in their own backcourt leading to easy baskets for Augusta. Part of the problem was the lack of guards on the floor. If you want to be able to run you need to have a true point guard on the floor. I trust the ability of Dandridge to dump the ball in the post and hit guys coming off of screens, but I want a guy like Hammack charging the ball up court.
– I really, really like Mayes Hammack. I thought that he played really well today. He’s a great full court defender who can force lots of turnovers and has the ability to hit from the outside and get to the hoop. He’s got an unreal handle and never struggled to get the ball into the half court set. He’s also a smart guy – he demanded players clear out for him so he could post up the smaller Augusta guards and he reads the play really well on defense. Between him and Twyman the team are looking good at point guard.
– Jeanty had a beast of a game. He is such a tough banger, it’s unreal. Between him, Sanders and Bailey this team has the ability to really knock guys around and jam the ball down low for points in the paint. Jeanty is also for good at getting guys in foul trouble. He spent a lot of time guarding the opposing point guard down the stretch and did okay, but wasn’t quite quick enough at times. I think he can definately match up against bigger guards of average or slower quickness. His only negative was poor three point shooting even though he got a ton of open looks.
– The crowd looked good with about 700 people. The crowd was more into it then in the other two games with the place getting really loud during the Rainmen’s fourth quarter almost-comeback.
– Halifax started Hammack, Mayes, Dandridge, Silverhorn and Bailey. I think that come opening day Halifax will probably start Hammack, Dandridge, Silverhorn, Sanders and Bailey. I expect Crookshank, Jeanty and Twyman to be in the rotation with SirVal if he’s healthy. Mayes and McNeal probably won’t be getting a ton of burn, at least initially.
– These three games so far have been some of the most exciting Rainmen games that the franchise has played. It’s a great way to start of what will hopefully be a great season.
– In other news: Quebec defeated Montreal 90-89 and Manchester beat Vermont 94-90. Quebec played without both Larry House and Charles Fortier – arguably their two best players.