Halifax opened the season with a solid win against the Kebs. Quebec got taken out of their game by getting caught up in battling the officials and Halifax road out a few rough patches to get back in the game. You can get the boxscore on the PBL stat page, you can see some pictures taken by Richard LaFortune here and Chad Lucas live blogged the whole thing. My thoughts are available in point form after the jump.
– The crowd was 4,012 which is about 300 people smaller than last year’s franchise opener and biggest crowd ever. I gather it’s not as high as Andre had hoped, but it’s still great. The crowd was pretty subdued until a second quarter pass off the backboard for a Crookshank dunk got people into it. Late in the fourth quarter some drunk dudes behind me joined in the heckling and the crowd in general started really getting into it.
– Lewis showed some actual coaching adjustments, particularly when it came to defending the pick and roll. His substituting pattern was totally reasonable with nine guys getting rotation minutes.
– SirVal and Mayes both had games which I would call bad. Or atleast Brown was mediocre and Mayes was bad. I get the feeling that SirVal is the highest paid Rainman, or at least right up there with Eric, and he just did not produce. He showed some flashes of brilliance, but he seems to get in those headspace where he thinks “Fuck it. I’m SirValiant Brown! I almost led the NCAA in scoring as a freshman! I can hit this shot!” and then takes a contested deep three of the dribble or drives into the crowded lane and just hucks the ball up. He really messes up ball rotations as a result of his total lack of conscience. Mayes took to bad shots out of rhythm and didn’t do much else.
– Hammack started but played on 11 minutes. He seemed a bit shakey with his dribble at times but I thought he should have had more minutes. He had 7 points on 75% shooting and more importantly, the team just looks terrible with Dandridge trying to run the point. Lewis seems to ignore the fact that Halifax needs ball handlers to run the fast break, and Dandridge had six assists and shot way too many jump shots (8 of 9 shots were from beyond the arc and he only knocked down two three pointers).
– This was Halifax worst regular season game when it came to shooting three pointers. They hit just 8-22 or 36% of their attempts but they still won convincingly and Silverhorn did not attempt a three point shot. Personally I see this as a positive, not a negative. My big fear about the team is that they run the risk of knowing that if they get in trouble they can just jack up some threes and pull out the win, being able to win when the long range guns aren’t firing is something Halifax had to do, and I am glad they did it now.
– Crookshank and Sanders finished as the team’s leading scorers with 26 points each. Eric had two blocks to Sanders’ zero, and but Rob outrebounded Eric 9-7. Twyman chipped in with 15 – all of them in the first half.
– I listed three “What Halifax Need to do to Win” point before the game and Halifax really managed to pull of all three
- Keep the Kebs from Getting Offensive Boards – Halifax out-rebounded the Kebs 41-34 and limited them to just 14 offensive boards.
- Make Sure No Keb Has a Good Individual Game – The Kebs leading scorer was Fortier with 24, which is good, but he didn’t dominate and had to work hard to get those points and shot just 8 for 18.
- The Big Men Need to Show Up – Boy howdy did they ever. Crookshank and Sanders combined for 52 points with Sanders shooting 100% from the field. Jeanty had a bit of an off game, but Bailey supplied good defense, rebounding and energy. Tyronne McNeal even looked good in his four minutes hitting a great 20 foot fade away jumper and then just bowling over JP Morin in the post (Morin probably took a dive… the guy was flopping all over the place) Great game from the bigs and the offense looks best when Eric and Rob get touches early in the shot clock. Jonas Pierre was a non-factor after having a dominant opening weekend.
– The actual game day production seems to have taken a step down. There were fewer on-court games (and the ones that did happen sucked), the dancers got on late and it just seemed a bit sloppier. I am quite sure that the games are being handled by a different crew than last year which is too bad. Not having Mavs doing the announcing also hurt, too. Hopefully the kinks get worked out. The whole production lacked the feel of professionalism that it had last season.
– In other results, Vermont had the first blow out of the PBL season with a 133-111 home win against the Montreal Sasquatch. The ‘Heaves are now 1-0 and Montreal are 1-2. The Sasquatch will try to get back up to .500 on Sunday when they come to the MetroCentre.
I just watched about 15 minutes of the middle of the game on the Haligonia webcast. The production values are quite high with one glaring weakness: it’s just the direct feed from the jumbotron video so you end up with some unrelated graphics like 50/50 draw tickets. I actually thought Mav’s play by play was good, particularly for the first try, and I am not just saying that because I like the guy. He seemed a bit overwhelmed from time to time and didn’t always know how to deal with the strange assortment of graphics that appeared in front of him (“And as you can see the winning 50/50 ticket for tonight is *image disapears*… uhh… yellow”) and tried to fit too much in. He really, really needs a partner doing colour commentary. He needs to have someone to talk (and to have a conversation with him) during time outs, to be able to bring up information on players, and to just allow him to not have to fill air time every single second. He told me at half time that the plan is to get an assortment of high school coaches to serve as guest colour commentators for webcasts… while I admit it’s good to bring in people who know the game, I think I’d prefer consistancy. The best play-by-play/colour teams are a result of chemistry and knowing how to work with someone and play off each other, you can’t do that anew every game. I also think that it’s importantly that the people brought in know about the Rainmen, the league and their opposition – will high school coaches have time to do the homework needed to provide actual analysis beyond the Xs and Os? I think trying to get a retired university or high school coach or recently graduated CIS player to do it game in and game out would be ideal situation… basically I just think they need consistancy. You can’t have new guys coming in fresh every game and expect things to click.