It was a tight game and fun to watch in person, but there was a small crowd unfortunately. If you’re reading this and you’re not from Halifax it’s worth noting that there was a pretty huge downpour of snow which started at about noon and is still coming down. You should also note that Halifax has a horrible snow removal system. As a result the stands were almost empty with probably about 800 people in the cavernous MetroCentre. Anyway, here are my thoughts:
– Did anyone who saw that game really feel like Montreal won? Personally I thought it felt like a classic example of a team managing to find ways to lose. That’s not to take anything away from Montreal – they played hard, came out firing to start the game and kept the pressure on Halifax. The Rainmen simply could not get anything going and it showed in the final result.
– The Montreal team seems to absolutely hate each other. They just ripped into each other on the court when they made mistakes. They in general seemed like a team full of bad attitudes – they complained to the ref on every call, and Randy Gill tried to kick out Zach Ramey’s legs after he got called for traveling.
– Halifax were ice cold from outside shooting just 24% on three pointers. Silverhorn was hurt and did not dress and Glen Dandridge looked particularly bad shooting just 1-6 on three point attempts including two air balls.
– Despite his poor play Dandridge led the team in minutes and played all of crunch time despite the fact that he lacked the speed to stay in front of Randy Gill which basically neutralized the Rainmen’s press and also let Gill get to the basket almost at will in the half court. Gill was easily contained when Ramey and SirVal were on him.
– Speaking of Brown – he finally came out and impressed me. He had some reckless drives to the hoop and a couple of poor shot choices early in the game but once he settled down he was Halifax best perimeter defender and hit some clutch baskets to keep Halifax in the game. Unfortunately he sat out the final stretch until there was 1:34 left in the game.
– McNeal only played a few minutes and looked scared of contact. If he can’t stay on the court when he’s matched up against Xavier “310 lbs” Morton then I don’t know when he’s going to be able to get on the floor.
– ATTN: RAINMEN: In the PBL you can play the ball after it hits the rim even if it is over the cylinder.
– Eric sat our for most of the first, second and even third quarters. I am not sure what happend but it looked like he got in an argument with Lewis over something.
– Montreal were led in scoring by John Ruffus who had 31 points, mostly downlow with hussle points and second chance opportunities. I actually thought the best player for Montreal was Manix Auriental who played guarded Halifax’s point guards for much of the game. The guy is crazy long for being 6’2″ and is the best perimeter defender I have seen play in the MetroCentre. Kevin Dulude was not such a great defender: eight minutes and five personal fouls. He did manage to take a cheap shot on Rob Sanders when the refs weren’t looking and dropped him with an elbow to the jaw, but that was about the extent of his contribution to the game.
– Kevin Dulude is actually the key to seeing why I think the Rainmen lost this game in a way. You see, in his eight minutes in the game the 6’4 point guard from RMC was guarding Rob Sanders. Sanders did his best to try to post the guy up and clear out one side for the backdown on the much smaller Dulude, but Lewis never gave any sort of instructions on the issue from what I could see. At one point Sanders cleared the side out and was demanding the ball and then Dandridge ran all the way across the court and clogged up the passing lane so the point guard couldn’t get the ball inside to Sanders. When Sanders did get the ball on Dulude he destroyed him, getting fouled every time. You see, I’ve been pretty vocal about saying that Montreal are crazy undersized but that isn’t actually a disadvantage unless the other team tries to exploit those mismatches. Halifax didn’t. At all. How many times did we see Dandridge post up the 6’1 (6’2 on paper) Randy Gill? How did Halifax give up 20 offensive rebounds and get out-rebounded 44-37 against a team that used a PG as a back up powerforward? It’s cliche to say that the game of basketball is about mismatches, but if you don’t punish teams for going small against you then what is to stop them from doing so? I thought that the same coaching problems down the stretch that always haunt Halifax (not exploiting mis-matches, not boxing out properly, not having any set plays coming of times outs, failing to foul early in the shot clock when you need to, etc.) continue to haunt them. It is just frustrating as a fan to see.