Halifax lose to Montreal, 105-103

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.


26 thoughts on “Halifax lose to Montreal, 105-103

  1. I was one of those people who could not make it out due to weather and I had trouble watching it at home. These games are the games Halifax need to be able to win. It was a home game against an opponent who is not top of the standings and who had already played a game this weekend. Halifax cannot drop games like this.

  2. Chris, you are right about Randy Gill. He is a bad apple. During the last 30 seconds of the Heaves game he pushed our point guard for no reason and then he just about tackled another player. There was no reason for him to do the last foul. There was 10 seconds left and they were down by 20.

  3. I agree. Randy Gill is a douche bag. He is one of my least favorite players to suit up in the Metro Centre.

    More thoughts to come.

  4. Randy Gill look terrifying. Glen Dandridge was terrible his only job should be to shoot and if he is not shooting good then he should be on the bench. Why did he play the most minutes he is only a scorer and he did not score. It was a more exciting game then Friday which is good!

  5. A dissapointing loss… it did not seem like the Rainmen could get into a rhythm and Montreal got a lot of good bounces. Defence still seems to be a struggle, but I saw some good hustle that helped keep the game close even though the outside shots were not falling.

    It still seems to me that the Rainmen need to create a more effective swing offence to create open 3’s while keeping a couple big men inside on the boards. The “reckless” drives to the hoop by the guards seem a bit to common, and not very effective.

    Not sure what was going on with Crookshank on the bench for so long, but it certainly did not help the game or the crowd.

  6. It is painful when the defence blocks a shot (or two) and then can’t mop up the boards, this happened a few times. We should have owned the interior and we did some good damage when Bailey was inside and pulling down boards. When he and Eric were out, we didn’t have any presence downlow. Gill was making weird noises coming out of the game..”I told you so expletive” yeah, you did nothing in the second half once we pushed out on you.. I can’t wait til he comes back to town!

  7. Lewis is an idiot for sitting Crook and good for Crook for sticking it to him on this in the Metro story. Dandridge was ineffective all game and stays in and the one guy who has any energy is on the bench.

    OK I’m bias but … COME ON LEWIS!!

  8. Chad Lucas confirms the benching story.

    Lewis is a friggin’ idiot. Not for benching Crookshank, but because he has not worked hard enough to get the trust and respect of the players so that when he does bench them they understand. Things like this look like “I am punishing Eric” instead of “I am looking to put in personnel that exploit mismatches” no matter what he says in post-game interviews. Look at the minutes he’s been giving Hammack – the guy misses some drives inside and instead of talking to him and calming him down (or running a set play to get him an easy look) he yanks him and messes up his confidence and rhythm. Dandridge often coasts through games but still gets his minutes – just like Blandon Ferguson did last year (just to be clear – Dandridge is no Ferguson). How do you expect to have defensive focus when Randy Gill is just running past Dandridge on the press all day?

  9. How much damage can Lewis do to this team? This whole thing is going to implode because he does not know what he is doing. No ball movement on the offense, no pressure defense, bad substitution patterns and now angering your star player. Can’t we just draft Mickey Fox or something?

  10. I’d also just like to point out that while Randy Gill was a jerk (and not in a fun way), the Sasquatch coach was really good humoured about the heckling thing. At one point he actually threw me a bottle of Vitamin Water and shook my hand afterwards.

  11. Great game to watch,
    Prob one of the most exciting i’ve seen….even with the small crowd fans were more into it.
    I do agree however, that Eric be benched from time to time, but it did hurt us. He just has this see if you dont play me we will loose attitude….like hes all the teams got sometimes.
    That being sad he has every right to think that way,
    I will say my 5 yr old kept sulking all game for crookshanks to play, he is def a fan fav.

  12. I haven’t seen the print edition of today’s Herald but when I was on the bus I was surrounded by people reading the Metro and the front page story was on the Rainmen… but the headline was “RAINMEN FORWARD BENCHED.” When it comes to opening weekend press I am sure that the Rainmen wanted to get some front page coverage but I am sure that’s not what they wanted in Helvetica Bold staring back at every person taking a bus to work. Must have been a slow news cycle.

  13. Lewis and Crookshank: both get over these stupid fights. They have been going at it since the preseason. Just drop it, both of you. The season is too short to play these stupid games with each other.

    Dandridge: why did Lewis play him so much even though he was not playing well? His shot was way off, and playing him when you are trying to press is just stupid. I like him, but this was not his game. Why did he play so much?

    Brown: I was going to touch on this the other game. I wasn’t disappointed in him for what you pointed out, Chris. I knew he would have poor court vision and bad shot selection. But he also only has an average handle, an average shot and unspectacular cuts to the rim. I thought he would be better in those areas. I do, however, like him off the bench. He has proven he can score, and his defense has been surprisingly good. He is not a point guard, but as a shooting guard he is fairly solid. Also, when he can just run it down the court (not having to do much ball handling) he is blisteringly fast.

    Starting line-up: there is a reason teams start their best line-up. You want to set a tone and pull ahead early. Lewis’ starters make no sense. Why do we play small? It’s time to start your best guys, so we don’t fall behind like last night. Crookshank and Sanders should be starting in the front court.

    McNeal: Right now, I don’t know if he can play at this level. Morton blew by him. He doesn’t like to rebound. He has a nice outside touch, but is that really what we want? I think Tyler has a better game than this guy.

  14. Re: Eric being benched. Having been both a player and a coach, I recognize that sometimes players have to learn who is running the show. Coach Lewis certainly thought he was right in sitting Eric out to see how another mix of players would do.

    However, when the player is better at his job than the coach is, sitting a player — especially in a close game — can make for hurt feelings and potential for dissension among the team members, as people pick sides in the argument.

    Another dangerous tactic is when a coach keeps in a marquis player when he is having an off night. Remember Patrick Roy’s last game and eventual departure from the Canadiens?

    There is probably much more to this story than any of us in the public know, but hopefully this situation doesn’t turn into a power struggle, since that will only hurt the team. Everyone should be moving in the same direction, otherwise we will waste the potential that this team has for a championship.

    P.S. I hope Bailey is OK. His stats show that he is the unsung hero so far this season.

  15. I hate how this is playing out in the newspapers. It’s dumb. The problem is that Lewis a) Should have phrased it as “looking for a combination that worked on the court” not as a punishment for not playing hard and b) has no respect or trust from his players. I don’t get how this could be a problem all week long and he didn’t deal with it then. And publicly chastising your team in the local press is just bad form. Folks need to grow up.

    And yeah, I really hope that Bailey is okay. I couldn’t really see what happened but I hope it was just a charlie horse or slight bruise or something and that nothing got pulled.

  16. I just watched the webcast for a bit. Mavs sounded infinitely more comfortable and Coach Kendrick was a great colour guy. Everything seemed to be a bit smoother in the broadcast. If the quality keeps on improving like this it’ll be top notch -it’s already better than east link broadcasts.

  17. Lets get it together Rainmen..don’t make me fly up there and play peacemaker…!!!! STAY FOCUSED and respect one another..!!!!

  18. Hey KD, glad to see you are still in contact! We may need you to visit and straighten some people out! How is your season going in Wilmington?

  19. Halifax need to put this stuff behind them. There is a zero percent chance of Lewis being replaced mid-season in a 20 game season, and the Rainmen need to split these two road games coming up at the very least. A 4-2 start is good, a 5-1 start would be fantastic, but a 3-3 start is a straight up disappointment. At the end of the season Levingston and Jad need to ask themselves if Rick Lewis is the coach they want leading this franchise, until then there is nothing the players can do. Both the players and the coach need to be careful about what they say to the media, airing this stuff so publicly is not going to help.

  20. Lewis is an idiot!Eric is the best he had 12 points and 10 rebs even after lewis benched him why doesnt andrea Levingston coach the team?

  21. Here is my Lewis discussion from my blog…Rick Lewis
    I want to say that Lewis is a very well spoken man with a great ability to relate to people and create a connection. I would imagine this is why he has done so well til now as a coach. It must be hard to coach players that are trying to get a good statline in order to try and make it to the show. To think we can get players to give up for the greater good, may not be possible in this league. I don’t believe that because we didn’t see QC or MTL take really poor shots. Our team, while talented, is selfish. We seem to have a great team spirit (all credit to coach and owner) but are not basketball smart as a team. We need to really play to our players strengths. Lets get some movement to open lanes and get our feet moving instead of chucking up threes when noone is under the net to rebound. That part is frustrating to fans and players alike. I hope that by the second half of the season, Lewis will allow the team to evolve and get them playing better as a team, instead of just individuals.

  22. Chris Cochrane’s take on the weekend in general and the Crookshank/Lewis blow up in particular: http://thechronicleherald.ca/Sports/9010277.html
    “It was good to see open controversy after Sunday’s game, resulting from the Crookshank benching. When the team airs such business publicly, it allows the fans to feel they know more about what’s happening with their team. Last season, it seemed the Rainmen kept a tight lid on many internal matters and it tended to curb fan discussion. I like a more open approach. Now fans can debate the Crookshank-Lewis matter. Any debate of that nature is good for the team.”

    I do think that in a way it is best for the Rainmen to just be public about it rather than having people like me leak the story like what happened with Hardy Riley last year (and for the record, I think I over-reacted to that story. I was new to this blogging thing, and more importantly new to this minor league basketball thing… but you live, you learn). That said, if anyone close to the team wants to give me info to leak send me an e-mail chris902 (at) gmail (dot) com

    I also am not sure if the tight PR lid that the Rainmen have kept on the team curbed fan discussion, in a way it promoted more, although less accurate discussion, as a result of guessing and rumour mongering. Either way, I don’t feel like the Rainmen have ever suffered from a lack of discussion. I also think it’s good that there is discussion about how much playing time a player gets, as opposed to questions about league issues.

  23. Coach Lewis is a great Coach,one of THE best I have had. As a player it is important to respect and carry out the orders given to you PERIOD. That goes for anyone from the 12th to 1 player on the team. A Parent commands respects from a child/ A teacher deserves respect from a student/A player should respect their Coach even, if they don’t agree. Thats where communication comes into factor and understanding one another…. all will workout well…hopefully

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