Millien Clinches PBL Scoring Title

Congratulations are in order for AJ “Slim” Millien after he clinched the PBL scoring title tonight.  Tyronne Rayson of the Buffalo Stampede could have caught him in the scoring race and tried his best by putting up 37 points against Battle Creek, but Millien just pulled it out.  His scoring numbers (along with his minutes and shots) plummetted after joining the Rainmen from Augusta but a couple of high scoring affairs against Montreal kept him from losing too much ground.

He also finished 7th in rebounds (9.5 per game) and fourth in blocks (1.4 per game).  Millien is a great power forward and I hope Halifax can bring him back next year.  However, the only way that that will happen is if the new coach commits to getting him more touches and minutes and makes him the centre (or at least second option) in the offense.  And it’s important that the coach, not the owner, makes that commitment.

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Halifax defeat Montreal, 147-109

Another blowout win against a team of amateurs.   I feel bad for the Montreal guys and I actually really respect them for making the trip and playing hard, but this game was a mess.  It once again felt like an And1 street ball game.

Halifax lit up from beyond the arc, hitting nine three pointers in the first half, and scoring 17 total.  Fans got a free Big Mac… Caitlin and I gave ours away.

Everyone got at least 16 minutes, and eight out of ten players scored in the double digits.  Everyone also really looked like they were having fun, and Strick was completely in his element.

Twyman dropped 30 points and Tony Bennett almost had a tripple double with 21 points, 12 assists and eight steals.

Tyronne McNeal also went off for 16 points on five field goal attempts (he took ten trips to the line) but was aided by being five inches taller than the biggest guy on the other team.

The one thing I will say for Montreal is that they had a sense of humour about the situation and Tristan Martin is really good.  I expected Andre to sign him on Saturday night.

It was not Xs and Os basketball, but it was a fine way to end off the season and fans got to see some completely silly plays that are pretty rare.  I feel like the Rainmen should organize a Rainmen streetball tour of the maritimes or something this summer.  There’s a lot of that sort of skill on this team.

Halifax Defeat Montreal, 130-89

This game was not nearly as close as the score suggests.

At the game against Manchester I remarked to my dad that the Rainmen should organize an AND1 style streetball style exhibition game… that’s basically what this game became… lots of long alley-oops, Stick being Strick, guys jacking up threes to try to get the fans a big mac (they ended up hitting nine – not processed sandwhich for us), etc..

The Sasquatch basically did nothing but jack up shots from the outside due to being undersized and exhausted.  Halifax ended up finishing with a remarkable 75 rebounds. The teams combined for a an amazing 222 shot attempts.

On the plus side, Halifax got to play Tyronne McNeal.  He even started!  And he almost got a double-double, finishing with ten rebounds and eight points.

It was pretty crazy.  Tomorrow will likely be just as messy.

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Levingston Already Talking About Who He Wants Back Next Year

Levingston said he’s interested in keeping a core group of current players heading into next season.

He said players he wants to see back in Halifax include Tony Bennett, Michael Anderson, A.J. Millien and Crookshank.

“Those four guys, for sure,” said Levingston. “And Jimmy Twyman is a guy who can play for me any day.”

So… ummm… that’s awkward.  Reasons why I wish he hadn’t said any of this:

1)  The season isn’t even over yet… how do you think guys not mentioned feel?

2)  The personnel decisions should be made by the coach… and we don’t know who the coach will be yet.

3)  The four guys he wants back are scorers.

I don’t actually entirely disagree with this other than the timing.  Anderson is tough and a very good defender at the three, Bennett is one of the best Rainmen ever, and if given the opportunity I think Millien could be a star here like he was in Augusta.  Eric needs to come back since he’s basically a local guy at this point, but I think it’s clear that he may be at the point where he’s a sixth man.  His rebounding and athleticism (and when he concentrates on it, his defense) make him ideal for that role.

I’d also bring back Bailey, George, and maybe Ramey as role players.

This just seems like a bad idea to mention who you want back in an interview.

Pre-Game Get Together

I am not even going to bother writing a preview for this weekend’s games.  If Halifax don’t come out and win by 40 points a night then we should all be embarassed.

What is more important is that people are meeting before the game at the Elephant and Castle at 5:15pm  near Parade Square to drink, eat, and talk Rainmen.  It’s the last chance to do so in the evening until next season and last time I went there were over a dozen people in attendance.  Join the facebook group and tell your friends.

Best All Time Five? Worst All Time Five?

So after two seasons in the books (Halifax have two games left… but they’ll be terrible games against an undermanned Montreal team) it’s probably a good time to evaluate who the best players the Rainmen’s history as well as to look back at some of the worst.  People should post their own lists, but mine are after the jump. Continue reading

Rainmen Lose to Manchester, 105-118

The Rainmen lost a heartbreaker after playing a fantastic first half.  They jumped out to a ten point lead in the first thanks to some excellent ball movement and very good defense, but Manchester stormed back with huge third quarter and Halifax simply weren’t able to get the stops they needed.

The Millrats were undermanned and way undersized (they brought just eight players, but two ended up injured and played the whole game with three guards on the floor) but shot better then I think I’ve seen a team shoot from beyond the arc (63%!).  They also came out after the half and made some adjustments (a trapping defense to take advantage of Halifax’s laziness in bringing the ball up the floor) and figured out Halifax’s offensive sets.  Halifax look much better on offense than they did under Lewis, but the problem is that they only really know the first option on most of their offensive sets which means that once people figure out the first option Halifax have nowhere to go since they don’t know what plan B and C are.  To make matters worse, Halifax were unable to break Manchester’s very simple 2-3 zone, or use their size advantage in the post.

On defense Halifax were sloppy in transition and in the half court were slow to rotate, the end result was a lot of uncontested, or barely contested, three point attempts and Manchester were shooting the lights out. Manchester’s shooting was certainly helped by Halifax’s insistence on going under high screens and just allowing Manchester to shoot off the dribble.

Individually I thought Crookshanks played well except for one thing which he has done consistently since coming to Halifax:  He insists on dribbling the ball up the court in transition and turning the ball over.  Just give it to a guard!!!!!!!!!!!  I have no problem with him passing from the high post, but he should handle the ball in the full court.  That’s why we have guards.  It was infuriating as he played great defense and caused a number of turnovers/battled for tough rebounds only to toss the ball away.

Bennett played well and I thought he was going to light up in the fourth quarter and lead the charge back… but he couldn’t quite get it going.  He did miss a breakaway dunk off a steal that then resulted in a Manchester three pointer.  That dunk would have cut the lead to 3 but instead ended up in an 8 point Manchster lead, and Halifax never got any closer.  It was bad.

Millien had his best game as Rainman, scoring 19 points including two three point attempts.

Silverhorn was hurt and didn’t dress.  Zach Ramey warmed up but didn’t play.

It’s officially the end of Halifax’s slim play off hopes.  I guess I’ll have more thoughts on that another time.

The pre-game brunch for season ticket holders was really nice.  It was a good, professional spread and Andre and Jad greeted everyone at the door.  Twyman and Eric showed up to thank everyone for coming and there was a whole lot of very good food.  Certainly a meal of a monetary value which greatly exceeds the cost of a student ticket.

We rode Rob Spon, the Manchester coach, pretty tough all game and once it was clear that they had the game in the bag he was not shy about giving it back to us.  There are two types of coaches/players who do that:  the kind that are just angry about it (think Randy Gill) and the kind who see it as funny and are good spirited about it:  Coach Spon and Millrats GM  Ian McCarthy fall into the second category.  They’re both good guys who had a sense of humour about the belligerent Halifax fans, and I wish the Millrats the best of luck in the play offs.

Attendance was 3,743 which is the third highest of the season.  It’s also the highest ever total for a game that wasn’t either the season opener or promotional night (i.e. no kids night/BOGO night).  The Rainmen have averaged 2,812 fans per game this season with a total of 26,237 people coming out over the course of nine games.  The organization can crack the 30,000 tickets sold mark by getting 1,882 people per game for the last two games.  I would certainly call this a successful year 2 at the gate, and I would be shocked if the Rainmen didn’t make the jump into the 3,500 range next year.

Preview: Rainmen vs. Manchester

This is just  quick post to remind everyone that the Rainmen face the Manchester Millrats tomorrow at 2pm.  It is the last actually competetive game of the season for Halifax so I highly recomend attendance.
Manchester have already clinched the Atlantic division, but rested some key players in their last (exhibition) game against Vermont.  I’d expect the ‘Rats to play all their guys tomorrow, but take players out at the first sign of injury.  They want to go into the play offs on a winning streak, but at the same time they don’t want any injuries.

For Halifax this is a must win game, but even a win doesn’t mean they’re in the play offs. They’re still counting on an unlikely meltdown by Wilmington.  So it likely won’t matter if Halifax do win this, but it would be absolutely excruciating if Detroit did somehow beat the Sea Dawgs three times and Halifax didn’t get in because they lost tomorrow.  Unlikely scenerio, but enough to drive me insane.

Look for a physical game, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it got chippy with the Rainmen playing out an ultimately disapointing season.

On another note:  There is a season ticket holders brunch before the game.  Another excellent step towards adding value to season tickets and a good chance to see people and get our eat on before the game.

Vermont Clinch Wildcard, Halifax Almost Certainly Out of Play Offs

Vermont, unsurprisingly, thrashed the Buffalo Stampede today in Barre, VT.  As a result Halifax are almost certainly out of the play offs.  This means that Halifax cannot overtake Vermont for one of the wildcard spots, but there is a very, very slim chance that Halifax could finish with a better record than one of the Eastern conference teams:

  • If Halifax win all their remaining games they will finish 13-7
  • If Rochester (11-3) lose at least four of their five last games (3 against Buffalo, one against Wilmington, one against Chicago) they would finish 12-7, and Halifax would win.  If Rochester lose three games and finish 13-6, Rochester technically win the tie break by virtue of having a higher win percentage, but that would be pure chaos since they’re playing one less game due to a rival folding.
  • If Wilmington (12-4) lose their last 4 games (3 to Detroit, one to Rochester) they would finish 12-8, and Halifax would make the play offs.  If they lose 3 games, including one to Rochester Halifax are still out of the play offs since the Sea Dawgs have a better record against Divisional opponents at 8-1.  (The tie break system is a bit complicated)

So Halifax fans are either relying on Buffalo to suddenly turn it around in a huge way, or else we’re sitting around hoping that our favourite player, Randy “White Chocolate” Gill, has three insane games in a row against Wilmington.

Things aren’t looking good but the Rainmen have only themselves to blame.  They lost two games that they had no business losing at the MetroCentre against Quebec and Montreal, and had a good opportunity to defeat Vermont in Nova Scotia.   The MetroCentre should be a fortess for the Rainmen, but that really hasn’t been ths case this year.

Rainmen Defeat Buffalo, 94-96

There isn’t much to say since the boxscore is an absolute mess with no details on Halifax’s individual stats at all.

Unfortunately, Vermont have won two of their three home games this weekend and their third one is at home in Barre against a Buffalo team which is likely to be absolutely exhausted tomorrow.  If Vermont do beat Buffalo then Vermont clinch a wildcard spot which means that the only way that Halifax can get into the playoffs is through an absolutely insane collapse by Wilmington and Rochester.

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