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.

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.

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.

Halifax Defeat Quebec, 95-84

The box score is up here.

– Starting line up was Twyman, Bennnett, Jeanty, Strick, Bailey.

– Two shocking stats:  Bailey was the team’s leading scorer and Millien did not play.  There’s no word on if he was hurt, but if he was benched/didn’t make the trip on a coach’s decision then he must be pissed.  This is not what he or anyone else envisioned his role would be.  I know the front court is crowded, but why bring him in if he’s not getting burn?  I think playing him at small forward (where Berry is clearly unhappy with his options) is viable.  Of course, we’ll have to see why he didn’t play.  It could simply be a tweaked ankle or the nasty flu that’s making its rounds in Halifax.

– Bennett had a quiet scoring game but chipped in with nine assists and six boards.  I have to believe he’s the best player on this team right now.

– It was balanced scoring but Eric and Bailey both put up double doubles and Eric had three blocks and two steals.  17/12/3 are the kinds of numbers we expected from him this season but the turmoil (suspension, coaching change, front court player movements) have made it hard for him to find a groove.  Bailey got his numbers in just 17 minutes appearently.

– Halifax’s three point shooting woes continue.  Remember the intitial pre-season plan with our two 6’6″ wing players dropping bombs from the outside if someone tried to bring the double team?  Yeah… that’s not working out so well.  Halifax are second last in the league in three point shooting with only Montreal (the team playing with a skeleton roster of locals) hitting a lower percentage of their three point attempts.  Dandridge is a phenomenal 29% – 76th in the league.  Silverhorn is actually shooting a very good 46% (15th in the league) but the three guards are not exactly connecting at a solid rate with Twyman (34%), Bennett (31%) and Ramey (21%) all struggling to hit deep shots consistently.  Jeanty is 0-12 but I can’t really fault him since unlike some guys he doesn’t keep heaving them up when they aren’t falling.  Sure I’d like to see him knock down most of his attempts but if he’s only taking 0.8 three pointers a game I am not going to get mad about it.

Recap: Halifax vs. Montreal… CANCELED

So yeah… the game tonight was canceled.  It was pretty much the worst road game to be canceled since a lot of Halifax fans made the trip up to see the game.

Hopefully someone who was there can clarify why it was canceled.  What a nightmare.

edit:

Here is the official statement by Halifax:

HALIFAX@MONTREAL – GAME CANCELLED

02/28/2009 8:23 AM


Here is the official statement by the PBL:

Premier Basketball League Montreal Statement

Chicago IL…The PBL was forced to cancel the games scheduled in Montreal this weekend.

“Unfortunately the arena management group in charge of the arena that had been secured for the weekend games, informed the ownership group in Montreal on Friday that the venue could not be used,” said Thomas Doyle PBL CEO. “To the credit of the Montreal organization they attempted to find a replacement venue, however the venue available did not comply with the required PBL standards and could not be used. We appreciate the cooperation of all of the organizations involved in this weekends games efforts to work with the league and the understanding that PBL requirements must be met to play.”

Despite it’s title it’s not as profound as the Port Huron Statement, but more to the point it also doesn’t clarify if that game was a win for Halifax or not.  Both games in Montreal this weekend have simply been removed from the schedule and Halifax were not given a win for last night’s non-game.  This could have huge consequences as Wilmington are leading the wildcard race and Halifax are mathematically in the running.  I am willing to bet that the management of the Vermont Frost Heaves will be adamant that the games should not count as wins when it comes time for the weekly PBL conference call.

Halifax Rainmen Owner Andre Levingston contacted the league prior to last night’s game as to the poor conditions at the facility booked to host the game. Levingston felt the court was unsafe for the team to play on.

The league agreed and cancelled the game. The Rainmen travel to Quebec tonight to take on the Kebs.

Rainmen Lose to Vermont, 100-98

It was a tough loss for the Rainmen.  They started slow but managed to fight back in the third and fourth quarters.  The big difference on the night was free throw shooting – Halifax shot just 51% from the line and lost by two points, which hurt particularly bad because they got to the line a lot by virtue of refusing to settle for jump shots.

Vermont hit a lot of big shots and Thomas Sanders played absolutely out of his mind on defense.  I think he’s probably the most underrated player in the PBL right now.  Callier also played well on the offensive end and Greg Plumber managed a hot streak in the third that kept Halifax from getting some momentum to pull ahead.

Despite some poor play Halifax kept it close enough to be in the game on the final shot, and that’s all you can ask for when playing poorly.  Unfortunately Twyman (who failed to score all game) ended up with the ball and took a fadeaway three from the corner that careened out of bounds.  I can only assume that it was a broken play.

Two other thoughts:

– Halifax failed to get stops when they needed them.  Silverhorn and Eric in particular need to step up their defensive games.

– There is a reason why Vermont lead the league in fouls.  I sometimes wonder if they’re dirtier than Manchester and Callier almost started a brawl tonight.

Rainmen Lose to Quebec, 95-78

What a mess.  Halifax played worse than I saw them play all year in a game that can best be described as embarassing.  The only Halifax player who I would describe as having a “good” game was Tony Bennett who continues to impress and is now without a doubt the best wing player Halifax have ever had.  Bailey and Jeanty had alright games but overall Halifax’s bigs got outplayed by a very large, very physical Quebec team.

Quebec slowed the game down and grinded it out and Halifax made one mental error after another and managed to lose a game they had to win – the Frost Heaves are playing each other today which means that Halifax had the chance to gain ground on one of them but really blew the chance.
There are no real excuses for this loss.  It was ugly and embarrassing and it means that Halifax now have zero room for error in their remaining games.

Rainmen Defeat Detroit, 100-89

An 11 point win in a game that never should have been this close.  Detroit had some hot shooting (combined with a few too many interior defensive let downs) which kept them in the game.  Some other thoughts below:

– Randy Gill is really unlikeable and I have never seen a player in the MetroCentre get as negative a reception as he got.  It started with the introductions and continued on with every single time he touched the ball.  In addition he was berated non-stop and managed to get one technical and one more foul which should have been a technical.  What a jack ass. I may have crossed a line when I called him a meth addict.

– Huge game for Bennett – he’s really a great two guard and is quite possibly the second best player (after Anderson) on the team.

– Halifax caused 19 turnovers and scored 32 points off of said turnovers.  Fantabolous.

It was a good game, but I am tired and can’t think of anything else to say.

Halifax Defeat Vermont, 108-97

Halifax finally got the monkey of their back with a big 108-97 win over the Frost Heaves and move one step closer to getting into the play offs.  Halifax played great under new coach Les Berry and in a lot of ways looked like a totally different team.

Some quick thoughts:

– Pretty large and very loud home crowd on hand to watch the game.  There was one awesome sign that I saw which read “Eric 1, Lewis 0.”  It ruled.  I think the crowd really proves that the team needs to look at changing the ticket pricing structure and adjust it downward, at least for kids (14 and under should really be $5 all the time).

–  Halifax’s offense looked much better with some real offensive sets.  I was glad to see that even with the new offensive sets it wasn’t smothering – there were lots of options for players and tons of freedom within the system.  It was a joy to watch.

– The big difference was on defense with guys tracking their men off the ball and pushing for turnovers in a way I have not seen in two years.

– Huge games by Bennett, Silverhorn and Bailey.  Bennett led all scorers with 28 points and also chipped in four boards, five assists and three steals (and only one turnover!).  He also was breaking guys down off the dribble pretty much whenever he wanted and played solid D. Silverhorn scored 25 points on 8-13 shooting (including 5-7 on three point attempts) and added 4 steals.  Bailey had 12 points and 13 rebounds and just looked fanstastic diving for loose balls, altering shots and doing everything we’d hoped he’d do when it was announced that he was signed.

– Some players really benefitted from Berry’s hiring even in the first game – Silverhorn, Bennett, Bailey and Ramey all looked fantastic.  Other guys are taking on a different role and will need to adjust (Crookshank comes to mind), but some guys just looked horribly out of place.  I don’t know if Strick can really keep up with the kind of defensive demands that Berry wants, and I think we now know why Dandridge never saw the court at Mizzou – he looked totally lost in the half court offense.  He simply had no idea what to do in a very simple 1-4 set.  Hammack also seemed to be having trouble for some reason even though I assumed he’d shine under a new coach.

– The Rainmen do need to make some offensive adjustments, in particular they need to get the ball into the front court sooner.  They usually take 6 seconds to get across the time line and don’t get into their offensive sets until there’s 14 or 15 seconds left on the clock and a few times they simply ran out of time and either had the shot clock go off or rushed a terrible shot.  Those things actually happened less than I had expected given the short amount of practice they’ve had and given another week I think things will really, really click.

– Crookshank looks like he pulled a muscle (groin maybe?) but I am hoping he’ll recover and be back for next weekend.

– Will Voigt finally got a technical foul – but only after Les Berry was given a pretty questinable one.  I was pretty shocked in the one Berry got and it really re-enforces my belief that the refs are biased against Halifax at home.  They’re all local guys so I think that they feel they need to overcompensate.  Neither Berry nor Voigt were any worse than most coaches I’ve seen come through so it was pretty surprising.

–  Vermont really seemed to settle for the jump shots a bit too much and while they shot well from outside the arc their mid-range shots off the dribble did not want to go in.  I am excited for the rematch.

Halifax Lose to Manchester, 104-92

Just in case us Rainmen fans were getting too cocky, Halifax dropped a 12 point decision to the Millrats tonight.  I tuned in briefly only to look at something that I can only assume was a work by Martha Rosler (or more likely someone hit the invert colours button on the camera) and saw the score and went to take a nap.

I didn’t watch it so I don’t have a whole lot to say.  But here are a few thoughts:

– What is up with with Hammack’s playing time?  He got just 4 minutes today.  He must be more than slightly unhappy.  Jeanty did not play at all… I assume that he’s hurt.

– Why do Bennett’s stats never come up on crez?  He had somewhere between zero and 27 points tonight… I think

– Halifax now must defeat Vermont next weekend.  I feel like I am watching a team on a treadmill.

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