Rainmen Lose to Manchester, 111-112

I couldn’t make the radio broadcast work on my computer for some reason so I didn’t get to hear the game.  But what a disapontment.  This is just Manchester’s second win in 11 games.  Manchester lost two of their better players over the last week and they’re missing their starting centre, Souleyman Wayne, plus they were involved in a brawl in Manchester and Halifax still can’t beat them? What a joke.  Four losses in the last five games for Halifax.  I want Lewis gone.

No stats or recaps available yet, but while I was browsing the Manchester website I found this gem:

Game Preview

The Halifax Rainmen, featuring former 7 yr NBA veteran Sam Mack, visits the home of the Millrats!
Yeah… so he never showed up in Halifax (I wonder what’s up with that) and was announced in a press release back in August.  I can’t believe Manchester don’t even bother to check the other team’s roster before they put that on their website.  Good work, Millrats.
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Boston Beats Manchester

I try not to talk too much about games that aren’t directly related to the Rainmen, but I found this to be pretty interesting:  the Blizzard beat the Millrats 130-127 last night.  This is Manchester’s third loss in a row and their next game is against Quebec, in QC.  The Kebs have beaten them twice this season.  Then on Sunday they play Vermont.  2007 may end with Manchester losing five in a row, and Halifax winning five in a row.  Kind of crazy.

The other thing worth looking at is that all three of Boston’s top scorers against Manchester did not play in Halifax.

Manchester Seriously Pursuing D-League Membership

It goes without saying that the solid teams in the ABA are all looking for a way out before the 2008-2009 season begins (if it begins).  I still think that in a perfect world the north eastern teams would all join the NBA-DL, and I talked about Manchester’s d-league dreams a few weeks ago.

 The New Hampshire Union Leader is reporting that they’re seriously looking into membership for as soon as next year.  (On an unrelated note:  how awesome is it that the NH paper is called the Union Leader?)  There are three things I found interesting in the article:

  • Initial league fees for the D-league are about $1 000 000
  • Manchester are only drawing about 300 fans
  • The have an owner who made his fortune on wall street and retired at 32.

Rainmen lose to Millrats, 112 – 105

The daily newspapers covered it in brief.  The game went into overtime but I don’t know much about it since the Rainmen’s boxscores aren’t up yet.  The papers suggest that Halifax came back in the fourth, but ran out of gas in overtime.  Manchester shot an absurd 47 free throws and Rob Sanders put up 27 points.  I think that Halifax should be able to beat Manchester eventually… right?

Halifax Lose to Manchester 121-112

Sorry that this is being updated late, but I had to go to work after the game. I’ll update using the ever popular bullet point form:

– Kadiri Richard started and played 40+ minutes last night. The boxscores on the Rainmen website do no include minutes played anymore. He was a big part of why the game was closer. He put up six blocks, including one on 6’11 Wane, but he also had nine points and didn’t miss a shot (4-4 from the field, 1-1 from the line). He also altered shots and played tough D on Sanders. His shot blocking really lets the Rainmen run the floor, I hope Lewis keeps giving him time.

– Halifax came out with much more energy and focus early, but the late second/early third quarter killed us. Part of the reason that we got so far behind is that Lewis kept his starters in for virtually the whole game until the fourth.

– Halifax’s pre-game introduction is way too long. The whole thing last thirteen minutes, and by the time the starting line up for Halifax is announced everyone is bored and just wants to see some basketball.

– Manchester shot really, really well all weekend. They were

– The crowd was okay again tonight. I would say it was about 1700. The thing that gets me is that on opening night there were probably 600+ people there just for Derico Wiggington Downey – all chanting his name, tons sitting courtside in their dope-as-fuck suits and cheering as soon as he did anything. Well where the hell are you now? Showing up opening night is not supporting him and the team – showing up every night is. Is it because we’re losing? Because he isn’t getting playing time? Because it was cool to play big-shot in courtside seats once, but now you’re bored? Fair weather fans.

– The Rainmen adjusted and played a 1-3-1 zone that caused lots of headaches for Manchester early on, but they figured out how to break it during their run in the middle of the game and the Rainmen stuck with it. I felt like they should have switched into man for that stretch when Manchester were shooting the lights out. Oh well.

– Me and my buddy’s heckling has been getting some recognition from the media. The Daily News mentioned some of my pre-game heckling during the introductions in their article. Chad Lucas’ excellent blog on the Herald website mentions the fact that we believe that Rob Sanders is a jerk. I am always impressed with how much crap the people who sit around us put up with.

– Rob Sanders is a jerk.

Rainmen lose to Manchester 124-106

Tough loss. It was a bit out of hand but Halifax closed the gap late in the fourth, Manchester threw their starting PG in and retook control. Quick thoughts:

– The Weather Girls have the exact same number of plays as the Rainmen – three. I already know what all three of those plays are move by move, and most of the steps to the dances (it’s a lot of clapping your hands and gyrating).

– Kadiri Richard did not play, despite Silverhorn getting in early foul trouble. I had thought that maybe he’s injured, but I learned after the game that it was a coach’s decision to sit him on the bench. That is insane. We got run off the boards and had no help defense at all on penetration: exactly what Richard brings to the table. Plus our starting SF was in foul trouble. What a questionable coaching decision. (Derico Wiggington warmed up but also did not play, and James Booyer was on the bench in street clothes).

– Attendance was probably in the 1000 – 1200 range. Not bad at all but probably below the break even. I think the crowd will be bigger on Friday when it’s not a school night. Programs also increased in price from $1 to $2. The crowd had good energy.

– Every time on defense the announcer/DJ does not need to pump in pre-recorded “D-FENSE” chants. Let the fans choose when to be loud, don’t drown them out (there were times where a chant started organically from the crowd and then was thrown off by the recording).

– Jermaine Anderson is really, really good and needs to start. The offense was much better and more organized with him in the game. Other teams seem to have identified us as a team that can’t deal with pressure.

See you all tomorrow at the game.

Starting Lineup for Tonight

There are a few options that the Rainmen could go with this Thursday:

– They could start all the Atlantic Canadian guys again just to please the homers in the audience. But I think that doing it during the home opener is enough and they realize that winning this game will draw more fans than losing it.

– They could go with the line up they used on the road:

PG – Benoite
SG – Blandon Ferguson
SF – Silverhorn
PF – Eichelberger
C -Crookshank

Of course, that line up got blown out twice.

– I’d like to see them do this:

PG – Anderson
SG – Williams
SF – Silverhorn
PF – Oliver
C – Crookshank

Then bring Benoite off the bench at the PG when we need defense/ball handling, and Riley in when we need energy/scoring on the full court offense. Eichelberger as the first big man off the bench, with Kadiri Richard coming in at the 3 from the bench (and moving Silverhorn to SG).

Having Richard at the 3 allows him to provide help defense against Manchester’s bigs – he is a good shotblocker off the ball, but he gets in foul trouble bodying up against other big men. Silverhorn alsowould cause match up problems for John Huggins, Manchester’s starting two guard. He’s only 6’2 and is a jump shooter. Silverhorn can easily shoot over him, and Huggins doesn’t penetrate, meaning that Silverhorn’s lack of speed won’t be as big of defensive liability (plus it forces Huggins to shoot over him).

The main thing here is that Jermaine Anderson needs to start. He is the best player on the team and definately our best point guard. And we need his decision making at the point to keep things running smoothly. The number of turn overs we had against Vermont, particularly early in the game, killed us.

However, my gut says that the local guys all start and then Rick Lewis decides to try to go(even) small(er) and run against the Millrats… which may or may not work.
See you at the game!

Why I think Halifax will win one of two games

I am convinced that Halifax will win at least one of their two home games against Manchester, and here is why:

– Homecourt advantage is huge in the ABA: Of the 16 games played on the weekend 15 were won by the hometeam. The only visiting team to post a win? Undefeated, reigning champs The Vermont Frostheaves. Halifax’s large crowd will definitely give them an even larger boost. Halifax loves these guys, and we had by far the largest crowd of any ABA season on the 15th. Even if “only” 3000 people show up (my, somewhat hopeful, guess on attendance) it’ll still be the largest crowd most of these guys have played on since college. There’s an outside chance the crowd could be 10 times the size of the crowd that saw the game in Manchester.

– New Hampshire will be exhausted: If I had to bet, I would assume that they will drive up for this game. It’s a long commute and Halifax should be able to take advantage of the fatigue and run on them.

– Halifax are a jump shooting team: And, like all jump shooting teams, they’re streaky. They already had two bad shooting nights, I can’t imagine they’ll have a third and a fourth. If they do then they’re not streaky – they’re just a bad shooting team.

– Halifax should now be able to handle big men a bit better: they hadn’t played a game against a team with real size before the roadtrip. Their preseason outings didn’t give them a chance to defend against players with size, nor did their game against the Blizzard. Rick Lewis and his assistants have hopefully come up with a strategy to contain the Manchester big men, and have had a few days to implement it in practice. And hopefully James Booyer’s height can help out a bit.

That said, even if they do win a game or two this weekend, it will be tough. Manchester are a very good team and their height will still cause Halifax problems. If the Rainmen don’t sink jump shots, and don’t limit the effectiveness of Manchester’s big men (box out, don’t give them position in the post, don’t let them set up a half court defense) then they will extend the losing streak to four.

A pair of links:

Chad Lucas at the Herald previews the game.

Chris Kallan at the Daily News also previews the game.

Preview of Home Games Against Manchester

Right now the Manchester Millrats are probably somewhere in New England, driving to Halifax.  They beat the snot out of Halifax on Saturday, and Halifax is going to do its best not to get embarrassed in front of the home town crowd.

The three key guys for Manchester:

Souleyman Wane (UConn – Div. 1 powerhouse) – He’s a 6’11 centre with 11 blocks in three games.  He’s also averaging 18.3 points and 12 boards per game so far this season.  He’s shooting 74% from the field and 83% from the line.  Talk guys who play for Senegal’s national team give Halifax problems:  Wane and Issa Konare of Vermont decimated the Rainmen over the weekend.

John Huggins – Manchester’s leading scorer and starting SG.  He’s a good scorer, but he needs 18 shots and 34 minutes a game to average his 23.7 points.  He gives them a good outside scorer who can create his own shot. 

Rob Sanders (Providence College – Div. 1) – Was a first team all ABA player last year, and is considered one of the best minor basketball league players in America.  He can play the 3 or the 4 and is one of the best all around offensive players in the league, although he’s not a particularly great 3 point shooter (he’s still good at 33% on the season).  His athleticism and height will cause serious problems for Halifax again this weekend.

Halifax will have to contain these three guys as well as PG Caro Ismael who had his best game of the season against Halifax in Manchester.  The Millrats beat Vermont in a pre-season game, so they’re a legitimate contender for best team in the league.  They did, however, lose to Quebec on the road on the weekend so they may have some trouble on the road. 

Halifax will need big games from Crookshank, Oliver and Eichelberger and the whole team will need to make good decisions with the ball.  We should get our first look at 6’8 forward James Booyer and hopefully he can provide some defence.  I am hoping that Rick Lewis starts Jermaine Anderson, PG play during the road trip was really weak.

Millrats aim is to join D-League

A comment I made in passing in a previous post sparked a thread over at the OurSports ABA messageboard.  So, as an aspiring historian, I figured I had better source it:

Once the Millrats establish a fan base, they’re aiming to move into the Verizon Wireless Arena and apply for membership to the NBA Development League. The Boston Celtics, hopefully, would be become the parent club.

Manchester General Manager Ian McCarthy said he already talked with Celtics Director of Player Development Michael Crotty, who “loved the idea,” according to McCarthy.

Personally, I think Halifax should follow suit if the team has a good year.  Ideally I’d like to see us become the Raptors’ minor league club, but I see almost no hope in hell of that happening.  I’d also love to see the North East franchises that are stable (Vermont, Quebec, etc.) form a league with short travel times and less sketchy midwest/west coast clubs.  I think that starting a league/barnstorming circuit which is regionally based to reduce travel times makes more sense than a pan-Canadian league.  Pan-Canadian anything (including… well… the nation of Canada) tend to have a hard time staying afloat due to distance, cultural differences and regionalism.

Edit:  Me linking to that article bumped it up four spots in the google search results for “Manchester Millrats”… two spots above the team’s official website.

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