Tied at 66 at the end of regulation, the game went into overtime. Even in OT, the game was tied at 73 with one minute remaining. That was when Piyapong Piraoon, hit 2 clutch three-pointers on back-to-back possessions to seal the deal. The final score: Slammers 81, Slingers 76.
Again, it was a game that could go either way. It was a game that the Slingers could have won, but they didn’t. I’ll let the statistics do the talking.
Both teams played excellent defense, limiting each other’s field goal percentage to less than 40%, in 72 attempted field goals. But what the Slammers did way better was in block shots. They had a total of 11 blocks, with 7 coming from center Jason Dixon alone. That significantly reduced Slingers points-in-the-paint.
And how did the Slingers respond to that? They shunned away and allowed Dixon to dominate the paint defensively.
How did I know?
The Slingers shot 33 treys out of their 72 field goals, but only connected 5 of them. That’s a dismal 15% from behind the arc. At the third quarter, the Slingers were even 1 for 20 from three-point range, before Leo and Al combined to hit 3 consecutive three-pointers.
More evidence. Kyle Jeffers, who scored only 8 points, attempted only 9 shots and connected only 3 of them. I see that as backing away from Jason Dixon. Why shift the game to the outside and shoot 33 three-points (the most the Slingers have attempted EVER?), knowing that they are not falling, instead of getting the job done inside? Kyle Jeffers, if you noticed, went to the line only once. That shows how little effort was made to rough it out in the paint with Dixon. If we want to win, we need Kyle to start scoring!
This is beyond comprehension. The Slingers have 2 low-post scorers in Jeffers and Skinner as compared to the Slammers with only one – Dixon. Instead of using that advantage, the Slingers choose to play an outside shooting game (one that won’t work out well considering that the Slingers have only 2 shooters, Al and Leo, not 3 or 4). The game could go the Slingers way should Jeffers play his post game against Dixon and draw some fouls on him. Jason Dixon picked up only 2 fouls in total. Drawing a few more on him would certainly take away his defensive dominance in the paint.
The excessive three-point shooting also has drastic effects on the Slingers rebounding. How in the world could the Slingers be outrebounded by 11 (26-37)? Excessive three-point shooting, leading to hustle rebounds, which would be grabbed by smaller and quicker players. True enough, the Slammers’ “smalls” (meaning small forwards and below) outrebounded the Slingers’ “smalls” 16-4. That’s a pathetic number. With Desmond Oh, who will hustle down the loose balls, benched (due to Coach Neo’s preference of playing taller guards like Han Bin), we don’t expect the Slingers’ “smalls” to grab that many rebounds. Rebounding will continue to be a problem if the Slingers continue to shoot that amount of treys at a low percentage. If the Slingers expect only their bigs to rebound, get the ball inside!
On top of that, in their frenzy to shoot treys, the Slingers committed the same error of NOT passing the ball (especially to Kyle Jeffers). A total of 8 assists, the same number as when they lost to the Slammers 66-77 back in December 4. There’s no way those treys would fall if the Slingers don’t couple the outside shooting with passing the ball inside to Jeffers!
Even with these errors, the Slingers were so close to winning. Should I say, correct these errors, and take the next game?
SLINGERFANS, BE SURE TO ROCK THE HOUSE ON 1 FEB AT THE SINGAPORE INDOOR STADIUM, AS WE TRY TO PUSH THE SERIES TO THREE GAMES.
Singapore Slingers v Chang Thailand Slammers
DATE: Tuesday 1st February 2011
VENUE: Singapore Indoor Stadium
-photo by Thananuwat Srirasant-
Game 1 video highlights: