The answers for the Island Storm lie within themselves

Charles
Charles Reid
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The Island Storm can look no further than themselves for answers to regaining momentum in its Atlantic Division final today versus the Halifax Rainmen in Halifax, N.S.

That after an 11-point loss in Game 2 Sunday in Charlottetown which tied the best-of-seven series 1-1 and gave the stout Rainmen home court advantage in the National Basketball League of Canada matchup. Game 3 tonight (7 p.m.), and Game 4 on Sunday (2 p.m.) are at the Metro Centre.  

In Game 2, Halifax took advantage (like good teams do) of the Storm’s self-admitted weak effort. It means the Storm must start hot tonight, said forward Ed Jones after Storm practice on Wednesday.

"In Game 3 we just have to come out and play hard together. In Game 2 we were not in sync," said Jones, who’s averaging seven points and 5.5 rebounds in the series. "Definitely a humbling experience. Can’t take a team like Halifax lightly. They’re a physical bunch. We have to execute, stay together and play tough. And we’re definitely listening to what (head) coach (Joe Salerno) says."

Halifax finished last in the Atlantic Division, but late-season changes, a solid front court in Tim Parham, Raven Barber and Bryan Addison, and snipers Jason Williams and Chris Matthews, helped the Rainmen knock off the division-winning Saint John Mill Rats in the division semis.

Halifax lost Game 1 after letting a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter dribble away, and maybe the Storm were a bit unfocused though, said  Salerno, sometimes a loss is good thing.  

"It can be. Game 2 opened our eyes as to how well the Rainmen are playing. Halifax is a good, tough team. It’s got our attention. We came back from nine-point lead in Game 1 and I’d hoped that would have opened our eyes. Hopefully, it’s a blessing in disguise," said Salerno. "We’re trying to get back to playing simple, hard basketball. Trying to get a little tougher, returning to the style of play that got us here. Get back to having a little fun."

“In Game 3 we just have to come out and play hard together." Storm forward Ed Jones

That will be harder should Antonio Ballard, the Storm’s leading scorer and rebounder, not return for Game 3. Ballard suffered a wrist injury and didn't play Game 2 and he’s questionable for tonight.

Also, point guard Al Stewart is out for Game 3 with an ankle sprain. Those facts don’t make things easy for the Storm, but for Jones the game goes on.

"We lose a lot on the rebounding end and it forces us to get on the boards a lot more. It takes some ‘got to get at it’. Bring that killer instinct. And we still have some offensive weapons (capable) of delivering," he said.

Game 5 is Monday, at 7 p.m., at Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

On the web at www.nblcanada.com.

 

A Tale Of Two Games

 

A few numbers after two games of the Island Storm-Halifax Rainmen NBL Atlantic Division best-of-seven final.

 

The series is tied 1-1.

 

Games 1 and 2 were in Charlottetown:

 

Field Goal Percentage - Halifax: .471; Storm: .426.

 

Three-Point Percentage - Halifax: .394, 13-of-33; Storm: .250, 13-of-52.

 

Rebounds - Halifax: 99; Storm: 97.

 

Assists - Halifax: 50; Storm: 50.

 

Steals - Halifax: 18; Storm: 13.

 

Blocked Shots - Halifax: 7; Storm: 14.

 

Turnovers - Halifax: 33; Storm: 29.

 

Attendance - Halifax: n/a; Storm: 3,038 (1,519 per game).

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Metro Centre, Eastlink Centre Island Storm-Halifax Rainmen NBL Atlantic

Geographic location: Halifax, Charlottetown

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