Island Storm drops opening game of NBL Final

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It was not the start the Island Storm was looking for.

The squad opened the National Basketball League of Canada Final with a 122-100 loss to the Windsor Express Friday in Ontario.

“Giving up 122 points in a finals game is inexcusable,” Storm coach Joe Salerno said after the game. “We got outplayed.”

He said the Express deserved the win, shot the ball well and had a good inside-outside game during the contest.

“This certainly rung our bell a little bit,” Salerno said. “We certainly know what these guys are capable of doing now. We have to make some adjustments and come back in here and play better on Sunday.”

Game 2 is Sunday at 3 p.m. ADT before the series moves to the Island.

Game 3 and 4 are Wednesday and Friday while Game 5, if necessary, would be played Saturday.

Games 6 and 7, if necessary, would be played April 15 and 17 in Windsor.

"It was one game and it’s a seven-game series,” Salerno said.

The team hoped to split the first two games in Ontario and still has the opportunity to do so.

"But, obviously, we have to tighten things up,” the coach stressed.

Darren Duncan led the way for the Express on Friday with 26 points and 11 assists while DeAndre Thomas added 19 points and Chris Commons 18 points and 11 rebounds. Six Express players scored more than 10 points during the opener.

Nick Okorie had 17 points as the Storm’s top scorer while Antonio Ballard and Casey Love each chipped in 16 and Jeremy Williams and Dwayne Smith each had 12. Love had 12 at the half to lead the Storm.

Ballard added 10 rebounds while Adrian Moss had 10 assists.

The Storm trailed 27-23 after the first quarter and was outscored 32-23 in the second half to go to halftime trailing 59-46. The Storm won the third quarter 27-26 to chip the deficit to 12 (85-73) going to the final quarter.

The Storm led the league is steals during the regular season, but loss the category on Friday, as the Express held a 14-8 advantage. The Storm also turned the ball over more (17-13) was outrebounded (48-44) and points in the paint (48-34).

The Storm shot 44 per cent (35-for-80) from the floor compared to the Express’ 52 (43-for-83) per cent.

The game was delayed about 30 minutes to accommodate fans that had to wait at the box office.

It was the Storm’s first game since eliminating the Halifax Rainmen on Saturday, March 29.

Geographic location: Ontario

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