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It's not do or die for the Island Storm versus the Windsor Express today in Game 6, but the Storm would rather do and earn its first the National Basketball League of Canada title than die and face a Game 7.
Start time for Game 6 is 8 p.m. ADT, and Storm head coach Joe Salerno said his crew knows what it has to do when the contest begins.
"It's been a pretty emotional series. They're going to have a lot of energy. Windsor has started very well every game this series and we can't get caught up on the rah-rah stuff and all that," said Salerno on Monday from Windsor, Ont. "Basketball-wise we have to do (the right things) to slow them down."
The Storm lead the best-of-seven matchup 3-2 after splitting Games 1 and 2 in Windsor then winning two of three in Charlottetown.
It had the chance to clinch its first NBL crown in Game 5 Saturday at Eastlink Centre in front of a season-high 3,002 fans, but despite roaring back from a 20-point deficit lost 113-111 which sent the series back to Windsor.
It wasn't what the team wanted, but Salerno was realistic.
"We started the series down 0-1. I can't remember any team coming back and winning four straight (especially) against a team as good as Windsor," he said.
Although Storm guard Nick Okorie drained 14 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter comeback attempt, the Storm lost the contest not in small part to stellar play by Express guards Stefan Bonneau, who went for a game-high 39 points, and Darren Duncan, who marshaled his troops when needed.
And against those two, said Salerno, is where his squad must do a better job if it wants to close out the series.
"Windsor's backcourt is so tough. In Game 5, the dribble penetration of Bonneau and Duncan created a lot of defensive problems for us. We have to fix that and execute better basketball-wise go get this win," said Salerno. "I think immediately following (Game 5) there was a lot of disappointment in the locker room. The next morning, the guys weren't really down. They understand they didn't play very well."
Storm guard Adrian Moss is nursing an ankle injury, but is expected to play.
Game 7, if necessary, is Thursday at 8 p.m. AT.
A quick look at some numbers from Games 1 and 2 in the Windsor Express-Island Storm NBL final in Windsor, Ont:
Scoring Per Game - Windsor: 112.0; Storm: 102.0.
Rebounds Per Game - Windsor: 46.0; Storm: 50.5.
Field Goal Percentage Per Game - Windsor: 47.5 per cent; Storm: 41.5 per cent.
3-Point Shooting Percentage Per Game - Windsor: 41.4 per cent; Storm: 35.4 per cent.
Assists Per Game - Windsor: 31.5; Storm: 25.5.
Steals Per Game - Windsor: 12; Storm: 8.5.
Blocked Shots Per Game - Windsor: 8.5; Storm: 4.5.
Turnovers Per Game - Windsor: 12.5; Storm: 17.