Storm, Mill Rats begin home-and-home series tonight in Saint John

Charles
Charles Reid
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Life ain’t easy in the National Basketball League of Canada. Ask the Island Storm, loser of four straight games and six defeats in its last seven games.

Today, things don’t let up as the Storm (11-12) take on the Atlantic Division-leading Saint John Mill Rats (14-9) in Saint John.

It’s the first game of a home-and-home series versus the Mill Rats. Start time is 7 p.m. at Harbour Station.

Game 2 is Friday at 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

Saint John beat the Storm by eight points in their last meeting in Saint John earlier this month, but the Storm leads the season series 4-2.

That’s a bit of good news for Storm head coach Joe Salerno as the squad chases Saint John for the division crown

“It's a good matchup for us. Our size becomes a bit of a factor (for Saint John), they’re more of a perimeter team. Our size becomes a concern. (Centre) Steve Tchiengang has played very well against them,” said Salerno. “Winning the Atlantic Division (is our goal). We’re trying to win out these last four games (versus Saint John). We’ll be ready to go today.”

Overall, the Storm hasn’t found that much-needed chemistry to kick start itself into the second half of the season.

Sixteen games remain before the post-season and several player changes, inconsistency on the court and even Salerno’s one-game suspension last week have cut into the chance to build rapport.

The solutions?

Salerno is working on that.

“We struggled shooting the ball . . . in four of our last six losses we've been out-rebounded. We’ve made moves to bring in good shooters. And we’ll look at a guy’s substitution patterns (to keep them fresher). We shoot 10 for 15 per cent worse in the second half. Other than that, more reps in practice is all you can do.”

The NBL trade deadline is Feb. 14 and the deadline to sign players is a week after. The regular season ends Feb. 28.

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How They Stack Up

A look at  the Island Storm-Saint John Mill Rats overall:

u Scoring per game - Saint John, 103.52, fourth; Island Storm, 101.22 per cent, fifth.

u Scoring defence per game - Island Storm, 99.87, third; Saint John, 101.00, fifth.

u Field goal shooting per game - Saint John, .456 per cent, first; Island Storm, .441 per cent, sixth.

u Offensive rebounds per game - Island Storm, 15.22, second; Saint John, 9.30, ninth.

u Defensive rebounds per game - Saint John, 36.61, third; Island Storm, 31.13, ninth.

 

Organizations: National Basketball League of Canada, Harbour Station, Eastlink Centre

Geographic location: Saint John, Charlottetown.Saint John

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