Teams play Game 4 of playoff series Sunday in Halifax
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The Island Storm has to continue to clamp down on Halifax Rainmen shooters as they look to take a stranglehold on their National Basketball League of Canada semifinal.
The Storm leads the best-of-seven Atlantic Division final 2-1 with Game 4 set for Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Halifax Metro Centre.
Storm coach Joe Salerno said the team did a good job of contesting shots in Thursday’s 106-103 victory in Game 3.
“They’re shooting the ball extremely well,” he said on Friday. “We just can’t give them any space. We have to make them put the ball on the floor and try to beat us going to the rim.”
Another key is to continue to get contributions from all its players. Six players reached double figures on Thursday. They were Nick Okorie (20), Steve Tchiengang (19), Antonio Ballard (17), Ed Jones (14), Adrian Moss (12) and Jeremy Williams (10).
Salerno said Game 3 can be a pivotal game in a series and to pull out the win on the road was “huge.” The Storm lost the second game of the series at home on March 16 and the coach said the team was not mentally tough enough and had a lack of effort.
“The way we responded from Game 2 to 3 is what I was happy with,” Salerno said Friday.
He added Tchiengang and Jones both had big games on Thursday and they will need their contributions again on Sunday.
“Steve Tchiengang was outstanding. He was much more physical,” Salerno said. “(Jones) really made a conscious effort to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.”
The Storm expects to have everyone, except point guard Al Stewart, available for Sunday’s game. Leading scorer and rebounder Antonio Ballard played Thursday after sitting out Game 2 with a wrist injury.
Ashton Graham hyper-extended his knee at Wednesday’s practice and didn’t play Thursday.
He is expected to be ready for Sunday.
Game 5 is at Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown on Monday at 7 p.m.