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Leads in basketball can be hard to hold.
The Island Storm, leading the Windsor Express 2-1 in the best-of-seven National Basketball League of Canada final, aim to increase their advantage tonight in Game 4.
Start time is 7 p.m. at Eastlink Centre.
Win and the Storm go up 3-1, lose and Windsor ties things 2-2 and recaptures the energy it surrendered in a 129-104 loss in Game 3 on Wednesday at the Link.
For Storm point guard Adrian Moss not letting down boils down to recalling where the team is.
“Remembering what’s at stake. It’s Game 4 of the NBL final against the best team in the league. That should be enough motivation,” said Moss, who had 20 points and five assists in Game 3. “No one wants to go back to Windsor. We want to finish it at home.”
Not an easy task, however.
Windsor, despite a 42 per cent shooting night on Wednesday, finished first overall this season with a league-best 29 wins to earn home-court advantage throughout the post-season.
It cruised through the Central Division semifinals 3-0 against the Mississauga Power, then prevailed in a seven-game division final against the defending-champ London Lightning after losing the first two games at home.
Lose the next two games and things get tougher for the Storm. Windsor is 22-6 this season, including the playoffs, at the WFCU Centre. So it makes Game 4 tonight and Game 5 on Saturday (7 p.m.) at the cozy Eastlink Centre huge contests.
So far, the Storm has handled the inside presence of DeAndre Thomas, despite the 300-pound
centre’s 26 points on Wednesday, and has restrained the effectiveness of high-flying shooters Stefan Bonneau, Chris Commons and Darren Duncan. That trio went for 16, 15 and 19 points, respectively, in Game 3, but the group never got on track for most of the game. Bonneau had a 34-point effort in Game 2 and Duncan drained 26 in Game 1.
It means defence has to come first if the Storm are to close the series at home, said Storm forward Antonio Ballard. Ballard had a breakout game in Game 3, draining 35 points, after being limited to 16 points in Game 1 and eight points in Game 2, both in Windsor.
Game 6 and 7, if necessary, are Tuesday, April 15, and Thursday, April 17, respectively, in Windsor.
A few numbers from Game 3 of the NBL of Charlotetown:
u Score By Quarter -
Windsor - 33, 15, 32, 24
Storm - 32, 36, 29, 32
u Points In The Paint - Windsor: 44; Storm: 38
u Second Chance Points - Windsor: 32; Storm: 13.
u Blocks - Windsor: 5; Storm: 5.
u Defensive Rebounds: Windsor: 21; Storm: 35.
u Offensive Rebounds: Windsor: 18; Storm: 17.