The Charge got off to a slow start. They spent the first half trailing the Iowa Wolves before finally catching up midway through the third. Cleveland went into the fourth with a two-point lead. That lead quickly ballooned to 10 midway through the fourth as the Charge made a habit of turning defense into offense. The Wolves fought back to cut the lead the five, but they weren’t able to get any closer as the Charge won 119 to 108.
Sharifie Cooper was sensational once again. He carried the Charge over the edge as he finished with 40 points on 15 of 20 shooting. This was his second 40-point game in a row. He’s now averaging 30.5 points through six games.
“He’s [Cooper] been remarkable the last two games,” said coach Mike Gerrity afterward. “He’s just a talented and gifted player. He has all the talent in the world and he puts the work in. You see him always in early and staying after putting in the work.”
“I love playing with Sharife,” said Isaiah Mobley. “He makes winning plays. When he gets it going I’m rolling with him. It’s always a joy to play with Sharife.”
Mobley and Mamadi Diakite had strong showings after getting some run the previous night on the road against the Milwaukee Bucks. Mobley finished with 22 points on 7 of 13 shooting with 9 boards, 2 assists and a block before fouling out. Diakite contributed 21 points on 7 of 12 shooting with 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Isaiah Mobley got off to a hot start knocking down a corner three to start off his night. Mobley has done a good job of being more decisive on offense which has stood out lately. This is seen most on his three-point shot as there’s no hesitation to fire when he catches it beyond the arc.
“Watching the guys up there with the Cavs you learn you have to make quick decisions. It doesn’t mean you have to settle, but when shots are there you take them. You have to trust your work. It’s about learning. I am a rookie and I’m trying to listen and do that.”
This decisiveness is seen most when Mobley gets the ball where he’s most comfortable. The post. Like his brother Evan, Isaiah has found success with the hook shot. He used it to score in garbage time against the Bucks and used it early and often against Iowa Wolves’ center Luka Garza.
“The hook shot has always been a staple to our game,” said Mobley when asked about his and his brother’s recent success with the hook shot. “My dad taught it to us when we were young. It’s always in our back pocket as a go-to move. Especially when defenders aren’t as tall or our same height. It’s tough to defend. Our old reliable.”
Mobley scoring with sky hooks on back-to-back possessions in the third quarter ignited the second-half comeback. The second resulted in an and one and a subsequent gesture that Garza was too small. The Charge used that momentum to grab their first lead of the second half.
“[Coach] Mike G. said to attack him and that’s what I did,” said Mobley when asked about that momentum-changing sequence. “It was fun out there. He’s [Garza] a good player. We were supposed to match up in college but he lost in the tournament before we could play. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but I also believe in myself. It was a good learning experience.”
Evan Mobley had a front-row seat to watch his brother. But, you wouldn’t know it was his brother who just made a nice play based on Evan’s reaction. Isaiah laughed when told about it afterward. “He might say something to me when I’m going to the bench. Or he’ll pop up off the bench for my first bucket like he did in Chicago. But he’s not extroverted like I’d say I am. It’s not who he is. We’ll talk about the game a little bit after. He just says a couple of words to me while I’m playing or vice-versa when he’s playing. That’s just our relationship.”
Mamadi Diakite got his first game with the Charge off on the wrong foot as the PA announcer introduced Diakite as being from Georgetown instead of UVA which led to more than a few confused looks on the Charge bench. This seemed to be an omen as Diakite had a tough time staying out of foul trouble and getting anything going offensively in the first quarter.
Diakite was able to shake off the rust of playing only 13 minutes since preseason by having a strong final three quarters. He attacked the paint early and often as all of his points as all of which came at the rim or at the line.
“This was Mamadi’s first game with us,” said Gerrity when asked about Diakite afterward. “You could see him find his legs and his rhythm. I thought once he became more aggressive we started to turn that corner. The biggest thing with him is that he’s so unselfish. But sometimes we need you to attack and he started to do that.”
Up next: The Charge will be back in action at the Wolstein Center on Saturday night as they take on the Motor City Cruise at 7 PM.