Slow starts have continually plagued the Charge. The last home game of the season was no exception as the Orlando Magic affiliate opened up with a quick 15-3 run. Newest full-time Cavalier RJ Nembhard Jr. settled the team down some as he provided nine points, two assists and five boards in the opening frame. The Charge were able to fight back some and ended the quarter down 31-23.
Things got out of hand quickly in the second. Justin James left the game two minutes into the quarter leaving the Cleveland with just six available players for the remainder of the game. The Magic took advantage of this by pushing the tempo and moving the ball around the perimeter. As a result they went 8-13 (61.5%) from deep in the second quarter. Lakeland ended up outscoring Cleveland 40-22 in the quarter to take a 71-45 lead at the break.
“It was tough for us. When we got down to six players we’re just trying to contain and make sure we have six to finish,” said coach Dan Geriot when asked about the second quarter.”
“We tried to switch everything. They’re a good team. They move the basketball well. They drive and kick. They’re one of the better teams we play against even if their record doesn’t show it. They move with a lot of energy and once they’re making those shots, it’s an uphill battle.”
Twenty-six point leads aren’t easy to come back from and that unsurprisingly proved to be true here. The Charge were never able to pull within 21 in the second half as the Magic cruised to an easy victory.
It was a group effort for Lakeland as they finished the night with eight players in double figures. Jaire Grayer, Aleem Ford and TJ Haws led the team with 18 points apiece.
The disappointing outcome wasn’t the news of the day for the whole team. At least, not for Nembhard who had his two-way deal converted to an NBA contract earliesaid r today.
“It’s a good forward step. It’s one piece in the journey for him,” Geriot when asked about Nembhard. “It shows that there’s some belief in him which is a big thing for a player of his age in their rookie year. There’s a long career ahead for him that we’re excited about.”
Nembhard finished the game with 28 points on 10-23 shooting with 13 rebounds and 5 assists.
Kyle Guy ended his second game back with the Charge with a game high 29 points on 11 of 25 shooting which included going five for 15 from distance. The former Miami Heat also contributed eight rebounds and six assists.
Up next: The Charge will finish their season on the road against the Motor City Cruise on Sunday afternoon.