The Cleveland Charge ran away with a 115-96 win over the Wisconsin Herd.
The Charge controlled all facets of this game. They were able to dominate the paint by outscoring their opponent 52-40, picked up nine more second-chance points and won the three-point battle. That, combined with holding the Herd to just 38.2% from the field, was the formula needed to pick up the stress-free win.
Isaiah Mobley had a frustrating start offensively. He was able to generate good open looks, but couldn’t finish any of them which included blowing a few close ones at the rim. He opened the game 0-5 from the field while finishing the first quarter with just 2 points and a rebound.
“It’s crazy, the last couple years, whenever I start 0-5, I finish with higher-end numbers,” said the rookie when asked about his slow start. “I felt a little rusty early, but then I got the game flow and felt good. I stayed the course.”
He got into the flow of the game in the second as he opened the quarter with an and-one hook shot over Herd center Jontay Porter. He bookended that good start by picking up 7 points on three straight possessions to close the quarter. He did this by hitting a pick-and-pop three off an assist from Sam Merril, then a turnaround hook shot and then by grabbing a Rashad Vaughn miss and hammering home the putback.
Mobley continued his scoring by knocking down two successive threes in the beginning of the third. One of which came after dribbling back out to the three-point line once he saw his defender sag back towards the basket.
Mobley ended the night by tying a season-high 30 points on 11-20 shooting, which included going 3-5 from distance, with 10 rebounds and 4 assists. On the season, the rookie is now connecting on 40.4% of his 3.6 three-point attempts per game.
“I’ve been working on it [the three-point shot]. It’s been a focus throughout the season. And I’m trying to keep it going. It’s part of my development,” said Mobley afterwards.
Taking and making more threes is a change for Mobley who wasn’t necessarily asked to play that role in college. The elder Mobley was a reliable outside shooter at USC as he hit 36% of his threes, but going from 2 attempts per game to 3.6 is a jump.
“It’s a different game,” responded Mobley when asked about how he’s expected to take and make more threes in the pros. “There’s a lot more space [in the NBA and G League]. I’m also playing a different position. I know with the Cavs my job is more so to space the floor. I always felt I’ve been able to shoot, it just hasn’t been my role on the team to shoot as many as I do. I also feel like I have other strong skills. It’s finding that balance between using them.”
Sharife Cooper, fresh off his second G League Player of the Week Award, set the tempo for the game. He did an excellent job of managing the game by pushing the offense when necessary and creating quality looks for others that his teammates weren’t able to knock down often this evening.
Cooper closed out the Herd with a 12-point fourth to secure the win. Cooper finished with 25 points on 9-20 shooting with 9 rebounds and an assist in the victory.
“Sharife has all the skills,” said Mobley when asked about whether Cooper can compete at the next level. “He has a fourth-quarter gene. I think he’s close now. He’s a great dude, a great teammate, I love playing with him. He’s a dog as well. He’s one of the guys deserving of a call up. I think he can help a lot of NBA teams, size aside.”
The Charge also received solid performances from Didi Louzada and Nate Hinton. Louzada contributed 17 points and 10 boards after being put into the starting lineup for Jamarko Pickett who wasn’t with the team. Hinton filled up the stat sheet once again as he added in 14 points, 12 boards, 4 steals, 2 assists and a block in the win.
Up next: The Charge head back on the road to take on the Windy City Bulls Saturday night. Tip-off is at 8 PM eastern.