The South Bay Lakers ran the Cleveland Charge off their home floor by handing them a 114-95 beating. The final score isn’t indicative of how one sided this game was as Cleveland fell down by 39 before South Bay called off the dogs.
This was the second night of a back-to-back for Cleveland and the last game before the All-Star break. It had the makings of let down, but not to this level.
Wednesday night was easily the Charge’s worst performance of the season. They were soundly beaten in every facet of the game. They didn’t come out with the energy and focus they needed to and they paid the price. South Bay shot a better percentage from the field (53.3% to 39.5%), were better from three (51.5% to 33.3%), won the turnover battle (22-18), and were able to get out in transition in the first half when the game was up for grabs (10-2 first-half fast-break points). It was a thorough beatdown in every way.
This was the first time in nearly a month the Charge were fully healthy with Sharife Cooper, Isaiah Mobley and Mamadi Diakite all available. The starters came out flat, but things really got away quickly after the initial substitutions. A three-point disadvantage quickly turned into a 21-point hole as the Lakers went on an extended 23-5 run at the close to the first.
The starters kept the deficit at bay during the beginning of the second quarter, but a 13-5 run on the reserves to close the half put the game out of reach. Things only got worse in the second half as coach Mike Gerrity pulled his starters after four minutes when the deficit ballooned to 37.
Dylan Windler’s G League season debut was unsurprisingly cut shot due to the blowout. Windler checked into the game midway through the first. It didn’t take him long to make an impact as he as he connected on a spot-up three shortly after checking in.
Windler was on the floor during the South Bay’s 23-5 run and didn’t see any action outside of that initial run. He ended the night with 3 points on 1-3 shooting from deep and 1-4 shooting overall in 5 and a half minutes of play.
Windler played confidently and his shot looked good in the brief time he was on the floor, but it’s difficult to make any evaluation from his limited run in a one-sided game like this.
While the starters weren’t out there when South Bay made their initial run, the Charge’s best players simply didn’t have it. The trio of Diakite, Mobley and Cooper weren’t able to protect the ball as they combined for 12 turnovers in their limited play. They simply need to be better to give this team a chance to be competitive.
Blake Francis, who was just signed last Saturday, led the Charge in scoring off the bench. The backup point guard contributed 16 points and 3 steals in the loss
Up next: Cooper and Mobley will be heading to Salt Lake City for the Next Up Game which will take place Sunday, Feb. 19 at 3 p.m. The Charge will be back in action Wednesday, Feb. 22 as they travel to North Carolina to take on the Greensboro Swarm.