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Cleveland Charge lose overtime heartbreaker to Ontario Clippers 103-100

A last second foul allowed the Clippers to claim the overtime victory.

Ontario Clippers v Cleveland Charge Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images

The Charge turned what seemed like a sure win into a loss. The Charge controlled the game for most of regulation and clung to a three-point lead with five seconds left to play.

The Clippers had the ball after a timeout. The Charge shut down the initial action but a miscommunication created a two-on-one. Mamadi Diakite did a good job defending the two-on-one, but closed out too hard on Bryson Williams resulting in a shooting foul.

Williams, who is a 56.3% free throw shooter this season, canned all three to send the game to the first to seven target score overtime.

The Clippers jumped out to a 6-2 lead before the Charge fought back to make it 6-5. Williams, who made the game-tying free throws, also hit the game winner to give Ontario the win.

This was a different kind of frustration than yesterday’s loss.

“It’s different. I don’t know if I’d call it tougher,” said Charge head coach Mike Gerrity afterwards when asked about if this loss would be more difficult to get over. “I thought yesterday was disappointing because I didn’t think we came out and played hard or competed. Tonight, this one just hurts. The guys just played so hard. I felt like they deserved to in. And when you play that hard, you know, they deserve to be in their locker room celebrating the win. And that’s the hardest part.”

“Of course it hurts,” said Devontae Shuler after receiving his first start of the season. “We put in a lot of effort through the whole game. We really wanted to win that game. We wanted to have a happy lock room so of course it’s going to hurt.”

The loss drops the Charge out of a playoff spot and into the ninth seed for the time being. There’s just a game and a half separating them from the third seed with just five games left to play.

Trying to contain Ontario’s Xavier Moon is why Shuler was placed into the starting lineup.

“I thought he would be the perfect matchup for Moon,” said Gerrity when asked why Shuler got the start. “We just told him to deny the ball and not let him touch it and he did a tremendous job.”

Shuler held Moon to 19 points on 7-17 shooting compared to the 31 he scored yesterday.

“I tried to blow up any action they had for him,” said Shuler when asked about the assignment afterwards. “I knew that he [Moon] was going to come back out after a good game so I just tried to cut his water off early and just make him feel me.”

Shuler’s defense is what got him into the starting lineup, but the offense could be what keeps him there. He finished with 21 points on 8-15 shooting. His ability to attack off-the-dribble and provide secondary creation was something the starting unit has been recently lacking.

Sharife Cooper bouncing back from one of his worst games of the season is another reason why the Charge were in a position to win. He did an excellent job protecting the ball and setting up teammates as he finished with 8 assists and 1 turnover compared with the 6 he committed yesterday.

“He kept the game simple,” said Gerrity. “He avoided those crowded areas. I thought he made the first read and then was able to get the ball back on the second and third actions which gave him a little more space to operate. I thought he tried to do his best at running the team, running the show, and putting guys in positions to let the game come to them.”

Isaiah Mobley had a tough first half as he struggled with foul trouble and the Clippers’ length. He bounced back well he scored 15 of his 25 points after halftime which included 4 of the team’s 5 points in overtime.

“You feel his presence on offense is so many different ways. He was just persistent,” said Gerrity afterwards about the play of his rookie big. “He just does a great job of leading our team. He’s one guy you never have to worry about as far as his approach to the game.”

Dylan Windler on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers had an unremarkable game. He finished with just 4 points on 1-5 shooting in 23 minutes.

Jamorko Pickett left the game late in the second quarter with an ankle injury. He was able to walk off on his own power, but didn’t return to the bench for the remainder of the game.

Up next: The Charge will be back in action Wednesday as they travel to Detroit to take on the Motor City Cruise.