Under the Boards
Week-in-Review: The Charge didn’t do any wheeling and dealing this past week, but it was still a busy seven-day span for the Cavaliers D-League affiliate – splitting four games and preparing to send an All-Star to the Big Easy.
Last weekend, the Charge split a pair with East Division rival, Fort Wayne, in a big home-and-home back-to-back.
On Friday night, the Charge won a 101-100 thriller in front of a sold-out crowd at the Memorial Civic Center. Trailing by nine midway through the fourth quarter, Canton used a 15-2 run to take control of the game. Fort Wayne staged its own late push, but couldn’t get the potentially game-winning shot off before the buzzer. Jorge Gutierrez led everyone with a career-high 32 points to go with nine assists. Kevin Jones added 14 points and Arinze Onuaku came off the bench to tally his 25th career double-double with 10 points, 10 boards and a pair of blocks.
The following night, the Mad Ants got some revenge, using an early fourth-quarter run to pull away for the 105-95 win at War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne – taking a 3-2 edge in head-to-head matchups this season. Gilbert Brown led the Charge with 17 points. Jorge Gutierrez added 15 points and six helpers and Kevin Jones pitched in with 14 points and nine boards.
After the weekend split, the Charge got the good news that forward Kevin Jones will be joining his coaching staff in New Orleans when he was named to the 2013-14 NBA Developmental League All-Star Squad.
Jones, who played with both the Cavaliers and Charge last year, was acquired as a returning player before this season. The former West Virginia standout has started all 29 games for Canton this year and comes into the weekend averaging 16.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in just under 30 minutes per contest this year.
Jones will play for the “Futures” team, helmed by Charge head coach Steve Hetzel and his staff. The eighth annual NBA D-League All-Star Game will be played on Saturday, Feb. 15, at Sprint Arena inside NBA All-Star Jam Session and will air live on NBA TV at 3 pm ET.
Jones and his teammates got back to work on Tuesday night, topping the Austin Toros, 98-90, for their fifth straight win at the Civic Center. Canton led by 13 at intermission and upped its edge to as many as 23 in the second half – holding off a late Austin run to improve to 11-2 at home. Arinze Onuaku tallied his seventh double-double of the season with 20 points and a season-high 16 boards. Kevin Jones led everyone with 21 points on 10-for-17 shooting and Sergey Karasev added 15 points and six assists in 36 minutes.
On Thursday morning, the Charge (18-11) had their five-game home win streak snapped by the Maine Red Claws, who took the 113-105 decision in front of 3,504 screaming kids at the annual School Day Game at the Civic Center.
Thursday’s game was tied at 96-apiece midway through the fourth quarter, but Canton cooled off from the floor and Maine used a 13-4 run to put the game on ice. Jorge Gutierrez led Canton with 21 points and Arinze Onuaku notched his third double-double in four games with 15 points and 12 boards. Kevin Jones added 18 points and five rebounds and Sergey Karasev finished with 16 points and four steals.
Did You Know: Before he moved to the States from Poland with his mother and sister at age 14, Charge center Aleksander Czyz first started playing when he was 10 years old for a club team called Prokom Trefl Gdynia
They Said It: “We see every team as a potential loss, so we have to treat it like that. We have to prepare for every team like they are at full strength, so that’s what we did tonight and came out with a win."
-All-Star forward Kevin Jones on the team’s mindset going against a shorthanded Austin team
Stat of the Week: The Charge came into Thursday morning’s game against Maine as the best shooting team in the D-League (47.8 percent FG) as well as the team allowing the fewest points (98.4).
Look Ahead: This weekend, the Charge go back-to-back, traveling to Massachusetts to take on the Armor on Saturday evening. Canton has gone 3-1 against Springfield so far this season.
On Sunday, it’s another meeting with the Mad Ants, who come to the Canton Memorial Civic Center on Saturday evening at 5 pm ET. The Charge have gone 2-3 against Ft. Wayne so far this season and – with just a 1.5 game lead on the Mad Ants heading into the weekend – would love to even that record before the Break.
Fans can follow all of the action with live stats and a live YouTube stream of the game on CantonCharge.com.