Skyforce Streak of Excellence Continues in Canton
A star-studded event took place with the best player on the planet not named Steph Curry watching the Sioux Falls Skyforce defeat the Canton Charge 112-104 on Tuesday.
For the third consecutive year, these two teams have made acquaintances in the post season and it was the first time Sioux Falls (1-0) had taken Game 1 on the road.
With Canton just up the road from Cleveland, the Cavaliers saw fit to load up their affiliate with a couple of assignees. It was also a night for star-gazing as LeBron James was courtside for the proceedings to watch his teammates guard Jordan McRae and center Sasha Kaun.
What King James saw was a battle that constantly shifted with both teams showing strong tendencies at certain intervals. Sioux Falls showed the way in the first and fourth periods, Canton in the second and third quarters.
When the Skyforce ran arrived bridging the end of the third through the middle of the fourth the Charge were unable to respond in kind. The exact moment of momentum shift came with 1:36 to go in the third with the score 85-73. A technical foul shot followed by a dunk and a three point shot promptly cut the lead in half over the course of 23 seconds.
The rest of the climb took a little longer as the mid point of the fourth quarter saw the Skyforce in control 97-89 with the smallest margin being four points for the balance of the game. To surrender a 24-4 run at that stage of the game was crushing for the Charge and puts the pressure on Canton to sweep two at the Sanford Pentagon to advance to the championship round.
Rodney McGruder was the ring leader for Sioux Falls by notching 30 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Big men Keith Benson (19 points) and Jarnell Stokes (18 points, 8 rebounds) were also pivotal in the Skyforce win along with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals from Greg Whittington.
Newly christened NBADL Rookie of the Year Quinn Cook backed up his status by offering the only double-double of the night with 25 points and 10 assists. The two assignees also presented themselves well with McRae adding 21 points and Kaun posting 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
These two teams will meet on Sunday in Sioux Falls with a 5:00 PM tipoff at the Sanford Pentagon. Game three if necessary would be Monday April 18 at 6:00 PM.