Game Preview: Bakersfield Jam (2-11) at Erie BayHawks (3-9)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tonight the Erie BayHawks, in search of their first home victory, welcome the 2-11 Bakersfield Jam to town as part of a doubleheader. The BayHawks game follows a local high school game between Cathedral Prep and Warren.

The BayHawks' organization is so disappointed after blowing a 30-point lead Sunday against the Iowa Energy that they've issued a win guarantee to their fans, which states that if the BayHawks lose, all fans in attendance tonight can take their ticket stub to the box office and redeem it for a free ticket to an upcoming game.

More importantly than any box office issues, however, the BayHawks need to be concerned about what's going wrong on the court, especially at home, where they are now 0-5 to start this season.

Game 12 Preview: Bakersfield Jam (2-11) at Erie BayHawks (3-9)

Bakersfield coming in: After starting the season 0-9, Bakersfield has won two of its last four games, including a 115-98 win on the road against Maine on Sunday. Maine is the same team that swept the BayHawks in three games in Erie earlier this month. Bakersfield guard Jeremy Wise led the way in that win over Maine with 24 points, but he had the help of a balanced attack that included three bench players scoring in double figures. The fact that they were able to upset the Red Claws—by 17 points—tells me that the Jam may be more dangerous to the BayHawks than their 2-11 record suggests.

Erie coming in: Disappointing doesn't begin to describe the feeling surrounding this team right now. They blew halftime leads in back-to-back home games against the D-League's top team, Iowa, over the weekend to drop to 0-5 at home this season and a lowly 3-9 overall. The Sunday loss was particularly disheartening. Even after surrendering most of their 25-point halftime lead, Erie still had a chance to ice the victory in the final seconds up three by making just one of their two free throws, but Martin Zeno missed both, Cartier Martin hit the game-tying 3 at the buzzer to send it into overtime, and the rest is history.

BayHawks' keys to success:

  • Remember and forget.
    This one is simply mental. The BayHawks need to put what happened at the end of their last game against the Energy behind them. Yes, blowing a 30-point lead is bad. Really bad. But it's one game. They need to move on and forget about it by the time tonight's game tips off. That said, they also need to remember that they were beating the league's best team handily, up by as many as 30 points at one point late in the first half. Clearly, there's a good deal of talent on this team, but they've been plagued by inconsistency.

  • Play like it's 1979.
    The 1978-79 season was the last year the NBA played without a 3-point line, and that's what the BayHawks need to do. With a quarter of the season already done, it's clear that they are not an outside shooting team (27-100 on 3s this season). So stop shooting them. Check out the box score against Iowa on Sunday. Erie took just two 3-point field goals (missing both), and the no 3s strategy nearly resulted in a win over the league's best team and quite honestly it should have resulted in a win. Stick to what works: lay off the 3-ball.

  • Ride the hot hand.
    Typically that's a saying applied to a shooter, but we've already addressed the fact that shooting is not a BayHawks strong point. In this instance, the hot hand is the ballhandling of newly acquired point guard Cliff Clinkscales. As Steve Weinman over at D-League Digest pointed out, Clinkscales has been on a tear as of late, racking up 35 assists and just 4 turnovers in the past three games. If he can keep distributing the ball at that rate, Clinkscales may make point guard one area of early-season concern that the BayHawks can actually cross off their to-do list.


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About this blog/blogger

Blog Talk BayHawk is an unofficial Erie BayHawks blog covering the NBA D-League. It features opinions and information about the NBADL and the Erie BayHawks. Blog Talk BayHawk is written from a basketball fan’s perspective to fill In the gaps left by professional journalists’ coverage of BayHawks basketball and the Erie professional basketball scene.

Matt Hubert is a 25-year-old writer and basketball fanatic born and raised in Erie, Pa. He graduated from Mercyhurst College in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in English and a dual concentration in writing and creative writing. Matt's not wavering from his stance as a lifelong Los Angeles Lakers fan, but he will cover the BayHawks' NBA affiliates in Cleveland and Toronto when it makes sense to do so throughout the year.

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