Game Preview: Maine Red Claws (5-1) at Erie BayHawks (2-3)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The scheduling gods have not been kind to the Erie BayHawks so far this season. After starting the season with four games on the road, the team returned to Erie for its home opener where they were met by the red hot Maine Red Claws. Erie hosts Maine again Wednesday and Thursday in back-to-back games at Tullio Arena, and if the result is anything like Saturday, the BayHawks won't be seeing 5,000+ in the stands for long.

Game 6 Preview: Maine Red Claws (5-1) at (2-3) Erie BayHawks

Maine coming in: The expansion franchise can seemingly do no wrong these days. Loaded with a roster featuring seven players with NBA experience, including currently assigned players Bill Walker of the Celtics and Alexis Ajinca of the Bobcats, the Red Claws have won five straight games, including the 116-90 thrashing of the BayHawks on Saturday. Following that game in Erie, they went back to Maine where they hosted Tulsa on Sunday. At one point, Tulsa led by 22 points, but Maine clawed their way back and won it 87-82. Not that they need it, but more help is on the way. According to the Boston Herald, rookie point guard Lester Hudson will join the Red Claws for both games against the BayHawks this week (as well as a game against Fort Wayne).

Erie coming in: The BayHawks have to be disappointed with the result of their home opener. After splitting a pair of games against both Fort Wayne and Sioux Falls on the road, they have experience adjusting to an opponent, but Maine has an offensive arsenal that makes it tough for Erie. Against the Red Claws, John Bryant had his first bad game as a pro. Donell Taylor also struggled mightily shooting the ball. The BayHawks will need better performances from its two top offensive options if they're going to have a shot at enacting revenge Wednesday night.

BayHawks keys to success:

  • Defend the pick and roll with Gunter
    The BayHawks will need to be better at defending the pick and roll, especially with Hudson figuring to step in and see significant minutes at the point guard position. The high pick and roll was devastating to Erie on Saturday, leaving John Bryant scrambling and out of position, freeing the paint for the Red Claws to operate. If Ajinca is still on the roster for this game, Coach Treloar may want to think about using Jarvis Gunter more often when Ajinca is on the floor. His speed/quickness matches up better with Ajinca on the defensive end.
  • Move the ball on offense
    Erie's offensive was painful to watch on Saturday. A lot of standing. Too much purposeless dribbling. Minimal movement of both the players and the ball. They can't become stagnant, and they haven't shown enough consistency to think that they can rely on hitting outside shots, especially jumpers that are forced late in the shot clock. Whether it's a post presence from Bryant or Aminu or penetration from Taylor or Jackson, they need to find a way to get some easy buckets.
  • Win the hustle battle
    And finally, let's see some hustle. The stat sheet wasn't favorable for Erie in their last matchup but more disappointing was the way they let this game get out of hand in the second half. All teams have off nights. The good teams find ways to stay close by forcing turnovers, getting to the free throw line, or simply finding a way to get all the loose balls and deflections. Those hustle points don't show on the box score, but they make a difference on the scoreboard.
Tipoff for the game is 7 p.m. As always, you can stream the game live online for free at NBA FutureCast. Also, the game will be broadcast on local radio WFNN 1330 AM.


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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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