Game Preview: Erie BayHawks (10-12) vs. Austin Toros (9-9)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Two teams hovering at or near the .500 mark hook up tonight down in Austin. It’s the first and only time these teams will meet this season. Although Tulsa currently sits in sixth in the overall D-League standings and Erie is 11th, the teams are only separated by three games in the loss column. And who knows, a win for Erie could be a difference maker down the line if a playoff run is in the cards.

Game 23 Preview: Erie BayHawks (10-12) vs. Austin Toros (9-9)

Erie coming in: The BayHawks arrive in Texas riding a four-game winning streak that is not only their longest streak of the year, it’s also the longest active streak in the D-League. Cedric Jackson has been the catalyst for the recent turnaround, getting to the line and pushing the ball in transition. The team’s also gotten nice complementary play from recent additions Frank Tolbert and Mike Gansey, although Gansey did not play in the past two games (and I still haven’t heard why!)

Austin coming in: Whereas the BayHawks enter this game fresh off a weekend sweep of the Tulsa 66ers, the Toros lost their last game, which was Thursday night against those same 66ers. The player to watch for the Toros is Dwayne Jones. The Toros center leads the league in rebounds with 15.3 per game, including a whopping 6.2 offensive boards per game. He also scores 17.8 a game. It’ll be interesting to see how the BayHawks choose to defend him. John Bryant is a top rebounder himself, but Jones has a definitive agility advantage. Alade Aminu may be better suited to match Jones step-for-step, but I’m not sure he has the strength. Backups Jarvis Gunter and Kyle Goldcamp may also see time on Jones depending on the flow of the game. Malik Hairston is another Toro of interest, as he is on assignment (last I checked) from the Spurs, scoring a team-high 28 in Thursday’s loss against the 66ers.

And In a mostly unrelated note, I saw a guy at the gym the other day wearing an Austin Toros T-shirt. That seemed really unusual, especially without the team even being in town. If we weren’t both in the midst of exercising (woohoo for the treadmill!), I might’ve said something. Instead, I’ll forever wonder who that guy was and why he had a Toros shirt in Erie. So, a shout-out to that guy, whoever you are.

BayHawks keys to success:

  • Control the defensive boards.
    This is obviously related to Dwayne Jones. As mentioned above, he averages more than 6 offensive rebounds per game, which is about half of the Toros’ team average. If John Bryant and Alade Aminu can control Jones and limit the Toros to one shot on offense, Erie will be in good shape.
  • Use the 3-ball wisely.
    Earlier this year, I told the BayHawks to limit their 3-point shooting. That still holds true, but with the addition of Mike Gansey (if he’s playing) and the in-season improvement from Ivan Harris, Erie does have a few guys that can be dangerous from distance. Cedric Jackson, Jackie Manuel, and Frank Tolbert should resort to the 3 only as a last resort or when wide open after a nice setup pass.
  • Pace yourselves.
    It’s the last game of a three-game roadtrip before returning to Erie. The team is riding high after four straight wins. This is a classic run-out-of-gas game. Erie needs to avoid the pitfalls. The first five minutes of the game. The first five minutes of the third quarter are typical times to give up a devastating run. This is a night when the coach need’s to have a quick trigger with a timeout to halt any pending surges by the Toros. Be ready, Coach Treloar.


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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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