Game Preview: Erie BayHawks (12-20) at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (10-19)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Get used to this matchup. Erie and Fort Wayne will play five times the rest of the way this season with the first two games coming this weekend in Fort Wayne. The BayHawks lead the season series 3-2 and have won two straight against the Mad Ants.

Game 33 Preview: Erie BayHawks (12-20) at Fort Wayne Mad Ants (10-19)

Erie coming in: The BayHawks haven't played in almost two weeks and lost their last four games prior to the all-star break (all against the Iowa Energy). Point guard Cedric Jackson will return to the BayHawks' lineup for the first time since being called up to the Cleveland Cavaliers and being signed to consecutive 10-day NBA contracts.

Fort Wayne coming in: Like Erie, Fort Wayne has been struggling lately. The Mad Ants have lost six of their past seven games dating back before the all-star break, including a 94-90 loss against Reno on Tuesday in their first game back since the break. NBA-assignee Joe Alexander was traded to the Bulls at yesterday's NBA trade deadline from the Mad Ants' affiliate Milwaukee Bucks, which means Alexander's stint in Fort Wayne is over. Fort Wayne still boats two D-League all-stars, though, in Rob Kurz and Ron Howard.

BayHawks keys to success:

  • Shake off the rust early.
    It's been a while since Erie's played a game. With their first game back coming on the road, all signs point to a slow start. They need to be very mindful of their offensive execution in the early going and not simply settle for quick perimeter jumpshots off one or two passes. If they can find a way to get some easy buckets in transition to shake off the rust, that would go a long way toward winning their first game since January.

  • Work Jackson back into the mix.
    Erie has not had a player assigned to them this season from Cleveland or Toronto, which will make Cedric Jackson the first player with NBA experience this season to grace the court for the BayHawks. Although he's still a rookie, Jackson must take on more of a leadership role now that he's been to the next level. It'll be an adjustment switching back to a point guard with the scoring ability of Jackson, but his assist numbers have been good all season, so I think his return to the lineup will be a welcome one for the team. Jackson will likely square off against former BayHawk Oliver Lafayette and new Mad Ant acquisition and a former NBA player, Dan Dickau.

  • Win the frontcourt battle.
    Erie's John Bryant and Alade Aminu are a formidable 1-2 punch up front, but they've had mixed results against Fort Wayne's big men. Jared Reiner, who is coming off an atrocious 1-12 performance on Tuesday, had a great performance in the Mad Ants' first trip to Erie earlier this year (18 points, 13 rebounds, 4 blocks) and Rob Kurz is a versatile all-star forward capable of scoring in a variety of ways. Throw in Sean Sonderleiter and Anthony Kent and the Mad Ants may have the edge in frontcourt depth. After waiving Kyle Goldcamp, Jarvis Gunter is the BayHawks' lone big man coming off the bench. Gunter is an energetic player and a very good rebounder. He'll likely have to play some quality minutes to spell Bryant and/or Aminu if Erie's going to be successful down low against Fort Wayne.
For more on Fort Wayne, be sure to check out their two blogs: Potter's New Blog and Martz Madnesss.

As always, the games this weekend at Fort Wayne can be streamed live online with NBA FutureCast. And if you miss a game, many of them are now accessible in the FutureCast archives.


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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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