Stifling Defense Pivotal in Skyforce Victory over Maine
In a battle of division leaders, a case was made for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. Sioux Falls spoke loudest by taming Maine 118-96 on Tuesday night.
The Red Claws (26-13) came to the Sanford Pentagon as the overwhelming favorite to capture the top seed. Crustacean Nation may yet maintain that status by season’s end, but a staunch defensive effort by the Skyforce (23-17) planted a seed of doubt.
Most mystifying was a stretch in the second quarter where it seemed that the Red Claws barely got across half court before the piranhas attacked. One minute and 47 seconds of game action saw a 10-2 blast that included three Maine turnovers and pushed the lead to double digits which Sioux Falls maintained for the rest of the game.
Zoran Dragic and Fuquan Edwin were the most disruptive during the aforementioned sequence, but Larry Drew II reveals the entire team had a part. “The key ultimately is to get all five players to talk and let everybody know what’s going out on the court. We did everything well tonight and obviously when we play defense like that, you can see what happens.”
Taking the conversation a little deeper Drew says the team continues to buy into a defensive mindset. “We try to focus during all 24 seconds of the shot clock or however long you’re on defense for that possession. The team that’s going to go out there and get those five guys on the court to just buckle down and give it their all for however long it takes is going to win the game nine times out of ten.”
Statistically Drew augmented his league leading assist rate by dealing 11 and scoring 7. Edwin led the Skyforce with 20 points and 3 steals. Meanwhile Zoran Dragic picked up 19 points with 5 assists and 3 steals as well. See some of their work in the highlights below.
Maine’s leaders were Chris Babb and Jason Calliste who both finished with 17 points. Triple-double Tim Frazier almost picked up another with 10 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds.
Up next is a road game for Sioux Falls in the form of a trip to Erie on Thursday night. Maine heads to the home base to host Iowa on Friday for their next outing.