2018 FBA Season/18.05.11/DAK@EDM/Capsule
This cool Friday evening the Totems find themselves on a knife’s edge. Down 0-3, tonight they have to change the momentum or they will find themselves swept in the first round.
Dakota wins the tip-off, and they looked to keep the momentum they’ve built over the past three games going early with an alley-oop from Matthew Silvius to Benjamin Durby. Though the Totems hardly seemed rattled behind the leadership of the veteran Hirvonen, who answered back with an assist of his own in the post to the beaver Buckley. As the quarter progressed, neither team was willing to give ground. Buckley battling Redfield in the post and Durby pushing around Romanoren on the flipside. In the end the first comes to a close all knotted up at 24 a piece, with Durby and Buckley leading the way in scoring with 8 points a piece. The second quarter is where we see the first flinch. Anticipating a defensive shift to shut down their post attack, Edmonton switched to a perimeter attack. This was perhaps them getting ahead of themselves as Silvius, Lawyer, and Redfield continued to play a tight man-to-man defense even after Edmonton had gone toe-to-toe with them in the post thus far. This tight defense helped the Bikers hold them to two three pointers out of their eleven attempts in the second quarter. On the other end the Bikers carried on at their own fast pace, knocking down two of four three point attempts and feeding Durby in the post, allowing him to wrack up another 8 points before the half. On the flipside Buckley still leads the Totems in total points with 13 after struggling from beyond the arc. Edmonton returns to the court and reverts back to their physical post gameplan. We start to see the fouls stack up against Dakota as the Totems keep nailing every free throw they are given, by the end of the quarter they are a perfect 12-12 from the charity stripe. We also see a shift from Dakota attacking from mid-to-long range with Lawyer and Hayes, coming off the bench, racking up 14 points between the pair. Despite the efforts of the bench, Casey Rucks hitting all three of his shots and Conor Caracal hitting his one three attempt, and the last second heroics by Francois nailing his second three of the quarter, Dakota has stretched their lead to double digits. The Totems head into the fourth down by 10. Fans surely felt the tension with only twelve minutes of play left, the Totems on the verge of a playoff sweep. But perhaps that’s the sort of pressure they needed to play freely, as in the final twelve minutes of play we maybe saw the best teamplay all playoffs come out from the Totems. First of all, they finally found a game plan that started to work. Exploiting the fact that Durby has to commit to a close man-to-man defense to shut down Romanoren, Luukas begins calling for pick plays with Romaneren that then follow up with either Dapremont isolated against Mishima or letting Buckley drive to the basket. By the help defense from one of the best post defenders in the league, Edmonton was able to win the post battle in the end. Dakota wouldn’t go without a fight. Lawyer tried to take over the final quarter, nearly pulling Dakota along as he scored 12 of Dakota’s 17 points in the quarter. Yet it wasn’t enough. Even intentionally fouling didn’t work as Edmonton went a perfect 4-4 in the final minute from free throw land. In the end they managed to hold onto a four point lead, avoiding the sweep. Final Score, 92-88, Player of the Game goes to Baxter Buckley, who kept Edmonton in it throughout the game by putting up 26 points, and leading the team in rebounds.
Now, they head back to enemy territory, hopes high that they can carry this momentum forward.