The biggest news of the week was the return of veteran Jam center Mac Koshwal. The return of Koshwal provides the Jam with a legitimate center, which the team has lacked since not retaining any of the centers they brought in for training camp. Koshwal is expected to challenge Earl Clark for the starting 5 spot immediately.
Now, onto game summaries.
This was a repeat of the opening game of the season for the Jam, when they were shellacked by the Warriors at home. This time, the story would be different.
The Jam were led by a dominant Earl Clark. Clark did a little bit of everything, including shooting 5-8 from beyond the arc, to finish with 33 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists and a block. Terrico White chipped in 20 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, while steady-handed Xavier Munford contributed 24 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists from the bench. The story of the game for the Jam was turnovers -- or, more appropriately, the lack thereof, as the team finished with just 11. With turnovers and resulting fastbreak scores being one of the major problems for the team, this result goes to show just how competitive they can be when protecting the ball.
The Warriors, meanwhile, struggled with turnovers, committing 17. They were led by Elliot Williams, who matched Clark's all-around performance with 33 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists. Darington Hobson also had a solid game, with 24 points and 10 rebounds. One of the big differences between this game and the opening day matchup was the performance of Daniel Orton, who finished with 17 points and 6 rebounds. While offensively Orton was still disruptive with his size, it just wasn't at the same level as during the previous game.
This was something of a reunion game, as the Jam went up against the team put together by former front office guru Brian Levy, who now runs the Mad Ants for Larry Bird and the Pacers. Unfortunately for the Jam, Levy's team looked better this time.
Earl Clark continued his strong play against Fort Wayne, with 20 points, 14 rebounds and an impressive 4 blocks. C.J. Wilcox also came back into form, with 21 points. Munford (20 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists) was solid again off of the bench, and White (16 points, 7 rebounds) continued to impress. Deonte Burton, who started the game at PG, had 12 points on 5-6 shooting. The team again struggled with turnovers, but the biggest problem was probably poor defense of the three point line: the Mad Ants shot 45.5%.
The Mad Ants had a strongly balanced offensive performance, with every player scoring at least 8 points. The team was led by Rakeem Christmas, on assignment from the Indiana Pacers, who had 18 points and 8 rebounds. Marcus Simmons added 16 points and 8 rebounds, while Xavier Thames (10 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists) and Walt Lemon Jr. (14 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists) both creatively led the offense, if their shooting numbers weren't particularly good.
On the back stretch of a SEGABABA, the Jam faced off against the surprisingly mediocre Canton Charge. The Charge are expected to be one of the better teams in their conference this season, but have struggled out of the gate, just 1-3 coming into this game.
The Jam were, in what is becoming a trend, unsurprisingly led by Clark (24 points, 9 rebounds), Wilcox (18 points), White (18 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals), and Munford (20 points). The bench after Munford was pretty abysmal, playing 54 minutes combined and contributing just 7 points and 9 rebounds. Turnovers were down, which is a positive, but the pace was also slower, which may be partially responsible.
The Charge were led by rookie Quinn Cook (27 points, 5 rebounds) and center Mike Dunigan (22 points, 7 rebounds). Dunigan in particular had a strong game, shooting 8-10 and easily scoring against the interior defense of the Jam. Other notable performances came from Damien Inglis (8 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists), on assignment from the Milwaukee Bucks, and Dom (formerly Sir'Dominic) Pointer (4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists). Joe Harris, on assignment from the Cleveland Cavaliers, had 16 points, but on just 4-15 shooting.