Tip: 6:00 p.m., Canton Memorial Civic Center, Canton, OH
Record: 17-10, first in East Division
Off. efficiency: 104.9 points per 100 possessions, 8th
Def. efficiency: 100.6, 3rd
Net rating: +4.4, 3rd
Pace: 97.4 possessions per game, 16th
Effective FG pct: 51.4, 9th
Turnover pct: 18.2, 13th
Off. rebound pct: 30.2, 7th
FTA rate: .352, 2nd
Opp. effective FG pct: 49.7, 5th
Opp. turnover pct: 17.2, 7th
Def. rebound rate 76.1, 1st
Opp. FTA rate: .304, 6th
Points: Kevin Jones, 16.0
Rebounds: Arinze Onuaku, 8.5
Assists: Jorge Gutierrez, 6.0
Blocks: Onuaku, 1.1
Steals: Carrick Felix, 1.4
The Canton Charge have cooled a bit from their 8-1 start — they are 9-9 since, but their point differential hasn’t dropped off dramatically. They have outscored their opponents by 3.1 points per 100 possessions, fifth in this span, but they have lost a disproportionate amount of close games, when the margin is five points or fewer. They are 3-7 in close games since their 9-1 start. They’ve been outscored by 21 points in 37 “clutch” minutes, per NBA D-League.com/Stats, equivalent to 27 points per 48 minutes — an untenable figure. Canton was 5-0 in close games before this recent skid, so perhaps they can find themselves in time for the postseason.
Where they excel
The Charge remain one of the more stingy defensive units in the D-League, even though they “regressed” to sixth in points allowed per possession in their past 18 games. They struggle with protecting the rim, yielding a D-League worst 70.4 field goal percentage in the restricted area, but they don’t allow many attempts in the first place. Canton opponents average 22.3 attempts in the restricted area, almost three attempts fewer than the second best team. This offsets their percentages a bit, and opponents average 43 points in the paint, a top-four mark. The Charge are an excellent defense otherwise — they prevent extra opportunities, stay out of foul trouble, and they can ignite transition opportunities.
Where they struggle
Turnovers. Canton isn’t an elite offense by any stretch — they’ve been eighth for the majority of the season, comfortable enough to complement their top three defense. They have eight players averaging at least three free throws. Getting to the line consistently is an effective way of bumping up offensive efficiency. But they turn the ball over often, only four teams cough up the ball at a higher percentage. It’s cost them several games, too — the Charge averages 16.9 turnovers per 100 possessions in wins and 20.2 in losses.
Player to watch
Gilbert Brown. Brown is just fifth in points on the Charge, averaging 12.5 points, but he has a NBA type body — 6-foot-6, 215 pounds. Brown is shooting a high percentage, especially in the restricted area where he’s made 78.7 percent of his 47 attempts. He’s taken a third of his attempts in the restricted area, but he also has 3-point range. He doesn’t have many weaknesses.
Stats: NBA D-League/Stats