It was a shooting gallery as the first half saw 49 percent of the total field goal attempts from three-point range. Even if coaches and players gave themselves the green light to fire from deep that did not mean they were falling as only 16-of-47 of the first half attempts from deep tickled the twine. An exception to this was the 905’s 2-way player, combo forward Oshae Brissett who shot 4-of-7.
Brissett led the game with 24 points while also contributing eight rebounds and finished 4-of-8 from deep. Using his wide body as a screener, he showed himself equally capable of mixing up his pops and rolls to the rim. Although not showing a lot of ability to put the ball down and create, it was clear that Brissett has a nose for finding opportunity within structured offense. He was able to space the floor on the weak side and use his basketball IQ to reposition himself in the corner, while also mixing hard dives to the rim, to generate passing angles for the 905-point guard Tyler Ennis. When his man was forced to help on Ennis’ drives, Oshae was adept at carving out position under the glass, securing four offensive rebounds for the game. This strong shooting performance was a bit of an outlier, however, as he had been shooting under 40 percent from the field and under 25 percent from three for the season. On the defensive side of the ball, Brissett had active hands forcing deflections and showing an ability to guard the post or perimeter focused wings.
In the second half of the game the 905 started with a 7-2 surge. Afterwards their offense cratered. For the third quarter they only managed to shoot 9-of-23 from the field and 1-of-7 from three. A third quarter push by Lakeland was driven by versatile wing Hassani Gravett who contributed four assists in the quarter including a few dazzling no look dishes for dunks. This all was mitigated by a 7-2 run again by the 905 to start the fourth, which brought the score to 91 – 90. Both teams traded buckets throughout until the games last few minutes when the Magic’s veteran floor general Josh Magette steadied his squad and took control.
Magette orchestrated the Magic’s offense skillfully to the tune of 13 assists and only one turnover. Displaying masterful handle in both the half and full court he used the spread floor to zip passes across the strong and weak sides with either hand, often off the bounce. His comfort in the pick and roll was evident as time after time he made the right read hitting rollers for lobs or penetrating and kicking out back to three-point line. He was also unafraid to call his own number effectively ending the game in its last minute with a crafty drive to an and-one finish. Another key contributor for Lakeland was Michale Kyser who controlled the lane to the tune of eight rejections, many of which were of the emphatic variety.
After a very solid first quarter the 905’s newly signed 2-way contract player Paul Watson struggled. With a reputation as a shooter, shooting 42.2 percent on nearly seven attempts per game from three for the season, Watson did not shoot well. Though many of his looks came at the end of the shot clock and were heavily contested, he needs to find better seams to get his shot off. In terms of creating his own offense he looked limited having the ball tied up or stripped on several of his drives. Although he only shot 5- of-15 and 1-for-7 from three he did shine defensively using his 6-6, 210 pound body to disrupt Lakeland’s own 2-way player, Vic Law, into an 8-of-25 shooting night.
Tonight’s win improves Lakeland’s record to 15-12 and dropped the 905’s to 10-16. Lakeland will next face the Canton Charge (16-10) in Canton, Ohio on January 22nd, while the 905 will face the Greensboro Swarm (5-21) in Mississauga, also on January 22nd.
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