There is just something about playoff basketball. The court shines a little brighter, the crowd looks at their phones a little bit less, and every possession feels like each team’s last. The CourtKings didn’t play scared tonight, they played their game, and that is why they won this one over the Minnesota Broncos on July 1 in the SportsPlex, 114-98.
Big players, play big when big moments arise; or something like that. This is what Court Kings Anthony James (coming back from an ankle injury) obviously was striving for early tonight. The fire in his eyes was undeniable as he drove to the rim multiple times in the first quarter only to meet a defender twice his size. This occasionally forced him to change his lap-up strategy mid-flight and most times in the first quarter resulted in rim-outs. These moments didn’t deter Jame’s as he took a fruitful amount of shots in the first. And ended the quarter with 7, but he had all the looks for a 20-point quarter.
“It’s playoff time.” James said. “We had to come out super aggressive and maintain.”
To end the first quarter, Aundre Hicks made the last 8-points for the CourtKings. This practically forced Broncos head coach, Steve McGee to designate his best defender to try and fix the problem that Hicks was creating for his team. This designated player was Adam Wright and he did exactly what he was supposed to do. Wright shutdown Hicks for the most of the second quarter. This was a great mid-game coaching fix by McGee. Also Bronco’s starting big man, Valentino Jackson, or “Tino” played bigger than the entire CourtKing team in the second quarter. Ending the half with 5/5 from the field and 11 points. These factors and more accounted for the small, 53-48 CourtKings lead.
The third quarter prompted a reasonable question: Could the Broncos (or any team for that matter) keep up with the CourtKings depth? This was answered almost immediately as the five point lead, slowly rose to ten, and then to sixteen. All because every minute coach Mohlis was subbing in fresh legs. These fresh legs ran the floor and easily intercepted countless Bronco lazy passes.
The fourth quarter was ghostly for the CourtKings. At times it felt like the CourtKings were praying their expectations wouldn’t bite them in the butt. DeJuan Flowers after a devastating put-back dunk, quieted the crowd, and instilled fear in the CourtKings. Though the CourtKings hit just enough shots to get out of this one alive. Just enough, layups rolled in, just enough opponent layups rolled out. Just enough Raijon Kelly and Anthony James.
“Kinda nerve-racking if I have to honest.” Coach Mohlis said. “I knew the Broncos were gonna play us hard.”
After tonight’s first round playoff win, the CourtKings will be playing again vs. rival Minnesota Rangers July 2, at 6:30 at the SportsPlex. Be there!
“It’s going to be a battle, we have to take it to them [Rangers].” Coach Mohlis finished.