Moncton only unbeaten team in postseason
By José Colorado
It appears Moncton's magic knows no bounds.
While the remaining three teams in the NBLC were forced to scrap and claw their way into the NBLC conference finals via a five-game series, Joe Salerno's club has been patiently waiting at home since April 11 due to a comfortable 3-0 (win-loss) sweep of the Saint John Riptide in the first round.
The manhandling did little to remove the proverbial bulls eye on the franchise as the Magic easily dispatched the league's best defensive unit by an average margin of 17 points per game, in the process remaining the only unbeaten team in these playoffs.
With Moncton being NBLC title front-runners for the majority of the season the most recent episode of dominance appears to have only strengthened that case even further heading into its conference finals date versus the Halifax Hurricanes.
Atlantic Division: Divisional Finals
Moncton Magic (1) vs. Halifax Hurricanes (2)
Season series (win-loss): 5-1 for Moncton
Most recent matchup: 100 – 91 win for Halifax on Feb.18
Games decided by single-digits: Four
Moncton's playoff path: 3-0 vs. Saint John Riptide
Halifax's playoff path: 3-2 vs. Cape Breton Highlanders
Prediction: Moncton wins 4-3
When it comes to the regular season battle between the first-seeded Magic and the second-placed Halifax Hurricanes, there really wasn't one.
Moncton dominated the match up 5-1 with two (nearly three) of those wins coming by double-digits. However, some context must be taken into consideration as the 'Canes became increasingly more competitive as the season drummed along; eventually resulting in Halifax winning 100 - 91 in the last game between the two clubs on Feb.18.
Yet that date in time as well must be noted as nearly two months will have elapsed since the match up – meaning plenty has changed.
One thing that will remain constant – and necessary for Halifax to be competitive - is for the 'Canes to improve its defense against the three-point shot.
Consider that in the six regular season games between the two clubs, Moncton shot 64 – of – 152 (42.10 per cent) from long-distance – noticeably above its 37 per cent average from long distance in its other 34 regular season games.
Seeing as how these two squads both rank in the top three in the fewest points allowed on defense, it's paramount that Halifax lives up to that billing and not allow Moncton – a pedestrian offensive team ranking just sixth in the league in points scored - such offensive explosions as they did during the regular season.
Although not by a significant margin, Vegas must still have Moncton as the favourites given its recent play and stellar overall season.
Although not by a significant margin, Vegas must still have Moncton as the favourites given its recent play and stellar overall season
SHOT AT REDEMPTION:
MIKE POOLE (ROSEDALE, N.Y.) – GUARD, HALIFAX HURRICANES
Some in the social media hemisphere are calling it a snub, others are saying it's justifiable.
The National Basketball League of Canada is pleased to announce that @B_Rayson2 of @TheSudburyFive has been named Most Valuable Player of the Year for the 2019 season.— NBL Canada (@NBLCanada) April 9, 2019
Full Release: https://t.co/pVdWY13oVW#RaiseTheBar pic.twitter.com/7CWvPe3Bwv
But however Mike Poole is digesting the news of Braylon Rayson winning the league MVP over him, one must think the New Yorker believes he is at least on equal footing to the guard – if not better.
He certainly played as such in the first round versus the Cape Breton Highlanders as he averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals on 43.15 per cent shooting – all above his season averages (exception: shooting percentage, steals).
Yet that five-game scare versus the No.3-seeded Cape must have been more work than Halifax preferred.
There is no better time than the playoffs for statements, money and future contracts to be earned so if Poole is truly intent on making a proclamation on being the NBLC's best, Moncton provides the ideal opportunity.