By: Taylor Bailey
Feature Photo: saltlakecity.gleague.nba.com
Tough Loss at Home
The 4-8 Salt Lake City Stars welcomed the 10-2 Ontario Clippers to the Maverik Center in a divisional face-off Thursday night.
Ontario, with their 2nd ranked defense in the league, continued its reign over the western conference with a win over the Stars, 124-117.
The game would be a back-and-forth battle with 15 different lead changes throughout the night. And while a loss is never a welcomed sight, there were some massive improvements from SLC coming off the Stockton King’s loss.
The Stars were able to stay in stride with the Clipper’s 2nd ranked defense in the G League. Ontario had 8 steals on the night to the Stars’ 6. Rebound tallies would total in favor of Ontario with 40 and SLC would follow close behind with 35.
While their defense didn’t look as lax as it has been in previous games, rebounding on the night would be dominated by Ontario forward, Moussa Diabate. Diabate would finish the game with 28 points and 23 rebounds. 8 of those rebounds would be completed on the offensive side of the ball.
Offensively, the Stars had brief spurts of being the better team. Frank Jackson would lead the team with an impressive 27 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds. 17 of Jackson’s points came from the first quarter alone.
The Stars’ were less inclined to rely on the deep ball and instead focused on their short game. The final result would be a shooting percentage of 60 from the field. SLC’s shooting success was attributed to stellar ball movement and hitting open looks when the opportunity presented itself.
Looking Towards the Future
Going forward, the Stars’ will need to zero in on their defense and protect the ball. Last night in key possessions, needless turnovers would be the Stars’ undoing and solidify the Clipper’s victory. And while most of the night the Stars’ defense showed a hunger that had been missing for many games, there were brief rookies mistakes that need some fine-tuning.
Next Opportunity for SLC
The Stars will get another opportunity to face off with their conference rival this Saturday, as SLC will play host to the Clippers again. Tip-off will be 7 p.m Saturday.