FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
Second quarter defensive disaster.
It was only a six point margin by the end of the first quarter, but things quickly went south for the Dragons with the start of the second period. The Malaysian team looked clueless in stopping Saigon’s aggressive trio of Akeem Scott, Moses Morgan, and Maxie Esho. Simple pick-and-pops gave either Morgan or Williams all-day to shoot, while Scott continued his fast-driven game that tore the Dragons apart. On the other hand, the Heat were dialed-in when it came to defending the home team, putting additional effort into the finer details, allowing the Dragons to only convert on four shots in that entire quarter.
Take care of the ball, or suffer the consequences.
The visitors put up stifling defense that essentially had the entire Dragons squad forcing themselves into trouble. When it came to steals, the Heat finished with 12, led by Akeem Scott, who had four, which directly gave the Heat more scoring opportunities on the other end. Malaysia turned the ball over a total of 21 times, many being unforced errors, derived from careless passing. With such a large gift presented by the Dragons, the Heat graciously accepted, converting them into 33 points.
The only Dragons bright spot.
It was an embarrassing loss for the hosting side, simply being outplayed by the Saigon Heat in virtually every statistical category, however, one of the players that continues to deliver satisfying performances is Kuek Tian Yuan, a reliable stretch four that has been a crucial contributor in recent games. Once again, he was able to deliver, finishing with 17 points and nine rebounds in his 27 minutes of game action. Though he started the game with early fouls, the Malaysian local still managed to have his presence felt on both ends of the floor, especially in scoring from the low-post.
Same guy. Better Player.
Moses Morgan was mainly known as a spot-up small forward from previous seasons, but has transitioned well into a stretch-forward that can defend a multitude of positions, while still drilling cold-blooded long balls when he is given space. Against the Dragons, Morgan didn’t shy away one bit and simply put on a show at MABA Stadium. He managed to score 26 points, to go along with three rebounds and two assists, converting on 6-of-8 from behind the perimeter. If the league had a Most Improved Player award, a case could certainly be made in Morgan’s favor.
Time may be up?
Perhaps his knee issues has been bothering him, but Marcus Marshall has looked rather lost since the Dragons’ previous game. The world-import guard hasn’t been as aggressive as how we’re used to seeing him play, willingly allow Joshua Munzon to run most of the team’s offense since early on in the first quarter. As the team’s primary import and scoring option, Marshall was only able to connect one a single shot throughout his 13 minutes of play, finishing with two points and one assist. His fellow American big man AJ West had a much better output (22 points and 17 rebounds), but he wasn’t able to impact the game beyond the numbers, especially in guarding Maxie Esho. The Dragons will roughly have a two week break, so fans shouldn’t have any reasons to not expect another roster change before the deadline.