FIVE TAKEAWAYS FROM THE GAME
Deguara’s troublesome size.
Early on in the game, the Saigon Heat were quite successful in using Samuel Deguara’s size against him on their offensive side of the ball with quick attacks towards the rim, but conversely, it was also the big man’s towering length that gave the visitors fits in trying to defend him as well. Despite throwing multiple defenders at Deguara, the import center was able to fight through it for easy finishes close to the basket while also drawing fouls. As the game wore on and fatigue started to settle into Heat attackers, the Mono Vampire center’s sheer size was a major deterrent in the paint, and when he wasn’t blocking shots, his presence alone forced the visitors into taking tough looks which were much easier to come by when they were still fresh. Though he did have seven turnovers, Deguara more than made up for it with his defensive prowess and efficiency in scoring, finishing with 33 points, 14 rebounds, and one block on 14-of-15 shooting from the field.
Second half injury cools off Moses Morgan.
Moses Morgan started the game off scorching, hitting 8-of-12 from the field, including going 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, and jumping to 19 points by the end of the first half. He displayed versatility in scoring the ball with drives that ended in layups and floaters, while also hitting the long ball with great efficiency. Unfortunately, the heritage import forward went down with what appeared to be a knee injury late in the third quarter when his teammate Horace Nguyen landed on his leg off a Michael Singletary drive to the basket. Morgan didn’t return back to the game from that point onward and his presence was greatly missed by the Heat, not only on the offensive end, but also his ability to defend a multitude of players.
Game of offenses.
Wednesday night’s match-up began with a blistering pace, as both teams traded baskets against little to no resistance. It was to be expected, as the Saigon Heat and Mono Vampire excel out in the open floor, whether it be through misses or made baskets. Although Mono turned the ball over at twice the rate the Saigon did (18-9), which the Heat converted into 25 points as opposed to the Vampire’s 13, the Thailand-side made up for it with their shooting efficiency. The visitors attempted 23 more shots (102-79), and were an impressive 51 percent from three (14-27), but the Vampire were better from the field overall, hitting 46 of their 79 attempts (58 percent), and 40-of-59 from within the arc, good for 67 percent. The end result was a high-scoring affair with the two teams combining for 231 points in just four quarters.
Maxie Esho’s valiant effort.
The Saigon Heat world import center came into the game playing to his strengths and his counterpart’s weaknesses, taking Samuel Deguara off the dribble for easy finishes at the rim while also displaying a mid-range face-up game. Though he did struggle against the Maltese center on the defensive end, especially when Deguara received the ball deep in the paint, Esho provided good help defense against penetrating guards and forwards. The American played the entire 40 minutes, finishing with a game-high of 38 points, while also adding 17 boards, two assists, two steals, and two blocks in the loss.
Nearly a clean sweep.
After falling to the Heat in their first match up of the season all the way back in December, Mono Vampire finished off their season series with a third consecutive victory over the Vietnam-based team. In the four games between these two teams, each side had a blowout victory over the other and fans were treated with two more competitive matches that could have gone either way, including an overtime game in the two team’s second match-up of the season. The mid-season addition of Samuel Deguara to the Vampire has possibly been the most difficult cover for the Heat all-season long, and with both sides sharing similar fast-paced offenses, it would definitely be fun to see these two go at it in a playoff series.