2019 FBA Season/19.06.09/DAK@HWI/Capsule
Despite a venomous 81 points combined between the sometimes unfathomably elite duo of Jonathan Lawyer and Matthew Silvius, the Hawaii Kahunas held on loosely to a 3-point victory at E Komo Mai Arena on Sunday, bringing the series to two wins a piece and guaranteeing a Game 6.
A majority of those points came in the second quarter, out of necessity, as the Dakota Bikers found themselves down by 13 at the beginning of the 2nd quarter. Later, at 3:36, Zack Tate blocked an ill-fated Duncan Kuqi shot that landed back into the paws of Scoonie Barrett, who took the gift back home for a slam dunk. This ended an 11-point streak by the Bikers, and feasibly saved the game for them later as they managed a 1-point Kahunas lead at the half.
Starting in the third, the isolation plays came out early, but Jona Vastenhout and Julian Cross-Kiraly kept up with some well-placed three-point shots. Not to undermine the vivacity of the "Young Bombastics" of Sioux Falls - most analytics show that if you have two players with 40+ point games, your chances of winning are 92%. But Bikers fans are marching to a second-straight Finals appearance, and most of the die-hard fans expect domination across the board. Which begs the question: What gnawed at the heels of the Bikers tonight that caused this second-straight loss? Was it the marginalization of their defensive game, which was critical in their Game 3 loss? Kuqi could do little more than bump into teammates as he got his first significant time fill of the post-season. Mika Mishima was invisible in place of the injured Xavier Saffiren, but did hold on in critical moments. Tate's seventeen rebounds and Vastenhout's four steals were matched by Redfield and Silvius, but overall Dylan Redfield was less effective than two nights ago.
No, it was just the intangible of playing on the Kahunas' home court. With less than twenty seconds remaining, Tate's second block on Kuqi sealed the deal, more or less, by evaporating a chance at a three-point tie (likely from Silvius) to send the game into overtime, at least - and the raucous crowd applauded the effort, if not to keep alive the dream of knocking out the strongest team in the West.
-W. Walker, FSPN Correspondent