Early season struggles continue as Ignite drop third straight
A short-handed G League Ignite team dropped their third straight game to start the new year, this time on the road.
The Ignite went cold early and often during the team’s, 114-103, loss to the South Bay Lakers Monday, Nov. 7 from the UCLA Health Training Center. This game counted as the second of back-to-back games for the program.
After opening the year with two home games, this served as the first road game for the Ignite. In fact, it’s the first true road game for the developmental group, not including the bubble at Disney World in 2020.
The road trip was short-lived as the team will return home to The Dollar Loan Center to take on the Santa Cruz Warriors Saturday, Nov. 12. Tip-off is slated for 7 p.m.
Sitting with an 0-3 record, the Ignite are one of two teams that have played three games. Moreover, they are one of nine teams without a win so far this season.
Unlike the first two games, the G League group found itself on the wrong side of a double-digit first quarter deficit in this one, falling behind by as many as 20 points in the first 12 minutes.
Leading into the large deficit, the team found itself scoreless for more than two minutes. Matters compounded later in the quarter when the Ignite was held to just four points in a five minute, 11 second-span.
Even when the Ignite tried to climb out of the hole, scoring droughts put the game back out of reach.
Early in the second quarter, the G League team went on a 5-0 run to cut it down to 14 points. Not long after, the team went cold again, going without a point for more than two minutes before an ultimate four-point stretch in more than three minutes.
Coming out of a timeout, head coach Jason Hart’s message prompted back-to-back forced turnovers for the Ignite as the team took a 6-0 run after the break and turned it into a 10-2 run to head into halftime down 12.
The comeback effort was short-lived as South Bay went on a 6-0 run to open the second half, leaving the G League group without a point for the first 2:17 of the third quarter.
At the 3:11-mark of the third quarter, a timeout was taken with the Lakers up 16 points after holding the Ignite to six points in three and a half minutes. The deficit never got closer than 11 points for the visitors the rest of the way.
Due to a right quad soreness, guard Scoot Henderson was a late scratch.
Coming into the game, Henderson was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 25 points per game to go along with a team-high six assists per game. Without him in the lineup, the offense had little fluidity.
By the 2:43-point of the second quarter, five different South Bay players had seven points or more while the G League team’s top two scorers had seven apiece.
Guard Babacar Sane was the first Ignite player in double-figures, reaching the plateau with less than three minutes to go in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter, guards Mojave King, London Johnson and forward Shareef O’Neal followed. King led the team in scoring 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
Late in the contest, guard Pooh Jeter led a charge that allowed for him to become the fifth G League player in double-figures. In the first two games, the team produced six double-digit scorers in each.
Forward Leonard Miller was held to eight points on 2-of-9 from the field to go along with seven rebounds. He recorded a 19-point, 13-rebound double-double in the team’s last outing.