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Ignite lose early lead, drop first outing of Winter Showcase

The finale to the first half of the G League season begins and ends with the league’s winter showcase where the NBA G League Ignite dropped their first of two outings during the four-day event.

After building an early lead, the Ignite fell to the Cleveland Charge, 100-88, Wednesday, Dec. 20 from Orlando, Florida. Coming into the showcase, this year’s developmental group was 4-10 overall but had won four of its last six games prior to Wednesday’s tilt. One of those two losses came via a two-point finish.

The latter half of the two-game showcase schedule for the Ignite will conclude Thursday, Dec. 21 when the program takes on the Grand Rapids Gold. Tip-off is set for 4 p.m.

Going cold at the wrong time led to the ultimate outcome for the Ignite against the Charge after the team was burned by a 9-0 run that sealed their fate. During the run, the team had struggles getting anything to go as it went without a point for nearly six minutes and without a field goal for close to six and a half minutes.

Cleveland had built a lead as large as 14 points in the fourth quarter after not capturing its first lead until forward Pete Nance drilled home a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to go into the locker room up, 52-51.

In the first quarter, the Ignite held the Charge without a point for the first three minutes and 17 seconds of the ball game as the group raced out to a 10-0 run after the tip. 

Eventually, head coach Jason Hart’s club would go up by as many as 12 points in the first 12-minute session. Despite winning the first quarter, the Ignite would be outscored in each of the next three frames including losing the fourth quarter, 21-15.

The youth-filled group was treated to two 15-point performances from veteran guards John Jenkins and Norris Cole.

As he often does, Jenkins did a lot of his damage from deep finishing with a 5-for-8 shooting mark from the field including four made threes.

Cole added his 15 points off-the-bench as he helped the Ignite win the bench points stat with a 39-24 advantage. Fellow reserve Tyler Smith contributed 12 points of his own in 16 minutes of action.

Forward Izan Almansa was the final Ignite player in double-figures with 10 points on 4-of-7 from the floor.

Projected top picks Matas Buzelis and Ron Holland combined to score 17 points on 7-of-20 shooting to go along with 15 total rebounds and eight assists. Holland led the team with his nine rebounds and shared in the team-high with his five assists along with Cole and point guard London Johnson.

Holland also added a team-high three steals (one away from tying the game-high) coupled with a game-high two blocks.


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