Sliding Ignite drop fifth straight, lose by two to Kings
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
The early season slide for the NBA G League Ignite has reached a season-worst five games after their most recent loss.
In their return home, the Ignite dropped a close contest to the Stockton Kings, 113-111, Wednesday, Nov. 30 from The Dollar Loan Center. Previously, the team was on a four-game road trip over a week span.
“This is just kind of how it's going to be,” head coach Jason Hart said. “Every now and then, you’re going to get them playing with high-level smarts and then every now and then, they’re going to make some mistakes.
“We just didn’t come out on top. We fouled two three-point shooters and that was a total of eight points so that hurts you.”
This contest pitted Hart against fellow former NBA point guard Bobby Jackson. Combined, Hart and Jackson have 20 years of NBA experience, eight of which overlapped.
“I relished playing against him because we’re really good friends,” Hart said. “Obviously, we’ve got the same goal to try and move up to the NBA. It’s just good to compete against a former NBA player – a really good NBA player and a good dude.”
Now, the Ignite are 3-8 on the season and dwell in the seventh and final spot in the West. This most recent loss was the third in five tries for the team from The DLC.
This year’s NBA developmental group is in the midst of a four-game homestand that will continue Sunday, Dec. 4 when the South Bay Lakers come to town. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
“We’ve lost what, four in a row now?” King asked before being told it was five straight losses. “Five? I think that should be motivation enough to go out and get the next one. If you’re not hungry, I don’t know what we’re doing out here.”
Sunday’s game will mark the first of back-to-back games for the program against the Lakers.
On two separate occasions in the final 4:34 of regulation, the Ignite fouled three-point shooters.
The first was converted on a one-for-three-point free throw. In addition, it started a chain reaction of bad results for the home team. Immediately following, the Ignite had a possession spoiled by two blocks before turning the ball over for a layup on the other end.
The latter of the two came with Stockton down a point with under 30 seconds to go in the fourth quarter and ended up being a four-point play.
“We fouled them,” Miller said. “It is what it is but that’s definitely not acceptable. That shouldn’t be happening down-the-stretch. One of the fouls was on me then later after that, we gained the lead [and] another foul happened as well. That’s completely unacceptable.”
As a whole, the game featured 12 ties and 17 lead changes. Eight ties came in the third quarter alone.
Stockton opened the second half on a 17-5 run to flip an eight-point Ignite lead to a four-point lead for the visitors. Overall, the Kings won the third quarter by nine points on the way to winning three of the four quarters on the night.
The second quarter saw the Ignite snag its first lead since leading 4-3 in the opening minutes of the game. The team went up by four points on a 12-2 run, which at the time was the team’s largest lead of the game.
By halftime, the Ignite closed the half on an 18-4 run.
In the first quarter, the team used a 13-2 run to close the once 12-point Stockton lead to just a point.
“The benefit is you’re playing in pressure moments,” Hart said. “Guys who wouldn’t normally be in that position get the opportunity to play. We’re down three starters. That’s tough from the jump.”
Forward Leonard Miller led the team in scoring with 25 points on 9-of-17 from the field to go along with 10 rebounds, posting his second double-double of the season.
Early in the fourth quarter, Miller pulled up from 29-feet out and drilled one of his two three-pointers to knot the game at 85 apiece.
Guard Mojave King added 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting including two made threes. He has now made multiple threes in half of the team’s games this season.
With the Ignite down five, King connected on a three-point attempt through the foul before completing the four-point play to cut the deficit to a point.
“We have had a lot of close games,” King said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to win many of them. I think that’s just experience, I think we’re getting better every game.”
Three other Ignite players reached double-figures including guards Cameron Young and Pooh Jeter along with forward Efe Abogidi.
Young has scored in double-figures in all five games he’s played in this season.
The team is still without five players including projected No. 2 overall pick Scoot Henderson (concussion) and projected first round pick Sidy Cissoko (ankle).
“As a coaching staff, it’s very difficult,” Hart said. “Because you just never know who’s going to be available. Tonight, Leonard Miller played the point guard and I think he did really [well] so we got a chance to see him grow.”
Other players who did not play include guards John Jenkins (back), Marcus Graves (birth of child) and London Johnson (hip).
Jenkins missed his 11th straight contest.