Third quarter implosion leads to fourth straight home loss for Ignite
A collapse after halftime in a quick pit stop trip back to The Dollar Loan Center saw the NBA G League Ignite drop another home contest.
Salt Lake City’s third quarter set up a lopsided second half on the way to a, 116-99, win over the Ignite. This year’s developmental team dropped to 3-7 at home this season with the loss.
“I don’t know why we [don’t] play as well at home,” head coach Jason Hart said. “But we’ve got to play well at home in the third quarter. There’s no excuses for who’s playing and who’s out, it’s been like that all year so that’s long gone.”
Overall, the Ignite are 6-8 this year and currently still rank in the top eight teams in the Western Conference.
Now, the team will turn its attention back to the road as it prepares for a six-game road trip, the team’s longest of the season. At the conclusion of the trip, the team would have played eight of its last nine games away from home.
This season, the team is 3-1 in road games.
“It’s super impressive,” guard John Jenkins said. “But we need to get the home [side going]. I think on the road we’re all together – I just think we have more of a dog attitude when we’re on the road versus at home for some reason.
“But for a bunch of teenagers to win on the road against grown men is pretty impressive.”
That trip will begin in South Bay as the Ignite will square off with the Lakers Saturday, Feb. 4 with tip-off scheduled for 5 p.m.
The game-changing third quarter in the latest outing for the Ignite was capped by a 28-4 run by the Stars. That run would eventually be stretched to 30-4 at the start of the fourth quarter.
“I saw the other team whooping our ass,” Hart said. “We’ve just got to be more disciplined. That’s been the story of our season here at The Dollar Loan, it’s third quarters here at The Dollar Loan Center because elsewhere we don’t do it.”
By the end of the third quarter, the Ignite had lost the frame, 41-18. Moreover, the visitors won the second half, 69-43. Before the big second half flip, there were seven lead changes and five ties in the first 17-plus minutes of the game.
With less than seven minutes to go in the third quarter, the Ignite held onto a 10-point lead while outshooting Salt Lake City, 49% to 40%.
From that point, the Stars went on an 11-0 run to regain their first lead since the first quarter. During that spurt, the Ignite missed all four of their attempts from the field.
“The biggest problem there is defensively,” center Eric Mika said. “Forty-one points is way too many points. Guys were just blowing by [and] we weren’t trusting each other defensively.”
Just before halftime, Salt Lake City used a 9-2 run to cut the home team lead to single-digits heading into the locker room. Prior to that, the Ignite had led by as many as 16 points before later trailing by as many as 23 points.
“We watched it on film in the locker room at halftime,” Jenkins said. “We just kind of let up. We had a good lead and just thought they were going to lay down for the rest of the half. We know we can’t do that, we’ve talked about this so many times here and in the locker room. That’s something we have to fix soon.”
Coming off of his first-ever triple-double and the first in team history, Mika recorded eight points on a perfect 3-of-3 from the field to go along with two rebounds and two assists in the first quarter. His first quarter effort helped the Ignite rack up seven assists on nine made field goals.
“I think [my role] is different from game-to-game,” he said. “Just depending on the defense, depending on my individual one-on-one matchup, if they have a bigger guy that’s going to drop then it allows me to pass the ball and facilitate a little bit more.”
While he didn’t record another triple-double, Mika did post his 10th double-double of the season with a team-high 22 points and game-high 11 rebounds with four assists.
Jenkins added 21 points on 6-of-18 from the field including five made three-pointers.
Guard Scoot Henderson (ankle) did not play along with forwards Leonard Miller (back) and Shareef O’Neal (ankle). Center Efe Abogidi (knee) is expected to be out for the remainder of the season.