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Winnipeg Rides Stellar Starting Five, Win Second In A Row Against Ottawa

Through two games at Canada Life Centre, the Winnipeg Sea Bears are 2-0. This time it was the starting five that came to play and got it done for the home side after a slower start. A strong second quarter saw them tie up the game, the Sea Bears then took control in the second half, which they rode to a comfortable victory. It took a quarter and a half once more for them to get going, but once they did they did not look back. They got lucky once more that their opponent didn't pull away early while they were struggling. As well as their offence getting going, the defence came alive and the Sea Bears started to string together scores and stops. When all cylinders were firing, it really felt like there was no way they were going to relinquish the game. This is a veteran team that is really starting to gel and definitely showing their experience as each game goes along. Let's get into the three keys from this one!

Starting Five Coming Together

I've already mentioned this a couple times, but I think it is so key that Winnipeg's starting five got into a rhythm in this one. Not only did Teddy Allen still get his shots, their flow allowed for three of the other four to get touches as well and they were effective with them. Allen, Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson, Byron Mullens, and Darius Days combined for 82 of their 93 points. While that could be seen as a concern, we have now seen the bench and starters each have a game where they took over and got the job done. Best case scenario is that they find a solid balance between the two, but even if they don't it's good to see that either or can get the job done on their own.

Ending Possessions

After two straight games of rough defence, the Sea Bears figured out how to get stops and most importantly, end possessions on the first time of asking. While they didn't win the rebounding battle by a wide margin, certainly down the stretch they did what they needed to do. There were many more encouraging signs on their level of play defensively than there had been the first two games of the season. Tighter defence, tougher shots, much more to like and hopefully some momentum on that end of the floor.

First Half Three Point Woes

While Winnipeg ended up shooting 35% from three, seven of their ten makes came in the second half. Both of the first two home games have seen the Sea Bears get going from beyond the arc in the third quarter, in which they've used it as an offensive weapon. This is more nit picking, but if they can hit a couple more threes in the first two quarters, then they would probably be up more at the half. But we've seen them hit shots more so in the second half, which isn't too much of an issue. I have a good feeling they'll figure it out and do a flip in form. It would just make their lives easier if they could.

With that out of the way, let's get into the individual performances on the night!

Teddy Allen

Well, unfortunately the 40 point game streak has come to an end but that does not mean Allen didn't do his thing. 27-5-6 is still a great performance, but those six turnovers worry me a little. He is going to have a little more than anyone else on the team because of how many times he touches the ball, but still. Otherwise, MVP gonna MVP.

Jarred Ogungbemi-Jackson

JOJ has definitely arrived. That second half against the Shooting Stars seemed to have ignited his play, and he is helping Allen not have to do it by himself. 20 points and six assists is super solid. Target Time winner to go along with it, and not a bad way to cpa off a great performance. If he can keep it up, we won't have to have a conversation about the guard position this summer.

Byron Mullens

A much better complete performance from Mullens on Saturday night. This coincides with more touches, but he did make the most of his chances in the game. He showed off his range, hitting a couple jumpers, use his length and athleticism to stay in the game against a smaller team. Definitely had stretches where he looked dominant. Now he just needs to find a way to string that into a full game. Hoping like JOJ, a game like this helps his confidence and is a stepping stone for him.

Darius Days

Solid game from Days, who has also improved game by game as the time has gone on. 18 shot attempts is a little high for me, but if he is creating offence, then that is totally fine with me. Another double double for him as well? Sign me up for more games like this. 14 rebounds is fantastic. Days must have also read that I challenged him to hit at least two threes in each game and he certainly did that in this one. Hoping he can keep it up because I think he might be a lowkey X-factor for this squad.

Alex Campbell

The last of the five starters, it was an alright performance for Campbell. He did play good defence in this one without fouling, but didn't do too much on offence. While he didn't have to, you would hope he would take advantage of the chances he did get. But I'm sure that will come around. He already looked much better than in the home opener.

Mason Bourcier

Bourcier didn't get on the board in this one, but he filled the box score everywhere else. Six rebounds, four assists, solid defence and good guard play is good to see. We've seen the baskets fall so I'm not too concerned with the goose egg there.

Simon Hildebrandt

Three rebounds is the only stat registered on the sheet for Hildebrandt. Not even a field goal attempt recorded either, which is surprising. I wouldn't anticipate that happening again, especially when Winnipeg needs him. Played decent defence which is encouraging. They didn't need the bench on this night, but I would hazard a guess they will down the line and Hildebrandt is going to be pivotal to that.

Shane Osayande

A very short outing for Osayande so it's hard to be picky on his performance. I hope his minutes don't get cut too short with the eventual arrival of David Muenkat and now Emmanuel Akot, but we will have to see.

Chad Posthumus

Posthumus was solid once again in limited minutes with six points and six rebounds. I've mentioned it so many times over the last two years, he brings so much energy and solid play, especially in those shorter minutes. Coach Mike Taylor has gotten so good on figuring out when to deploy him, and I hope that does not change. He had the only bench points in the game which makes his play even more valuable.

All in all this was a big step in the right direction for the Sea Bears, as if we get the team from the second half and Target Time, we really have a championship caliber team on our hands. They just need to find a way to put it together for a full game before I start hedging my bets. Either way this a good, veteran basketball team that is going to get better as the summer goes along. Winnipeg's next game is Wednesday June 5th in Brampton against the Honey Badgers, which is the first of four games on the road.

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