The Canton Charge (8-11) played their first ever game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Thursday night and it is one they would like to quickly forget. A disastrous first half that included many missed shots and unforced turnovers led to a 117-87 defeat at the hands of the visiting Windy City Bulls (8-11).
The Bulls scored the first seven points of the game before Kendrick Perkins scored inside to get Canton on the board. Windy City ran out to a 24-3 lead and never looked back. Canton shot 33% (5-15) from the field and turned the ball over seven times in the first quarter and trailed 37-13. Coach Reinking acknowledged afterwards that the game was lost in the first quarter.
“You can’t put your finger on that. That was the game right there,” Reinking said. “You can’t give up a quarter like that…you can give a lot of excuses like coming off Christmas break or whatever it is it doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t make any excuses.”
The second quarter did not get any better for the Charge as they shot 27% (4-15) and turned it over another eight times. At the half the Charge were at 30% (9-30) from the field including 17% (2-12) from three point range and trailed 56-30. Caleb Swanigan, who just joined the team on Wednesday on assignment from the Portland Trailblazers, had six points and seven rebounds.
The Charge played the Bulls almost even in the second half as they shot the ball better and only committed four turnovers but the game had already been lost in the first half.
Marcus Thornton led the Charge scoring with 19 points but struggled from deep hitting on only one of his seven three point attempts. London Perrantes chipped in 18 points including a stretch late in the third quarter when he scored nine straight points. Kevin Olekaibe scored 17 off the bench. Swanigan finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds in his Charge debut. After the game he talked about his first game with Canton.
“It was great to get back into a real game with steady minutes because you can’t simulate game speed,” said Swanigan. “As you could see a lot of my stuff was short tonight because I haven’t played in a month. That comes with it. But this isn’t about me. I’m not trying to find my game. I’m coming here to play basketball and win as long as I’m here and to be part of something here.”
Coach Reinking also touched on what Swanigan brings to the Charge as he inserted him into the starting lineup right off the bat.
“He’s another big body who is very intelligent…high IQ who knows how to play and is pretty skilled,” said Reinking.
Antonio Blakeney led the Bulls with 26 points. He missed only three shots on the night going 9-12 from the field hitting on his only three point attempt and a perfect 7-7 from the free throw line. Cristiano Felicio was strong inside for Windy City scoring 22 points and grabbing 14 rebounds.
The Charge will try to get back on the winning track on Saturday as they host the first place Wisconsin Herd (13-8) at the Canton Civic Center.