This was a recipe for disaster for the GoGo from the beginning. They fell to the Maine Red Claws on Friday in thrilling fashion. They lost on a buzzer beater in triple OT, then had to travel home on weary legs and play an energized Skyforce team who hadn’t played since Jan. 5th. Typically this doesn’t bode well for the less rested team and last night that tradition held up. The Skyforce overwhelmed the GoGo from the jump ball to the final buzzer as the GoGo walked out of the Entertainment and Sports Arena with a 106-90 defeat.
The game started a little sloppy for both teams as they racked up turnovers and had some raggedy possessions but the Skyforce turned it on pretty quickly and didn’t look back. Mychal Mulder got off to a fast start. He scored 15 points in the first quarter, all from behind the arc. He was coming off an impressive 34 point performance against the Stockton Kings where he made five threes the entire game. After matching that in just the first 12 minutes, it was clear he was in store for another huge performance. With Mulder on fire from three (5-6) and the GoGo unable to muster up any consistent offense, the home team ended the opening period at a 12 point deficit. Capital City only shot 31.8% from the field (7-22). The way to overcome such futility is to be stingy on defense and win in all the hustle categories. The GoGo weren’t able to do either of those things which resulted in them falling behind early.
The GoGo showed some life in the second quarter as they started to wake up on both ends of the floor. They outscored the Skyforce 34-23 in the period and only trailed by one at halftime. Jalen Jones came alive as he went 4-4 (2-2 from three point range) and scored 11 points in the quarter. Jerian Grant and Mike Cobbins joined the party as well. Grant was getting into the lane at will and Cobbins was the beneficiary of the Skyforce defense collapsing as Grant was able to find him for lobs and easy dump offs. The GoGo stepped up their defense as well. The Skyforce was shooting 47.8% from the field at the end of the first quarter. In the next 12 minutes they fell to 42.6%. Mulder scored eight points in the period and made two threes. That was a welcome change after his tremendous output in the opening quarter. The GoGo looked like they started to get their legs under them and was poised to make a game of it. They carried some good momentum into the locker room to end the half as Jalen Jones made a three at the buzzer..
The third quarter was business as usual for the Skyforce as the GoGo fell back into the bad offense and defensive lapses that plagued them to start the game. They only scored 15 points in the quarter as the Skyforce was able to build their lead back up to nine by the quarter’s end. Jalen Jones offense carried over into the second half as he scored 10 points in the period but the rest of the team wasn’t able to keep pace. The GoGo tied the game early in the third at 56-56 but the Skyforce responded with a 14-4 run to put some distance between the teams. Capital City is at its best when the ball moves and the offense is spread around but they suffered mightily in the contest as the “ball got sticky” as Coach Richman put it and they were unable to create good looks within the flow of their offense. The GoGo only accumulated 10 assists through three quarters of play. They also had their fair share of struggles from the free throw line. And with the experimental rules the G League is using with free throw shooting this season, each miss hurts a little more than usual. All things considered, a 77-68 deficit wasn’t the end of the world but the GoGo didn’t look like they were in any position to take control of the game.
In the fourth quarter, the Skyforce put the finishing touches on a dominant performance. Davon Reed got an emphatic dunk and earned a tech for yelling at Admiral Schofield. At this point, the Skyforce were imposing their will on the game. Mychal Mulder finished with 33 points. He also made eight threes. Jalen Jones was a bright spot for the GoGo. He ended the game with 21 points and nine rebounds. With not many positives to take from the contest, Coach Richman was very honest and candid when speaking after the game. He simply stated the GoGo were outplayed in every aspect of the game and they wouldn’t dwell on this but they would definitely address the issues they saw. Admiral Schofield added 16 points for the GoGo including four threes. DC area native and NBA veteran, Jarrett Jack, contributed 16 points for the Skyforce.
The GoGo will be back at it tomorrow evening as they travel to take on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. They dropped one to the Mad Ants 128-126 at home on Jan. 3rd. Capital City shouldn’t be too worried about this last game as they have been fairly consistent offensively in the past few contests so this poor showing is most likely an anomaly. But they will need to bring their “A” game on the road as the Mad Ants have proven to be a tough out. After a short trip, the GoGo will be back at home next Wednesday to take on the Raptors 905. Capital City continues to try to get above .500 as they can’t manage to put together consecutive wins. This could be due to the fact that much of their key contributors have spent time with the Wizards lately and point guard, Chris Chiozza, having been recently called up by the Nets. Hopefully they can string together some wins and go into the playoffs with some momentum.