Drones Dime (Vol 2.5)
- By David Gonzalez, Day 51, 2024
2024 Season, Day 51
Overall Record: 13-11 (Home: 10-3 & Away: 3-8)
SE Div: 1st place (-1.5 GB)
JBL Power Rank: 11 (Prev: 17)
Day 43/Game 21: Drones (10-10) vs. Devils (9-12)
Round 3 of our season series with the Devils brings us back to the friendly confines of the Beehive where we have played exceptionally well all season. The team was determined to not have a repeat of what occurred three nights prior in Atlanta. This game played out as you would expect between two division rivals…a back and forth affair featuring 10 lead changes, 15 ties and multiple technical fouls. This one wasn’t decided until late as the teams were square at 96-96 with just over 4 minutes to play. As we’ve seen at multiple times this year, our Starting unit is able to flip the switch and make a run to close out a game. Tonight, it was a 19-10 run over the final four minutes as we take home the W 115-106. Anthony led the way with 21-10 and Carroll adds 20-7-6 surpassing 20 points for the first time since Day 17. Rush added in a low-key 14-11-5 double-double and Russell, McRoy and Okonkwo all get into double digit scoring. With Godwin Kite coming back from injury and trade market coming to action, it was finally time for the Drones to move on from Trent Buchanan who never found his footing in Charlotte as prior to this game Buchanan was sent to Chicago in return for a future 2nd round pick and an expiring contract in Marlon Burton.
Day 45/Game 22: Drones (11-10) vs. Vultures (15-7)
We always look forward to a Measuring Stick game as GM David Gonzalez likes to refer to them when the Drones are the clear underdog according to the bookies. The Vults come in having won 5 of their last 6 and are playing very well. The Drones would come out of the gates confident and would get out to a 27-21 lead before the Vults go on a late run to end the quarter with the score Charlotte 29, Phoenix 27. The 2nd quarter was more of the same with both teams either trading baskets or stops and we go into halftime with a 60-59 advantage. A mini-run to start the 3rd sees us go up by 5 only for the Vults to quickly flip that around and control the remainder of the quarter to take a 86-80 lead into the 4th. The Drones also lost backup SG, DeAndre McRoy, to a knee injury late in the 3rd quarter. Reports following the game indicated he would be out 5-7 weeks which is a big flow for the undrafted FA who continued to cement his spot behind RW II. As we have shown all year, especially at home, we have no quit and are able to get the game back even with just over 4 minutes left. Following the TV timeout, we go on an 9-1 run accented by a Deven Carroll 3-ball in the corner forcing the Vults to take a timeout with the score now 107-99 in the home team’s favor and 2:37 on the clock. Unfortunately for us, the timeout iced our momentum and our shooting touch as the Vults would close out the rest of the game on a 13-0 run and win 112-107. This happened to be another game where Points off Turnovers (6-16) came to bite us in the end. Anthony led the way with 22 points on 9/16 from the floor and added in 7 rebounds. Rush added in 20 as well with Carroll tallying his 4th double-double on the season with 13-10-5 and 4 blocks. Banks, Fisher and Sprinkle all tally a double-double for the Vultures.
Day 47/Game 23: Drones (11-11) vs. Blizzards (8-15)
Our lineup reshuffles a bit with the injury to DeAndre McRoy. Rookie DeVaughn Wilkinson who has seen a minute of action all year will get limited action as we slide players up and down the lineup due to our positional flexibility to fill in the gap. With 7 of our next 9 at home, this is a game with all due respect to the Blizzards, we should be winning if we are legitimately trying to position ourselves as a playoff team in 2024. The Blizzards come out strong and lead throughout the 1st and stretch their lead out to 10 points midway through 2nd when a pissed off Coach Ford yelled for a timeout and threw his whiteboard down in disgust as the players were coming over to the bench. Whatever profanity laced tirade Ford went on during the ensuing commercial break obviously worked as the Drones go from trailing 39-29 to up 48-42 at the break. The momentum of that late run carried into the second half and the Drones cruised to a 103-90 victory. The game had a good pace to it (103.5); however, the overall shooting display put on by both teams was abysmal as the Drones eFG% was 44.6 for the game and the Blizzards were 42.3. Carroll had a decent night going 19-7-6 with 3 steals and Rush chipped in 10 points and 12 boards for his 6th double-double on the year. Anthony and RW II each score 18 on a night where the bench minus McRoy scored 29. Wilkinson saw a little under 4 minutes of action where he as 2/2 from the floor, 1/1 from 3P and 1/1 from the line for 6 points. It was our first chance to see this year’s #8 overall pick, Collin Webster, in action and he was a monster on the glass with 17 rebounds.
Day 50/Game 24: Drones (12-11) @ Rockets (6-18)
We go on the road to take on the streaking, yes streaking, Rockets who have won 3 straight at home. This one was one of those games where the final score of 113-93 was not as indicative of the entire game. While the Drones did lead pretty much wire-to-wire (47:06) this game was close for 3 quarters and was tied at 68 with 2 minutes left in the 3rd. It was at that point where the Drones went on a big run led by Carroll, Kite and Wilkinson to finish out the quarter and to start the 4th and it was never close again. Devan seems to solved his shooting woes as he dropped 21 this evening on 8/15 shooting and 2/4 from 3P. Wilkinson saw the floor for 13 minutes and posted a solid line of 15-5-3 and 2 steals. Godwin Kite was also given a little over 14 minutes and went 10 & 5 while seeing time at the four and the five. Defensively, we were even better this game than we were against the Blizzards as we held the Rockets to 38.9% eFG and forced 11 turnovers to our 5.