Three factors make all the difference in KBL semifinals

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Three factors make all the difference in KBL semifinals

The outcome of game three of the best-of-five Korean Basketball League semifinals series between Dongbu Promy and Mobis Phoebus figures to come down to the coaches, centers and overseas players. Tied at one game apiece, the series shifts to Dongbu’s home court in Wonju, Gangwon, tonight.

Coaching will make the difference in game three - especially how Mobis head coach Yoo Jae-hak responds to the strategies that led head coach Kang Dong-hee’s Dongbu to a 72-70 victory on Monday.

Yoo, whose Phoebus won the series opener 74-61, stuck to the same strategy in game two and Kang took full advantage of that.

Dongbu borrowed a page from Mobis’ own game plan as it pressured the opposition with strong defense throughout the game. With the entire Dongbu lineup pressing hard, Mobis had a hard time setting an offensive rhythm. In half-court settings, Dongbu focused on defending the low post by double- and triple-teaming Ham Ji-hoon and Bryant Dunston.

Mobis ended the night with 19 percent shooting from the three-point line and Ham finished with six points in 37 minutes. After giving up 21 points in the first half, Dongbu held its opponents to less than 20 points in the following quarters.

“We lost the series opener without being able to play our game. Winning and losing aside, it’s a matter of pride,” Kang said.

In addition to the coaches, another key matchup in the series is the centers. In game one, Kim Joo-sung of Dongbu held Mobis’ Ham to 10 points and Ham was able to hold Kim to 13 points and five rebounds. In the second game, Kim played a pivotal role in helping to hold Ham, the regular season MVP, to six points.

While Kang limited his star player Kim to post-up plays in game one, Kim was shifted out of the low post in game two to make room for Marquin Chandler and Yoon Ho-young for one-on-one plays. Chandler scored 14 points for Dongbu in game one and produced 28 points in game two, while Yoon, who was limited to four points in the first game, managed 13 points in the second. Kim, for his part, scored many of his 16 points on mid-range jump shots.

The last crucial factor is the overseas players. In the first two games, the overseas players with the highest points led their team to victory.

“Our overseas players will have to hold their own against Dunston and Haynes,” said Kang.

In game one, Chandler and Jonathan Jones combined for 22 points while Dunston and Aaron Haynes of Mobis combined for 27 points. In game two, Chandler poured in 28 points to play a key role in the game while Dunston was limited to 19 points.

By Kim Woo-cheol, Jason Kim []
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