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The Journal Gazette

Friday, March 23, 2018 4:50 pm

How the Mad Ants can get rolling

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Mad Ants can clinch the division title, and the second seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs, with a victory tonight at Memorial Coliseum against the Windy City Bulls. That’s important, but so is getting their play in a more consistent, positive fashion. Here’s what the Mad Ants need to do, in my opinion, over their last two games:

• Get DeQuan Jones and Walt Lemon Jr. to be a dynamic two-headed monster on offense. The best way to do that is have a Lemon use his speed to penetrate and decide if a dish to Jones for a jump shot or drive is a better option.

 Defensive tenacity from start to finish in games is a must. The Mad Ants’ up-tempo style starts with their defense but sometimes it’s not there at the outset.

 Jarrod Uthoff has been on lately, and that’s great because it means the rebounding has been better as a team. But he can’t be the only one hitting the boards hard. If the Mad Ants get out-rebounded they have to shoot at a high percentage and that doesn’t always happen.

 A common thread in the Mad Ants’ losses has been turnovers. Those must be limited.

 Edmond Sumner could be a X factor with his ability to penetrate. The Mad Ants would love to get him going. The Indiana Pacers would love for them to get him going.

 Tra-Deon Hollins and Trey McKinney Jones will have roles to play defensively. Hollins banks lots of steals if he gets the playing time. McKinney Jones can lock down opposing stars.

 Free-throw shooting in late minutes of games is usually good, but there have been some hiccups lately. Those have to be converted.

jcohn@jg.net