TIM Cone didn’t think the move by Bay Area to shift import from Myles Powell to Andrew Nicholson gave Barangay Ginebra difficulty to adjust during the course of Game 6 of the PBA Commissioner’s finals, which the Kings lost, 87-84, on Wednesday night.
Cone noted the Kings were able to hold the Dragons below 90 points despite the high-scoring Powell finally returning to the active roster to take the place of the injured Andrew Nicholson.
The 6-foot-2 Powell, who once scored a conference-high 50 points, finished with 29 points, seven rebounds, and was 5-of-11 from three-point range in his first game back for the Dragons since Nov. 23 when they blew TNT Tropang Giga away, 140-108.
“Did we look like we had a hard time? I had to look at the video,” said Cone.
“(But) we only gave up 85 points and I think they averaged like 115 when Powell was playing. So we did what we want defensively, but we just didn’t knock down shots on the offensive side.”
It’s the first time Cone and the Kings played the Dragons with Powell as import as their previous six encounters – including one in the eliminations – had the 6-foot-10 Nicholson reinforcing the foreign guest team.
Nursing a severely sprained ankle, Nicholson sat out Games 4 and 5, and with their back against the wall, the Dragons were compelled to finally bring Powell back despite the former Philadelphia 76er not yet 100 percent fully recovered from a previous injury.
“We never experienced before, we didn’t play him in the elims, so this is the first time we were playing him tonight,” said Cone.
Despite the short notice about the import change, Ginebra still did a good job of challenging every shot by the Bay Area import.
“In my mind, we did a good job defensively. We held him down to what we wanted, but they had a great shooting night from the three-point line where they shot almost 50 percent,” noted Cone.
The Dragons actually did 47 percent from three-point range (17-of-36). In contrast, the Kings were only 21 percent (7-of-33) from the same area.
“That was the difference in the game,” said the Ginebra coach.
The three-day rest in between before the do-or-die encounter at the Philippine Arena gives Cone and his coaching staff good enough time to see how they can further limit Powell from doing damage against the Kings.
“We have a little more time and rethink what we’re doing about him,” said Cone of Powell.