The Les Berry era has its first blemish, and things suddenly aren’t looking so pretty for the Halifax Rainmen.
The Rainmen posted the second-lowest single-game point total of any team in the Premier Basketball League this season in yesterday’s 95-78 loss to the lowly Quebec Kebs, suffering an unwelcome blow to their playoff hopes.
Despite a crowd of 3,682 on buy-one-get-one-free day, the Rainmen’s high-flying offence was grounded and their intensity didn’t come close to matching that of the Kebs.
It was the first loss since Berry was named coach three games ago. The Kebs arrived with just two wins in 10 tries.
“The chemistry was just off,” said Rainmen forward David Bailey. “As a team … nobody individually. Together, as a whole, we’ve got to try to make it work. It was just off.”
The Rainmen never had a sniff against the Kebs after a miserable first half. They scored just 26 points and trailed by 18 at the break, and they were never able to recover.
Guard Tony Bennett broke through for 23 points, but after that, scoring was hard to come by.
Bailey and PBL scoring leader A.J. Millien — a six-foot-eight forward who the Rainmen signed as a free agent on Friday — had 12 apiece.
Four-of-20 shooting from three-point range was crippling. Berry said the Rainmen got “stagnant” offensively and “settled for” too many “bad shots” in the first half.
“We’ve got to do a better job getting the ball inside,” he said.
The Rainmen, who beat the Detroit Panthers 100-89 at home on Friday, simply didn’t have an answer for Michael Anderson (28 points) and Jean-Philippe Morin (23).
“We call ourselves the playoff stoppers,” Anderson said.
The Rainmen (8-6) are two-and-a-half games behind the Atlantic Conference-leading Manchester Millrats (10-3).
Winning the conference is the only way to guarantee a playoff spot, although wild-card spots are up for grabs.
But the Rainmen aren’t pushing the panic button with the Vermont Frost Heaves (7-6) coming to town Friday.
“Teams have days like this,” Bailey said. “It’s part of the game. At least we have something to look at and improve on.”