|Thang Long Warriors’ Sameen Swint (centre) breaks through the Dolphins’ defence to score during their VBA match on August 5 in Hà Nội. The Warriors win 86-83. Photos of VBA|
HÀ NỘI — Thăng Long Warriors successfully avenged their losses to Nha Trang Dolphins after a close win of 86-83 in the VBA’s 42nd match on August 5 in Hà Nội.
The match on home turf was important for the Warriors who wanted to clear their debts to the Dolphins, who won 82-77 and 100-73 in previous meets. They jumped up to relpace the Dolphins in third place in the standings after winning.
Both teams began their game carefully but the Dolphins seemed more confident due to their easy wins previously. They also scored first after several attempts by both sides.
The score was balanced at 12-11 for the Dolphins at the fifth minute. After warming up, the visitors’ forwards found their form and their accurate shots brought them to the lead of 26-18 at the end of the first quarter.
Madarious Gibbs made two impressive shots including a three-pointer to push the Dolphins further at 31-20 at the beginning of the second quarter.
However, his teammates made many mistakes wasting their opportunities to score. Meanwhile, the Warriors took full advantage to level the score before going ahead to lead 36-35 before a tie 42-42 at halftime.
|The Tây Hồ Gymnasium, home of the Warriors, is full of supporters as the hosts compete against the Nha Trang Dolphins.|
Back to the court after a 10-minute rest, Sameen Swint shone brilliantly to lift the Warriors up. After five minutes of the third half, the hosts increased the gap to 15 points at 61-46.
The Dolphins however found it a strong motivation to fight back. Gibbs, Dominique Tham and Robert Alan Sampson converted their counter-attacks into powerful strikes. They made an incredible run and quickly balanced the score of 61-61 in the eighth minute.
The rest time of the quarter, however, went to the hosts who took the lead at 66-65.
Young defender Phạm Nhật Thái Quang was the highlight of the last quarter. The 17-year-old made supporters go crazy with his series of three-pointers. The Warriors led 75-67.
Tham and Sampson continued big troubles with the host defenders who made fouls to prevent them from scoring.
The Dolphins could blame themselves as they wasted many of their free throws. Only 12 out of 28 throws were successful in which Tham missed at least six.
With just 90 seconds left, it was 86-77 for the hosts who could not score more points in the remaining time but did a good job defending their basket under strong threat from the Dolphins who earned six more points to narrow their loss.
|The ‘Warriors Wonder Girls’ perform during the game’s break time.|
Swint won the Player of the Match award with 31 points, four rebounds and seven assists.
The fourth win in a row on home ground brought the Warriors a slot in the top three rankings with eight wins and five losses.
Meanwhile, the Dolphins suffered their third straight defeat on away ground, forcing them down to the fourth position with seven wins and six losses.
In the next fixture, the Warriors will visit Hanoi Buffaloes on August 8 while the Dolphins will host defending champions Saigon Heat on August 11.
The 43rd match of the VBA will see Ho Chi Minh City Wings vs Danang Dragons combating at the Hồ Xuân Hương Gymnasium in HCM City.