The Arsenal suffered two tough losses in the last two days. The first, Friday night, was to the D-Fenders, 107-102, in a game where at two separate points the Arsenal held double-digit leads. The game tonight was the Idaho Stampede’s D-League record-setting 16th straight victory, a frustrating 95-91 loss in which the Arsenal held the lead for almost the entire game. What’s disappointing is that, in both cases, the Arsenal couldn’t finish strong — their shooting faded down the stretch, and while there were no real defensive blowups that I can recall, their opponents were still able to score enough to steal the win.
Bright spots for the Arsenal include the return of Guillermo Diaz (fresh from his 20-day cup of coffee with the Clippers), who, judging by the way he has played the last two games, really wants to go back up to the NBA. His stats against Idaho were less impressive due to the fact that almost every time he touched the ball in the second half, he was double-teamed — I think he scored all of his points in the first half. Ivan Johnson also had a pair of excellent games, filling up the stat sheet and making a lot of hustle plays. Unfortunately, center Marcus Campbell has had a couple of pretty dreadful games — little offense (particularly down low), foul trouble, and poor ball handling. I cringed every time a pass bounced off of his hands of stone, or an attempted feed to a slashing teammate got poked away by a defender. Hopefully this is a temporary phenomenon — when he originally came onto the roster, he had a couple of excellent games, making me think that he was going to be a key offensive and defensive presence (particularly for a size-deprived team).
The Arsenal will have a chance to avenge tonight’s loss on Monday, as they play the Stampede again.