By: Law Murray
As a Final Four team from last season, The Clozers came into the 2014 season at The Drew with high expectations. The team formerly known as LAUNFD won their first game of the season 69-65 over Hank’s Spiders, and they looked like they’d live up to their name.
However, they lost back-to-back games, losing 94-87 to NWA while getting stomped out by C.O.A., losing that game 74-63.
Robin Hood Project, a younger team presented by The Game this season, represented an interesting matchup for The Clozers. While The Clozers struggled with the sheer size of C.O.A., they would have to deal with the defensive pressure and activity of Robin Hood Project, who came into Week 4 with a 2-1 record.
The Clozers got a big performance from guard Shelton Boykin, who scored 28 points to lead The Clozers past Robin Hood Project 80-74.
For most of the game, The Clozers had control of their younger counterparts. The strength of The Clozers, for now anyway, is their perimeter scoring. They feature Marcus “Mr. Iso” Williams, a big point guard who likes to control the game in the halfcourt. While Williams doesn’t look to score exclusively, he often utilizes a pull-up jumper off the dribble. Williams was ineffective inside the arc (1/7 on two-pointers), but he hit 3-of-5 from downtown with a game-high seven assists.
Robin Hood Project was fortunate to be down only 39-31 at halftime. They shot only 33 percent from the field compared to The Clozers shooting 55 percent, and Boykin had scored 17 of his points. Robin Hood Project’s style is like that of a Chinese finger trap – they are built on pressing full court after scores. That style is great when they actually score, but not only was that a struggle early, Williams’ presence allowed The Clozers to break the Robin Hood Project press even when it was set up. Lack of execution resulted in a ton of easy buckets, and Boykin’s tough finishes inside frustrated Coach Ice.
Another key player for The Clozers was Malik Anderson, who finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Anderson got to the free throw line to make 5-of-9 attempts; Robin Hood Project only got to the line 14 times, making only six free throws. J. T. Terrell led Robin Hood Project with 14 shot attempts, but he only made two of them, missing both threes and his only free throw to finish with four points.
While Robin Hood Project attempted to make a comeback in the fourth quarter, Clozers coach R J poked and prodded at Coach Ice. R J reminded Ice about the team name being The Clozers, saying, “It will all make sense, eventually!” The Clozers missed too many free throws and turned the ball over too much to truly put the game away until the final seconds, but there seems to be a feeling that this part of the season isn’t a big deal to them.
“We’re working with a bunch of subs right now,” said R J. “We’re going to be .500, we’re going to struggle up until our boys come. Which will be July.”
“July” is a clear reference to the roster expansion of pro talent. The Clozers are 2-2, .500, just like Robin Hood Project. They certainly could be better, but it seems like The Clozers are putting a lot of stock into their ability to pull some top end weight. In the meantime, they’ll be satisfied with an early win over an athletic Robin Hood Project team searching for some consistency.
Law Murray is in his fourth year in Los Angeles via Philadelphia. He has been at grad school at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism since 2012, and graduated from California University of PA in 2009 with a degree in communication studies. Law has also served two years in City Year and covered the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Russia. He specializes in breaking down teams and players on a variety of media platforms.