If you play with fire, you’ll get burned,
This was the painful lesson that the Kuala Lumpur Dragons handed to the Taipei Fubon Braves with a 92-60 shellacking, Wednesday night at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.
The Dragons stayed perfect at 2-0 against the Braves this season and also dealt them the worst loss of their ABL stint.
Eager to bounce back from a loss against the Saigon Heat in their last game, the Dragons entered the contest locked in from the start. Kuala Lumpur sank four triples in the opening period alone, the last of which from Amir Bell gave them their first taste of a double-digit lead 23-13 and they never looked back from that point on.
Reminiscent of their last win against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, the Dragons got into a groove early while the Braves struggled mightily from the field as they found themselves down 31-17 after the first 10 minutes.
It did not get any better for Taipei Fubon in the second period where Cade Davis dropped 10 of his 21 points to bounce back from an off game against the Heat.
Locals Ting Chung Hong and Kuek Tian Yuan also chipped in to support the stellar play of Bell and Will Artino as they blew the game wide open early, leading 59-31 at the half.
Aside from the hot shooting of the Dragons, what really hurt the Braves was the Charles Garcia’s foul situation. He committed two early ones before the midway mark of the opening quarter and two more in the second, which severely limited his minutes. With their defensive anchor on the bench, the Braves found it difficult to deal with the size of Kuala Lumpur.
The home team dominated inside scoring 46-24 and second-chance points 23-5.
Artino led the way for the Dragons with 22 points and nine rebounds. He was not able to get to his usual double-double as he only played 28 minutes with the result no longer in question in the final quarter. Davis added 21 points anchored on five triples while Bell registered another triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. Simeon Lepichev and Ting also chipped in double digits in scoring with 10 apiece.
The Braves, on the other end, only had two double-digit scorers as Maxie Esho scored 17 while OJ Mayo was limited to 14. It is not the third straight loss of Taipei Fubon and they have certainly had trouble defending the three-point range in this stretch. They allowed 18 triples against Hong Kong Eastern, 11 against the Singapore Slingers, and now 12 against the Dragons. They fell to the fourth spot now with their 9-7 win-loss tally while the Dragons forced a tie against the Slingers with identical 6-6 records. The two teams will break this deadlocked as they’ll be matched up against each other on Friday.