One of the strengths of Changwon LG, which runs second in the 2022-2023 SKT Adot Pro Basketball regular league, is the power of the bench. In addition to key players such as Lee Kwan-hee, Lee Jae-do, and Asem Marey, players who appeared whenever the team needed them and did their part appeared constantly as if they were running a relay.
LG coach Cho Sang-hyun found the secret to the D-League. He said, “The D-League operation is very helpful to the team. When the condition deteriorates in the first team, it is sent down to the D-League and practiced repeatedly through 4-to-4 or 5-to-5 scrimmage (practice game type training).” said.
He added, “Justin Gutang is a prime example. In the first round of the regular league, he did nothing. Through the D-League experience, (skills) improved.”
The mindset of the players is also different. Coach Jo Sang-hyun recently mentioned Jeong Hee-jae, who has consistently contributed to the team. He said, “It must have been difficult in the beginning when there weren’t many opportunities, but he steadily prepared well. A culture where everyone works hard without being asked to do so has emerged.”
On the afternoon of the 3rd, the home game against Wonju DB held at the indoor gymnasium of Changwon Sports Park in Gyeongnam seemed like a condensed version of LG’s basketball this season.
LG made up for the 17-point gap in the second quarter and defeated DB 76-74.
LG struggled with a 26% field goal success rate in the first quarter. On the other hand, DB, who had won 4 consecutive wins before the match, overwhelmed the home team with a fast-tempo offense and solid defense, centered on Albano and Kang Sang-jae.
The first quarter ended with DB leading 24-11, and the score gap widened to 17 points in the second quarter.
Unfortunately, the 17-point difference is the same as the largest score difference recorded in an away game against Seoul SK on the 1st. LG trailed SK by 17 points until the 2nd quarter, but had a come-from-behind victory with a strong back heart.
The experience two days ago was great. LG did not give up. The driving force behind the counterattack came from the bench.
Kim Jun-il started from the middle of the 1st quarter and shook DB’s defense with aggressive under-the-goal attacks. Kim Jun-il also went through a field battle in the early stages of the pitch, but he did not hesitate and continued to play aggressively.
Entering the second quarter, Indeok Jeong exerted his strength. Jung In-deok, who is well known for his tenacious defense, energized the team by making two Yahoo pitches like Altoran in the middle of the second quarter when LG’s scoring power was stagnant.
LG showed more strength after the score gap widened to 17 points. Based on strong defense, DB made mistakes and did not miss the opportunity. In the end, the DB defense collapsed due to Marey and Kim Jun-il’s attack under the goal.
At the end of the first half, the score was tied 36-36.
As soon as the 3rd quarter started, LG succeeded in reversing with Marey’s goal. However, Yatoo Nanjo came again and was dragged by DB by 6 points.
It was still a skirmish. The surprising thing is that until this time, LG had not succeeded in even one 3-point shot. The first 16 attempts from the start of the match were all missed.
At the moment of crisis, the main players who had to do it came up with strength. It was point guard Lee Jae-do. Lee Jae-do made two consecutive layups through breakthrough and assisted Yoon Won-sang’s 3-point shot in transition.
After the 17th attempt, LG’s first 3 points exploded, and the score changed to 45-44, LG’s lead.
LG blocked DB’s first attack after Operation Time. Lee Jae-do then helped Yoon Won-sang’s 3-point shot again. Yoon Won-sang even made a successful free throw from a defensive foul to complete a 4-point play.
Yoon Won-sang also made two more 3-pointers. He scored 13 points in the third quarter alone. LG’s first field goal in the 4th quarter also came from Yoon Won-sang’s 3-point shot.
Yoon Won-sang showed his superpower by making five 3-point shots in about 5 minutes from the end of the 3rd quarter to the beginning of the 4th quarter 안전놀이터. LG led 62-54.
DB’s recent rise has also been staggering. Kang Sang-jae led the counterattack. With about 2 minutes left, the 74-73 reversal was successful. The moment came when both teams needed a final referee.
LG overturned the score to 75-74 with Lee Jae-do’s mid-range shot with 1 minute and 28 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
It was the strength of the defense that saved LG at the last moment. Blocked DB’s offensive one after another. Kim Joon-il scored a free throw 2.7 seconds before the end, leading by one point, to solidify the victory.
With the victory on this day, LG recorded a season record of 24 wins and 13 losses, firmly defending its sole second place. The home win rate, which was relatively low compared to the away strong, also recovered to 50% (10-10). DB failed to challenge for 5 consecutive wins.
Yoon Won-sang scored 18 points, the most in the team, and Kim Jun-il, who faced the high DB, contributed to the victory with 17 points and 5 rebounds. Marey also did his part with 15 points and 17 rebounds.
It was a game that could confirm why LG is causing a sensation in the regular league. Lee Kwan-hee, who recently made headlines with his ‘Clock Ceremony’, was somewhat silent, but at LG, a hero of chaos appeared in every crisis. The tenacity of not giving up even when the score gap widened was also outstanding.
Coach Cho Sang-hyun often says, “We are not yet a strong team.” Then, I asked what the criteria for a strong team were. Coach Cho Sang-hyun firmly replied, “It is a strong team that must be recognized by other teams.”
LG produced a thrilling come-from-behind drama by showing amazing back-and-forth in two consecutive games. At least, it seems that they have definitely been recognized by SK and DB.