KAWASAKI – Brave Thunders big man Nick Fazekas racked up 26 points and 16 rebounds to help Toshiba extend its winning streak to 13 with an 89-80 win over the Mitsubishi Electric Dolphins at Torodoki Arena on Saturday.
Swingman Cedric Bozeman followed his compatriot with 18 points for the Kanagawa Prefecture team, which improved its NBL Eastern Conference-best record to 21-2.
“I think that’s what the team expects out of me,” Fazekas said of his efforts in scoring and cleaning the boards. “Make plays we need and I was able to do that today, grab some key offensive rebounds, made some baskets, and we were able to sustain and win the game.”
The former NBA player had six of his team’s 14 offensive rebounds. With the dominating performance by Fazekas inside, Toshiba outscored the Dolphins 38-22 in the paint.
Mitsubishi (14-9) played well around versatile player Magnum Rolle and point guard Kei Igarashi, who scored 31 and 16, respectively. But the fact that they allowed the Brave Thunders to the free-throw line too many times (24) could have been the difference maker in their loss. Toshiba scored 19 from the charity stripe while the Dolphins had 11.
Asked if he was frustrated to drop the opener of the two-game series against Toshiba, Mitsubishi Electric head coach Antonio Lang agreed. But he noted that it’s a long season and the team has to return to the same arena with a fresh mind-set.
“We still have a chance to play tomorrow,” said Lang, a former Duke Blue Devil. “We come in and play well. I think (Toshiba) is a team we can beat. We’ve got to play (in) the right way. Any teams we’ve beaten, we played in the right way. We’ve just got to find a way, cut down the offensive rebounds and we can’t turn the ball over.”
The Dolphins, who are the only team that’s given their Western Conference rival Aisin SeaHorses (23-1) a loss this season, committed 16 turnovers while Toshiba had nine.