The Delaware Blue Coats (20-8) have eclipsed the .500 mark at home as they defeated the Texas Legends (6-20) 148-116 on Tuesday, March 14, at Chase Fieldhouse.
The Coats, who have struggled at home, came out on fire. Louis King and Mac McClung combined for the team’s first 20 points and they never slowed down.
King finished the game with an efficient 27 points on 9-10 shooting from the field.
“From the moment we walked in at shoot around everybody had the energy,” King said. “Our last outing was not what we expected so we just came in with a lot of energy, doing everything that coach [Coby Karl] said pregame and we just followed the script, followed the game plan.”
King shot 7-8 from beyond the arc, including four threes in his 14-point first quarter.
“It was fun,” King said. “My guys were finding me at the right time and the right moment and I just set my feet and knocked down the shots.”
Aside from King, the Coats were getting contributions from everyone. McClung finished with 27 points to go along with eight assists, Justin Smith poured in 20 points off the bench and Braxton Key added 12 points, six rebounds and four assists to go along with two steals and two blocks.
“We’re just trusting each other,” Key said. “When I first got acquired, guys were a little bit stagnant with the ball and now we’re playing off of each other and finding guys in the spots they like to be in.”
The Blue Coats officially clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs with the victory over Texas. The back-to-back Eastern Conference champions are seemingly heating up at the right time for another run, but this time around, the team is looking to finish what they started.
“We can go as far as we take us,” King said. “We just gotta keep it rolling, keep doing what we do and keep playing for each other.”
Key acknowledged the team’s playoff goal while also amplifying its past G League Finals shortcomings.
“All the way,” Key said. “I think that’s the goal, that’s been the goal the past couple years here… just gotta hopefully get over the hump and win that championship.”
With Tuesday’s win, the Coats’ regular season record improved to 20-8. In the regular season, the Coats are now 7-6 at home but 13-2 on the road, something the players are aware of but not too concerned with.
“I think we’re just underdogs,” King said. “On the road, it feels like we got something to prove because we’re away from our families. It takes a little more and you gotta have that edge, especially on the road. We take pride in that. I think we’ll get better in our home game stretch but as of right now, we’re just gonna keep it rolling.”
With three of their final four games at home, Key and the Coats are focused on what’s in front of them and improving on their woeful home record.
“When we come home, I don’t want to say we get laxed but maybe we get a little more comfortable,” Key said. “We’re thinking ‘okay we won on the road so now we’ll go home and get a win, but we can’t take anything lightly… Keep the effort, energy and intensity that we had tonight and we’ll be fine.”
As the team prepares for its playoff run, they remain focused on one task at a time and will not downplay any of its opponents moving forward, making every game a challenge.
“Whoever is ahead of us, we want to take it one game at a time. I think with a win we can lock up the two seed and get a bye and then we go from there.” Key said. “Whoever is in front of us will be the biggest challenge.”
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