SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Despite a desperation comeback, the Eastern Conference champion, Springfield Armor fell 115-106 (box score) in a decisive Game 3 against the Canton Charge in the first round of the D-League Playoffs at the MassMutual Center.
In a season that saw the Armor pull off the greatest turnaround in D-League history, first-year head coach Bob MacKinnon Jr. didn't want to discuss the outcome, but rather a season filled with bright moments.
When asked about the game, MacKinnon responded: "I don't know. I don't care at this point. That's in the past."
"We're focused on these players as individuals," said the first-year head coach. "I'm just so proud of the effort they put forward all year."
"I'm not going to let a loss or two diminish what this team has accomplished," said MacKinnon. "To get a group of guys who are willing to sacrifice for one another everyday; it was an honor to coach them."
Springfield trailed by as many as 20 points in the fourth quarter. With just over three minutes remaining, the Armor put together a late run. L.D. Williams threw down a dunk to cut the lead to 110-101, marking the first time Springfield trailed by single-digits since 4:42 of the second quarter.
The late-game comeback was too little, too late, as Springfield's season ended on their home floor. Although the No. 7 Charge knocked off the No. 2 Armor, it can't be much of an upset. Springfield only led Canton by two games at the end of the season.
Springfield got off to a good start, much like in Sunday's win, but then Canton took control. Kyle Gibson and Tyrell Biggs were unstoppable all night and gave Canton a controlling lead, scoring the first 13 Canton points in the second quarter.
The Charge offense was firing on all cylinders Monday night. Canton scored 50 points in the paint, while connecting on six 3-pointers. Canton held a double-digit lead from the last few minutes of second quarter all the way to the fourth quarter.
The Charge lead got as high as 21 points.
Canton won the battle on the glass, outrebounding Springfield 48-31. In each game of the series, the team that controlled the boards won the game.
Williams had a game-high 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Springfield. JamesOn Curry poured in 24 points and dished out six assists, while Dennis Horner chipped in 21 points.
Canton was led by Antoine Agudio who had a team-high 24 points. But Gibson (23 points) and Biggs (21 points) were the heroes of the game. The two forwards hit big shot after big shot, especially when Springfield was starting to get in a flow.
The Charge advance to the semi-finals to play the Austin Toros.
Springfield improved its record by 16 wins. Horner and Jerry Smith were both called up by the Nets, while Jeff Foote was called up by the Hornets. Smith, Curry, and Foote were all D-League All-Stars.
"My only disappointment is that I don't get to go to practice tomorrow with them again," said MacKinnon.