Well, it's Sunday today, which means I've got time to sit back in the hotel, watch some football and try to digest all of this weekends D-League games. Could life get any better? If it can, please call/email me and I'll be there soon! Let's get started:
Utah 90 @ RGV 108: The Vipers jumped out to a 28-10 lead and never really looked back. How Utah only scores 10 points in a quarter when starting two NBA players, I’m not sure, especially when they both played well. Billy Walker (Can I still call you Billy?) had 26 points and JR Giddens had 15, so they were the only two without problems on the Flash. Dontell Jefferson, who was traded for the Flash’s first round pick, had a bad game, scoring 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting, while also committing seven turnovers. Brian Jackson, 6th all-time in minutes played in the D-League, was limited to just 16 minutes of action, scoring four points, grabbing four boards, but committing three turnovers and fouls apiece. Bennet Davis, who was the third round pick for the Flash, had an abysmal night from the field, shooting 1-for-9 from the field and 2-for-6 from the free-throw line in just 22 minutes of action. Carlos Wheeler was a bright spot off the bench, as the big man put up a double-double, scoring 12 points and adding 13 boards in 29 minutes of action. For the Vipers, Smush Parker led the way with 24 points and seven assists, though he also committed eight turnovers before fouling out. Trent Strickland also had 24 points and six boards before fouling out. Fouling out seemed to be a common occurrence for the home team in this game, as Alton Ford amassed an amazing SEVEN fouls to go along with 14 points and nine boards. Hopefully there was an error with the stats, or I’ve got to learn how you amass seven fouls in one game. My only guess is maybe Eric Dalen came back to the D-League. If anyone’s got a better guess, let me know!
Tulsa 91 @ AUSTIN 105: Derrick Dial is really dialed in this season, as he’s been the lone bright spot through two 66ers losses this season. In this game, he scored 23 points on 9-for-20 shooting, though he shot just 3-for-11 from beyond the arc (OUCH?). I haven’t quite figured out why Steven Hill hasn’t got more action than he has, because even with his 1-for-6 shooting in 18 minutes of action, he still grabbed six boards and swatted three shots. Meanwhile, starting center Yemi Ogunoye grabbed just three boards and had no blocks in 40+ minutes. Chris Richard was solid, though unspectacular, finishing with 11 points and six boards in 32 minutes of action. Four Austin, Malik Hairston went to work. He finished with 33 points (19-of-20 from the FT line), seven boards, and six assists. Marcus E. Williams had 20 points and nine boards in a typically solid night. The Big Yawn was a DNP, presumably because of injury.
Anaheim 94 @ IDAHO 104: Anaheim is made up of solid consistent players that, on paper, shouldn’t lose many D-League games. You know what you’re getting when you put their starting five on the floor: Tierre Brown (Veteran ball handler with NBA experience), Cedric Bozeman (NBA talented swingman), James White (Athletic dunker), TJ Cummings (Good pedigree), Noel Felix (great defensive minor league big). No glaring holes in the starting five (besides obvious possible chemistry issues), good coaching staff (Sam Vincent and Paul Mokeski, former NBA head and assistant coaches), and a decent bench with a mix of bigs and scorers. In this game, all five starters scored in double figures, Tierre Brown added 11 assists, Cedric Bozeman pulled down 10 boards, and the bench didn’t play terrible. Unfortunately, Idaho is a better team. The Stampede have two NBA-caliber big men (Jermareo Davidson, Lance Allred both were in the NBA last season), a point guard that logged decent minutes with the Lakers last season (Coby Karl), a constantly improving athletic swingman (Brent Petway), and a kid that played 40 games in the D-League last year that is solid defensively and can knock down 3's (Ernest Scott). Heck, their BACK-UP point guard (Jamaal Tatum) was a candidate to make the Portland Trailblazers. Karl led the team with 25 points and eight assists, Davidson and Allred both put up double-doubles – Davidson with 18 and 13 and Allred with 17 and 10. I might pencil Iowa in as the top team in the D-League with the addition of Allred. Can you imagine if Keith Closs, part of a draft night trade, wouldn’t have magically disappeared to China?
Last cut of Suns camp Trey Johnson led the Jam with 18 points, Mateen Cleaves had 16, and big David Berghoefer came off the bench to put 14 points and seven boards in under 20 minutes of action. Jeff Trepagnier also apparently provided some instant offense, scoring nine points in seven minutes. Nick Lewis shot just 1-for-5 and had four fouls in 22 minutes of action, collecting only 2 boards and grabbing four fouls. Thusly, he was the guest on this week’s edition of Bakersfields podcast, apparently no longer starring Vance Palm. For Reno, D-League vet Antonio Meeking had 24 points and 12 boards to lead the team. Damone Brown, another elder statesman of the D-League, as only Brian Jackson is active and has played more D-League games than him, put in 18 points and grabbed 13 boards. Jesse Smith and Sung-Yoon BANG! also scored in double figures, each dropping 15 points. Overall, for a bunch of other teams rejects, Reno isn’t a bad team, but didn’t have enough to beat the Jam in this game.
Continue on for Sunday's action...
Anaheim 111 @ IDAHO 116: Well, Lance Allred got a technical. Yes, that Lance Allred – the nice deaf fundamentalist Mormon kid got all red yelling at the officials. So that’s big news. Allred also had 18 points and nine boards, shooting 10-for-12 from the line. Rookie* Jamaal Tatum (* = Not really a rookie..) came up big off the bench, scoring 28 points. Coby Karl did his thing, getting to the line and scoring 24 points. Karl is the shortest starter on this team at 6’5" – Coach Brian Gates is wondering what I’m talking about when I mention the height deficiencies in the D-League! Jermareo Davidson had 16 points and 14 boards, as the third (minimum) possibility to get called-up on this team. Anaheim sure does have a lot of weapons. They should have called themselves the Arsenal if they could only somehow pluralize it! Tierre Brown had 25 points and seven boards to lead the Arsenal. Mike Efevberha (Type that five times fast!) poured in 21 points off the bench before fouling out. Nothing else happened that was unexpected for the Arsenals.
Albuquerque 97 @ COLORADO 126: The Thunderbirds are not nearly as strong as their backcourt would indicate. With Will Conroy and Cheyne Gadson both starting, they should be nearly unstoppable. They’re not. Conroy shot TWO FOR SIXTEEN, though added 10 assists. Gadson had 16 points and five turnovers. The best player on the floor for the Thunderbirds was David Monds, a rather pedestrian big out of Oklahoma State who had 17 points and 20 boards, and surprisingly, of all nine of his offensive boards, none were from bricklayer Conroy (Majority came from David Noel). Former NFLer Fred Gibson again played well, scoring 16 points in 22 minutes. For Colorado, Josh Davis had 26 points, 10 boards, and 2 blocks, which is what I expect out of him nightly. Local product Dominique Coleman, out of the University of Colorado, had 20 points, 10 boards, six assists, and six steals to cap off a career night. Colorado, if they acquire Elton Brown and Eddie Gill anytime soon, will be really scary, and since neither is overseas yet, I think there’s a good possibility for this to happen.
SIOUX FALLS 119, Fort Wayne 117: Even with the loss, Fort Wayne sales guruGarrett Martz should have no problem selling if games are as exciting as this double overtime thriller was in Fort Wayne. The Skyforce were led by Bobby Jones, who had 28 points and 14 boards in 53+ minutes of action. Frank Williams also had a good game for the Force, with 27 points, though he shot just 3-for-11 from beyond the arc. Chris Alexander continued to struggle for Sioux Falls offensively, as he is now shooting just 3-for-21 on the season. That will not get you called up Chris, because the NBA scouts can see as well as I can that 14 of your 19 boards are offensive. I’m appalled, big fella. For Fort Wayne, Michigan alum Chris Hunterwas a force, scoring 22 points and grabbing 16 boards, along with swatting two shots. Coleman Collins has both positives and negatives in this game. Coleman’s positives were 14 points and 16 boards. His negatives were seven turnovers and 3-for-14 shooting. Ron "Richie Cunningham" Howard led the team with 23 points in just under 53 minutes of action. I’m most impressed with starter Shawn Hawkins fouling out in just 21 minutes of action. Foul trouble was not what Coach Jackson could use in this game. (Also, just a reminder to .President Jeff Potter – Please blog. I miss it..)