Last night gave us five of the better D-League games this season. Fort Wayne wins their first road game of the season and gets the better of the first post-Elliott/Bailey trade matchup (you may have heard me talk about this before). The Flash have a four game win streak ruined by the Wizards in a blowout that saw the Flash only scoring SIX POINTS IN THE FOURTH QUARTER. Now that's clutch. Reno see their six game win streak come to an end by the hands of Idaho as Albuquerque increase their lead to six after a comfortable win over the number one ranked Jam. Courtney Sims and James White went head to head in Iowa, with the Energy taking home the win over the Arsenal.
Click for some more recaps and some of my thoughts on the Ants-Skyforce matchup!
The Ants began their first of a ten-game road trip against Sioux Falls, taking it home with a 131 - 127 win against the Skyforce. Sioux Fall's David Bailey had his first start of the season and exploded for 31 points including 5-8 behind the arc. The other half of the trade, Carl Elliott, also went nuts with 31 points of his own. The game really appeared to be a shootout between these two guards, but Elliot's six steals certainly give him the edge. Walker Russell also had a career night with 18 assists to go along with his 30 points (again, he's THE BEST point in the league; no question). Fort Wayne shot 58% from treyland and managed 46 points in the fourth quarter. That should never happen (in Sioux Fall's defense they scored 42 in the same quarter). Fans in Sioux Falls last night certainly got their money's worth.
Dakota took out the Flash 97 - 79 last night in North Dakota. It's easy to see what happened here. Utah put in just six points in the fourth quarter, whereas the Wizards put in 32. Uh, yeah. Utah's Ryan Diggs shot just 4 for 12 but still managed 16 points off the bench. Carlos Wheeler shot 1 for 7. His six boards were nice, but he might as well have stayed at home last night. Utah's 24 turnovers (5 from Wheeler and 7 by Dontell Jefferson - who had a decent game if you can forgive him for his slippery hands) sunk them. Dakot's Renaldo Major had a game high with 22 and Blake Ahearn put up 20 points (though his 8 turnovers are a little....eh....you know....). But what happened to Rod Benson? Three points in 21 minutes? Even Ben Wallace does better than that offensively! However, Benson's three blocks certainly didn't hurt.
Reno and Idaho had a close one last night, with Idaho getting the better of a 98 - 97game. Reno aren't good enough to warrant a six game win streak. They just aren't. And they've been brought down to earth by a Stampede. Coby Karl had a game high 21 points and dished out 7 assists. Idaho's Brent Petway was 0 for 5 from behind the arc and the Stampede just shot 40% on the game, but still managed to pull out win (case in point: Reno isn't good enough to win six straight - I don't care who the opponents are). Reno's Donte Green was 4 for 14. Ouch. Antonio Meeking had a decent game for the Bighorns with ten boards and 16 points BUT (there's always a but) had six turnovers in the loss.
Albuquerque's on a roll with another win last night over the Jam; 95 - 84. The Bird's Will Conroy had a below-average night with 17 points on 17 shots, but teammate Jasper Johnson certainly made up for it with 21 points and ten boards in just 33 minutes. Bakersfield's Trey Johnson was shut up with his 5 for 17 shooting on the night. Terrance Thomas grabbed 13 boards for the Jam but still managed to shoot 2 for 8.
The Energy win another win, this time against Anaheim 110 - 102. Courtney Sims had 33 points in 30 minutes. Unbelievable. He also shot 13 for 15. Why is he still in this league? Same goes to James White (though his six turnovers could play a part) as he put in 35 in the loss. Iowa's Othyus Jeffers had 28 points, 10 boards, 5 assists, and two steals in probably the most solid all around play by anyone last night.
It's really great to see the Mad Ants pull out their first road win last night against the Skyforce. Obviously it was a matchup both team's wanted to win a little more than usual, as the trade made just days ago sent Carl Elliott to Fort Wayne and David Bailey back to the Skyforce. And both those guys scoring 31? Crazy. I wish this game was here in Fort Wayne!
So Elliott is starting for the Ants. It's good to see that. Ron Howard was moved up to the SF position and had a solid game with 20 points. So with Dewitt Scott and Shawn Hawkins coming off the bench, they are a threat (not to mention Coleman Collins). Scott is the best pure shooter in the league. Period. He was 5 for 6 from downtown on his way to 17 points. Hawkins didn't play....is he hurt? I can't see a good reason for him not playing. He's a game changer. Coleman Collins played just 15 minutes and his playing time has significantly decreased since Taj McCullough has come into town. I can't say I agree with this decision by coach Jaren Jackson. I think the two should be splitting time at the PF as they both have very similar games (though Taj has better touch to his deep shots, but I think CC is the better rebounder). Taj had an off night last night shooting just 5 for 14 but his 3 for 6 from deep were much needed. I've mentioned Elliott and Russell's ridiculous games. How Russell didn't get the PG spot on the Suns I'll never know. And Carl? Welcome to Fort Wayne! I'm excited about this kid.
Frank Williams put in 29 as the two guards (the other being Bailey of course) went nuts for the Skyforce but it wasn't enough. The two teams take the court tonight at 8 for round two. Me? I cannot wait.
Three other games are going down tonight. Albuquerque is looking to (and probably will) extend that winning streak to seven as they take on last place LA tonight. Erie is gonna be in Dakota tonight - this matchup is always a good one, but I see it going in favor of Dakota, as Erie is on a slide as of late (and Dakota is simply the better team). The Vipers are taking on the 66ers in Tulsa and the Vipers are hungry after losing six streak. I think they'll be satisfied.