I had plans to enjoy a night in, curled up by the laptop, drinking a Dasani, and watching Josh Davis go to work - typical guy stuff. Unfortunately, the Iowa futurecast, as usual, got in my way. I was able to watch about half the game, reloading my browser constantly so that I could keep up with the game without having to buffer constantly. I'm going to move that if a team is supposed to host a playoff game, they need to make sure that they have whatever is necessary for me to be able to watch. Thanks.
Anyway, when I was able to watch this game, I noticed something - the Colorado 14ers are very, very good. They could use another big man, but that's really just nitpicking. They've got the perfect mix of savvy veteran's and hungry young dudes, which might make them my favorite for the playoffs, barring a deserved call-up that doesn't seem on it's way.
The other thing that I noticed? This team didn't skip a beat, despite losing Sonny Weems, who just called back up to the Nuggets earlier in the week. According to George Karl, Weems is a bit of anomaly in the D-League, saying "An athletic talent (such as Weems) is very unusual to have in the D-League.''
Really? Isn't the knock on the D-League usually that it's full of a whole bunch of athletic talents? Weems is great, and certainly an athletic talent, but I'd say 14er teammate Trey Gilder is just as athletic as Weems.
Continue on for my analysis of the rest of this game and the RGV-Reno game as well.
Colorado was led by John Lucas III. Little Lucas came off the bench to hit 4-of-7 from beyond the arc on his way to 24 points and six assists, missing just four his 14 shot attempts on the night. While Lucas is a bit on the tiny side (the Oklahoma State alum is generously listed at 6'0), he sure can run an offense and knock down shots. While he's probably never going to develop into a starting point guard, he can dominate a game as basketball's version of a 'change of pace back'.
Other notables for Colorado include Josh Davis, who finished 22 points and six boards, hitting four 3's; Billy Thomas had 17 points, eight boards and four assists; Joe Dabbert had 22 points and seven boards, all on the offensive end; and draft-eligible Trey Gilder finished with 14 points and nine boards in 20 minutes off the bench.
Iowa misses Courtney Sims. They were led by Mark Tyndale, who coincidentally was seemingly the only player for Iowa that didn't turn the ball over 42 times. I know nothing about Tyndale, but he 26 points on 13 shots this game, so we're going to learn about him together. He's a 6'5" rookie 2-guard out of Temple. DraftExpress says "he can really do everything except shoot the ball effectively..." He really didn't contribute anything else to the box score, but I'll take their word for it. He's somebody's hero.
Other notables for Iowa include a whole lot of turnovers and eight less assists compared the 14ers. John Edwards also had 11 minutes, 4 fouls, a technical and 0 shot attempts. He's not Courtney Sims.
RENO 121, Rio Grande Valley 114
This game was pretty meaningless in the D-League picture, as it's highly unlikely either team will make the playoffs. Regardless, we'll still look at it, because guys are still trying to get called-up (and because it makes you happy).
Reno was led by David Noel. He's good. He's routinely a threat for a triple-double, he was number five on our call-up rankings, and he rarely has an off night. Last night wasn't any different, as he scored 26 points, dished nine assists and grabbed seven boards, shooting 11-for-17 from the field. Boom.
Other notables for Reno include Garry Hill-Thomas, who came up big with 26 points and little else off the bench; Rod "Boom Tho" Benson continued to dominate, scoring 21 points, grabbing nine boards and swatting three shots in 30 minutes and finally Kansas-grad Russell Robinson made one of his TWELVE (12) attempts from the field. Gross.
RGV was led by the man, the myth, the Kurt "What's a" Looby! Looby did his thing, the same thing RU's been noticing for the past month - rebounding like a damn fool. I think he had more boards last night than in four years with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Big Looby finished with 16 points, 19 boards (eight on offense) and a disappointing one block shot. World, meet the New Junk Yard Dog. Looby, World.
Other notables for RGV include Jawad Williams, who scored 27 points and dished six assists, but turned the ball over five times and Jared Jordan, who showed he can score, finishing with 21 points and five assists.