Last Night in the D-League, Patty Mills Debuted

I grabbed a screen shot of Patty toward the end of the game, just for you. We have similar, terrible beards. We don't have similar jump shots.

This will be my last game recap until I'm sitting in the lovely confines of Boise's Super 8 Motel, so enjoy it.

Idaho Stampede 123, Reno Bighorns 109 (Box Score)

  • Patty Mills is obviously healthy.  He was the fastest player on the floor, showing no sign of the foot injury that's sidelined him since Summer League, and fit perfectly in Idaho's run and gun offense.  Mills came off the bench to score 38 points and dish 12 assists.  To put that in perspective, Idaho has the fastest offense in the D-League, nothing like the Trail Blazers', but still, wow.  Mills showed a deadly 3-point shot, hitting 7-of-10 from beyond the arc (most on open looks) and picked up a few easy drive-and-dish assists courtesy of former Blazer Anthony Tolliver.  With Steve Blake out with pneumonia, I wonder if the Blazers won't bring Mills back up to the D-League sooner rather than later.
  • Speaking of Tolliver, he exploded for 30 points, 12 boards and seven blocks.  He just plays hard, and awesome.
  • Lanny Smith got in some foul trouble, but he's still one of my favorite Stampede players to watch.  He plays unselfishly and is great with the drive-and-kick that Idaho's perimeter-oriented offense depends on.
  • New rule, if you're not a big man, learn how to shoot freakin' free-throws.  If Sundiata Gaines ever makes the league, he's going to be the first player under 6-foot that can't consistently hit a free-throw.  It's a shame Hack-A-Sundiata doesn't have a nicer ring to it.
  • Desmon Farmer was out with an ankle injury.  Without him, this Reno team looks more dysfunctional than normal, surprisingly.
  • In Farmer's absence, Russell Robinson was poised to take the scoring load, and did fairly well, getting to the rack with relative ease early in the game.  He finished with 20 points, the majority of which I believe were in the first half.  He also dished five assists, but as you probably expect, equaled that output with five turnovers.  Not good, Russell.
  • Please, somebody trade for Rod Benson.  Reno just doesn't seem to know how to use him as of late.  Or he really did get swine flue three weeks ago.  Regardless, something is wrong, and his 3-for-10 outing backs me up.  So does his playing just 24 minutes, scoring eight points and grabbing four boards.
  • David Noel was in the box score for the Bighorns.  He didn't play well, so I think it was just Dave Noel.  Announcers referred to him as David, but no word of the Bighorns getting David back on the D-League's transactions page.

Maine Red Claws 94, Erie Bayhawks 86 (Box Score)

  • I'm not sure if Coach Liv reads this, but I've got to point out that his Red Claws and New Orleans Saints both lost last weekend.  Yesterday, it looked like his LSU Tigers and Red Claws were going to suffer the same fate.  They didn't, but it was close.  In happier knews, he doesn't talk about my Packers sucking anymore on Sunday's.
  • Billy Thomas lost his jump shot.  As far as I can tell, he forgot it in Erie on December 12th, when he shot 9-for-11 from for 26 points.  He probably should have asked them to bring it with them yesterday, because after shooting 1-for-10, he obviously hasn't found it yet.
  • If you were to look at Alexis Ajinca's box score (19 points, 13 boards, 5 blocks), you'd probably wonder why he isn't back up with the Charlotte Bobcats.  Well, ladies and gentleman, you can't teach height.  In the other categories, he still has a lot to learn.
  • Mario West is a slasher, obviously.  He had the best game I've seen of his in the D-League yesterday, getting to the line 14 times and finishing with 18 points and six assists.  He even hit two 3-pointers, which is clearly worth bonus points.
  • Cliff Clinkscales had nine assists and just one turnover.  He only attempted three shots.  If I'm playing against the Bayhawks, my gameplan is to sag off on him until the free-throw line.  I swear, this will work.  Try it.
  • Alade Aminu is going to impress me yet.  16 points and nine boards in 30 minutes.  Odd prediction, but I expect him to go off at the Showcase.  That is, if Treloar decides to start him instead of Jarvis Gunter (he should).
  • Jackie Manuel played all 48 minutes, scoring 17 points on 14 shots and adding 10 boards.  He's always solid, but never spectacular this season.

Iowa Energy 110, Springfield Armor 99 (Box Score)

  • Mark Tyndale had 30 freakin' points in 22 minutes.  He had six points in his last game.  Springfield's defense leaves something to be desired, like defense.  That's probably what they desire.
  • Mo Almond had 34 points in another losing effort.  He also added 10 boards but counteracted that bit of box score filling with six turnovers.
  • Check the D-League Digest twitter for more play-by-play.  I didn't watch this game and Steve obviously did.
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