Last Night in the D-League; Once Again, Having an NBA Player Helps

Malik Hairston has been killing it for the Toros this season. (via www.nba.com)

Austin Toros 133, Fort Wayne 124 (OT) (Box Score)

  • Midway through the third quarter, the Toros found themselves down 24 points.  As you can see, they won this game by nine.  Hey, wha' happened?
  • Wha' happened is that the Toros actually started going to the rim.  It's really pretty much as easy as that.  Early on they took a lot of jumpers and fadeaways and threes, and while that strategy isn't preferable anyway, it's really not preferable on the second night of a back to back when legs are tired.  Quin Snyder took a timeout with six and a half minutes left in the third, and from then on Austin started getting layups and trips to the foul line and slowly but surely worked their way back into the game.
  • Overtime was all Austin.  The Mad Ants scored 12 in the extra period, but eight of those came in the last minute of the half when the game had pretty much been decided, finally.  I'll bet the rest of the Toros were just mad that Eddie Basden missed two free throws at the end of regulation and just wanted it over already.
  • Malik Hairston, Alonzo Gee and Dwayne Jones are your heroes for the Toros (hey, that rhymes, sort of!).  Hairston helped re-set the tone by getting to the free-throw line and finished with 35 points.  It should be noted that Hairston has upped his point total in every D-League game he's played thus far this season.  Some other NBA team needs to take him off of San Antonio's hands and give him some playing time.  15 of Gee's 25 points came in the fourth quarter and overtime, and he grabbed seven rebounds (though you could argue that he shouldn't be called a "hero" for scoring zero points in the third).  Dwayne Jones finished with 20 points on seven shots and 23 boards.  Austin started making their run with him on the bench, but he did nice work when he came back into the game.
  • Oliver Lafayette played well in the first half.  Very well, in fact.  Then he disappeared.  As in, two points in the third quarter and zero in the fourth.  Oh, Oliver.
  • After scoring 31 points over the previous six, Ryan Ayers has scored 45 points over his last four games.  20 rebounds and just three turnovers in that stretch, too.  No, I don't get it either.
  • Rob Kurz is still here, for now, and he had 20 points and 11 rebounds.  As with Lafayette, though, most of that production (the scoring, anyway) came in the first half.  Fort Wayne hadn't played since their Versus appearance on Saturday, so maybe they were a bit rusty, but if that were the case, shouldn't they have done worse early on and warmed up as the game went on.

The other two games are after the jump.

Reno Bighorns 101, Utah Flash 93 (Box Score)

  • It was an even-numbered day, so we got a good Desmon Farmer game (good in terms of how he played, not necessarily in terms of not having his teammates resent him).  32 points on 17 shots and a lot of trips to the free throw line, along with six boards.
  • Based on nothing but observation, I get the feeling that coach Jay Humphries doesn't place a ton of trust in Russell Robinson to run the offense.  First Robinson was benched, now he's back in the starting lineup but spending a lot of that time playing alongside his backup Majic Dorsey.  Robinson's assists totals this month have been 5-4-3-3-3-1-1-1-1-2, so either Humphries has some cause for concern or all the maneuverings are affecting Robinson.
  • Gabe Pruitt had a much better game in his second appearance for Utah this season, but by that I just mean he hit his season averages of 11 points and four assists rather than do anything spectatular.  With Andre Ingram missing all of his field goals and Dontell Jefferson shooting just 3-14, and with Jefferson and Orien Greene combining for just four assists, Pruitt helping out would've been, well, helpful.
  • As a matter of fact there wasn't much ball distribution going on for either team.  Dorsey had six assists and Pruitt led his team in that category; otherwise guys just weren't picking up dimes.  Part of that may have been the really poor three-point shooting (the teams were a combined 9-33 from outside), but at least Utah usually features more passing than that.
  • Four guys got T'd up in this game.  Yes, a certain referee was involved.  No, not that one.  The other one.  I'll bet this was a fun game to watch.  Sarcasm!

Albuquerque Thunderbirds 117, Bakersfield Jam 102 (Box Score)

I'd really like to tell you about this game, but as of now the box score says everyone played zero minutes and scored zero points.  So maybe later.  Here are the highlights to whet your appetite.  SPOILER ALERT: Kevin Pittsnogle shoots a couple of threes.

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