Yesterday was the last day of games before the D-League Showcase in Boise, and you could tell that a lot of players were either distracted or disinterested. It's hard to blame them when they're a day or two away from playing in front of all kinds of scouts, front office guys and media types, but it made for some rough basketball.
Idaho Stampede 109, Reno Bighorns 108 (Box Score)
- Idaho has now won all four games they've played against Reno so far this season, with the last two coming later this month. This loss was the closest by far, and made even tougher with the fact that the Bighorns had a 22 point lead at halftime. Reno has a winning record against the rest of the league (5-4), but against Idaho, nothing doing.
- The difference between Anthony Tolliver and Kevin Pittsnogle (if we're picking just one) is that Tolliver can actually step inside and be effective if his threes aren't falling. Tolliver was 1-7 from behind the arc but 5-6 elsewhere, and finished with 16 points and 16 boards.
- Patty Mills was again excellent, with 22 points on 12 shots and 4-5 on long-range shooting. He also had the game-winning tip-in off of a Sundiata Gaines miss. Mo Charlo had a chance at a game winner of his own, and I have to say, really Jay Humphries? Mo Charlo? The guy who was 1-5 up to that point in the game?
- Russell Robinson and Desmon Farmer played really well, and with a minimum of turnovers (two apiece). How do you like that? Robinson did a lot of his work at the line, going 12-12 on the way to 26 points, and adding 10 rebounds. Farmer was less efficient (big surprise), taking a lot of threes and hitting a couple, though he finished with 27 points.
- Even though the two teams shot about the same field goal percentage, Reno killed the Stampede on the offensive glass. 21 offensive rebounds in all (compared to 10 for Idaho), including five for Robinson and four each for Doug Thomas and Cezary Trybanski.
- Rod Benson had just five rebounds. Hopefully blissing out to Enya will get him right for the Showcase.
Hit the jump for the rest of the games.
Tulsa 66ers 113, Sioux Falls Skyforce 98 (Box Score)
- Tulsa can be so, so good. They scored 70 points over two (non-consecutive) quarters, and they have a nicely balanced roster with solid big men and shooters who can get hot and change the flow of a game. They made 43 percent of their threes, and that's even with three players going 0-fer.
- Latavious Williams had 11 rebounds in less than 23 minutes D.J. White had 17 rebounds. It helps that not only was Greg Stiemsma out but Keith Brumbaugh as well, but those guys are good rebounders anyway. And Williams was back to not fouling nor turning the ball over, huzzah.
- Sioux Falls was definitely short-handed in this game. Just seven players saw the floor for the Skyforce, and only one, Raymond Sykes, was taller than 6'8". I didn't mean for that "short-handed" thing to be a joke, but I guess it was. Sykes fouled out in 33 minutes and three other players finished with five fouls, and there really wasn't anything they could do about it.
- There have been questions about why Reggie Williams hasn't gotten more NBA notice, and if I had to pick one thing it would be his defense. Larry Owens had 15 points on eight shots against him and I'm assuming some of Deron Washington's 50 percent shooting came at his expense as well. I do think that the rest of his talent (he had 31 points on 18 shots and nine boards) will help overcome that at some point.
Iowa Energy 100, Fort Wayne Mad Ants 81 (Box Score)
- I can't tell if Fort Wayne was looking ahead to the Showcase themselves, or just aren't very good. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and say the former. They had a pair of three-minute-long scoreless stretches in the first quarter then another one at the beginning of the second before finally getting somewhat on track in the second half.
Earl Barron was a DNP, so Taylor Griffin got the start at center. He grabbed seven rebounds, but shot just 2-6. I can't really fault him since he was playing out of position, and he kept Sean Sonderleiter in check, but he hasn't exactly lit up the D-League. I may have said something like this before, but shouldn't the NBA assignee theoretically be the best player on the team? For how many players has that been true this year? Malik Hairston certainly for the two games he spent in Austin. Maybe Joey Dorsey, though you could argue he shared that with Mike Harris. Mayyyyyyybe BJ Mullens because Mustafa Shakur has been up and down, though Mullens's defense isn't very good and most of his rebounding comes from being tall. D.J. White has only played two games, although he's looked good in them. Patty Mills has played really well, though Idaho is stacked and you could make a case for either Anthony Tolliver or Sundiata Gaines. Certainly not Alexis Ajinca.
- Oliver Lafayette had nine assi-LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU, LA LA LA, OHHHHH SAY CAN YOU SEEEEEEE
- Jared Reiner played pretty well, 18 points and nine rebounds, but then he didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. I hope he didn't re-aggravate his injury.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers 108, Los Angeles D-Fenders 101 (Box Score)
- Even more than the others, this game was a clear sign that players were ready to just get to Boise already. I'd only characterize one quarter, the third, as featuring consistently good play, and even then it was mostly one-sided.
- As of this point, Pat Carroll hasn't really lived up to (my, anyway) expectations. He's had some okay games, but he hasn't been consistent nor shot the ball as well as I'm sure the team expected.
- The Vipers turned the ball over 15 times in the first half and seven more times in the fourth quarter/overtime (23 total), and still managed to win the game. Way to go, LA.
- Antonio Anderson had the best game for the Vipers with 26 points on 15 shots and nine assists, and Diamon Simpson had 19 points and 13 boards for the D-Fenders. A few other players did okay, but those times were in such isolation and require such qualification it's like they weren't real.