Sioux Falls Skyforce 128, Springfield Armor 97 (Box Score)
- This was a tough game for the Armor; already playing without JamesOn Curry and Noel Felix, Tony Bobbitt left with an injury after the first quarter (the announcer guessed "knee sprain" but then disclosed that he's not a doctor. "Knee sprain," by the way, is a super-generic term that means next to nothing, but is usually the initial diagnosis to set up an MRI. I'm not a doctor either, I just read a lot of Will Carroll).
- Even with Bobbitt playing a full contest, I doubt the Armor would've come up with an answer for Alexander Johnson. They just couldn't stop him. 31 points on 16 shots and nine boards off the bench playing backup center. I've always thought of him more as a power forward, but there he was in the middle of the paint, altering shots. Hey Chicago, this is probably the guy you should've called up instead of Chris Richard.
- Justin Bowen was the biggest surprise of this game, for me. I liked him when he played for the Toros, he just never did much. He had a double-double at halftime and finished with 22 points on 12 shots and 13 rebounds, six of them coming on the offensive end. If he can keep that up, or anything even resembling it, the Skyforce might have the best collective frontcourt in the league along with Greg Stiemsma (five blocks) and Raymond Sykes (uh...several dunks).
- Jared Newson also deserves mention for numbers similar to Johnson (31 points on 17 shots, nine boards). Basically this was three guys running the Armor off the court. It's a good thing Springfield isn't trying to outscore teams anymore (SARCASM).
Dakota Wizards 100, Albuquerque Thunderbirds 91 (Highlights) (Box Score)
- My thought's on Hasheem Thabeet's performance may be found here. In a word, meh.
- I love the Dakota lineup that won this game. Lester Hudson-Darren Cooper-Renaldo Major-Cory Underwood-Curtis Withers. It was a great mix of offense and defense. Hudson in particular picked his game up in the fourth quarter after having a rough time early on guarding Keith McLeod.
- Speaking of whom...well actually, we don't really talk about McLeod much around here. He missed a block of time with an injury earlier this year, and at age 30 he's no longer a realistic NBA call-up candidate unless it's in the mold of an Eddie Gill/Randy Livingston veteran emergency point for the playoffs. But he's a smart veteran who's scoring 20 points a game while shooting a career-best 40.7 percent from outside, and an again-career-best six assists (and it was a little higher than that before he got hurt). McLeod had 44 points on 27 shots; normally I'd be a little annoyed with one guy taking three times as many shots as any of his teammates (he also had just three assists), but there were stretches where he just couldn't miss.
- I know Albuquerque didn't have a ton of alternatives, but Chad Toppert guarding Romel Beck was just a bad idea. Beck finished with 23 points on 12 shots along with five rebounds, one turnover and zero fouls. He wasn't on the court much late in the game, but he played well and got to the rim seemingly at will.
- Cory Underwood needed 10 shots to score eight points, but he also had seven rebounds in 20 and a half minutes and overall played very well. He had a nice spin move and jump shot at one point, though I can't recall against whom. An injury replacement for Marcus Dove, Underwood has played well enough that Dakota released Connor Atchley to keep him.
Utah Flash 114, Idaho Stampede 107 (Highlights) (Box Score)
- I only caught a few minutes of this game, so I missed Joe Dabbert's technicals and ejection in the third quarter. That seemed to be particularly costly, however, as Lance Allred already was a DNP due to illness. After that the Stampede seemed to go with a combination of Bryson McKenzie and Yemi Ogunoye in the middle, with 6'5" Mildon Ambres sliding over to power forward. That's actually not a bad fit for him, as he's an excellent rebounder for his size, and Ambres finished with 21 points and 10 boards.
- Oh hey, here's another reason why Idaho may have lost - three point shooting. The combination of Andre Barrett, Coby Karl and Donell Taylor were a combined 4-18 from outside, and the team as a whole shot just under 30 percent.
- Oh hey, here's a third reason why Idaho may have lost - they shot 16 free throws to Utah's 42. As I said, I didn't see much of this one so I won't comment on whether that disparity was earned, but based on the makes, that's 19 more points for Utah.
- Dontell Jefferson also missed this game with an injury, and in his absence the Utah point guards played...okay. Orien Greene and Gabe Pruitt each can score, certainly, combining for 40 points. Greene had as many turnovers as assists and steals combined, though (eight), and Pruitt finished with just one assist in almost 41 minutes. Kevin Kruger also started, meaning the team went with three ostensible point guards and still managed just 14 assists on 38 made field goals.
- Carlos Wheeler played very well off the bench. 12 of his 22 shots came from free throws, but he also shot 5-8, grabbed eight boards and blocked two shots. He's even older than Keith McLeod and so also not really a call-up candidate, but Wheeler continues to have a very solid season.