The Iowa Energy are headed to the NBA Development League Finals after dispatching the Latavious Williams (and Larry Owens)-less Tulsa 66ers on Monday night to take the series 2-0. The final score was 107-94, but an 85-69 deficit at the end of the third quarter made it seem like Tulsa was just hoping to get it over with while playing their final stanza of the season.
In a s
omewhat extremely surprising performance, Energy center Scott VanderMeer led the Energy in shot attempts (21), points (19), rebounds (18) and blocks (5) after earning 10 DNP-coach's decisions early in the season while stuck on the bench behind Courtney Sims. VanderMeer is just barely on the fringe of the NBA radar after being invited to play at the Portsmouth Invitational after his four-year career at Illinois-Chicago ended before finding a roster spot on his home-state Indiana Pacers' Summer League roster in 2009 (I wrote about how he'd eventually be a D-League backup way back then!).
The Energy actually had five other players score in double figures as D-League MVP Curtis Stinson finished with 19 points and 13 assists, Stefhon Hannah added 18 points, Moses Ehambe scored 17 points, Michael Haynes had 15 and Kenny Taylor finished with 14 to round out the double-digit scorers.
For the 66ers, they ended a solid season with a disappointing series against the Energy after easily dispatching Iowa to make the Finals last season. Oklahoma City Thunder call-up Robert Vaden led the 66ers in Game 2 with 22 points on 5-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc, Elijah Millsap took 20 shots to score 18 points while turning the ball over five times and Jerome Dyson fouled out after scoring 17 points in 32 minutes.
The Energy will now have a few days of rest while waiting for the winner of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Reno Bighorns series to conclude either Wednesday (if RGV wins) or Thursday before the Finals begin.