NBA D-League Playoff Match-Ups Have Been Set


As we all know, the NBA Development League's playoff opponent selection day is clearly at least part of the reason that the first weekend in April is often referred to as the best sports weekend of the year.

This year, obviously, it was no different as the Pick Your Opponent format brought lots of excitement (fine, I was probably the only excited) and a few surprises as the results came trickling in.

First, the top-seeded Iowa Energy (37-13) decided to select the seventh-seeded Utah Flash (28-22). No surprise there, I don't think, as Iowa needed to select the easiest opponent and Utah has lost its last three games despite the return of Orien Greene. Iowa beat Utah both times they played this season including a 117-94 drubbing in their February 5 meeting.

Next up, No. 2 Reno Bighorns (34-16) decided to play the fifth-seeded Erie BayHawks (32-18) in a move that surprised the millions of fans waiting with bated breath. Reno defeated the BayHawks 100-89 in their only game this season, but Nate "The Great" Linhart didn't play for Erie in that game so obviously all of your conclusions are invalid. The only reason I would have selected the BayHawks so early is if I thought my team could get inside Ivan Johnson's head, which is very possibly what The Mastermind Eric Musselman is thinking in his selection of Reno.

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers (33-17) then had the option of facing either the Bakersfield Jam (29-21) or the Texas Legends (24-26). I think they made the wise choice in taking the Jam despite their superior record. The Jam has a very solid backcourt with the combination of Trey Johnson, Jeremy Wise, Stephen Dennis and Derrick Byars, but its frontcourt isn't all that imposing (unless Derrick Caracter is down for the long haul, of course).

The Tulsa 66ers (33-17) were then forced to select the Texas Legends because that was the only team available (so I don't know if "select" is the right word to use). Tulsa has a very good team, but not very many players that the casual NBA fan will be familiar with. Texas, on the other hand, boasts former first round NBA picks Joe Alexander, Antonio Daniels, Sean Williams and Rashad McCants -- plus Booker Woodfox.

The schedules have yet to be announced, but the first game of each series will be played at the lower seed's location with the second -- and third, if necessary -- taking place at the higher see'd facility.

First-Round Series (Best of Three)

Iowa Energy vs. Utah Flash
Reno Bighorns vs. Erie BayHawks
Rio Grande Valley Vipers vs. Bakersfield Jam
Tulsa 66ers vs. Texas Legends

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