Nick Nurse and the Iowa Energy won the 2011 NBA D-League championship over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers with a 119-111 victory on Friday night to win Game 3 of the three-game series.
The Energy outscored the Vipers 38-23 in the fourth quarter to claim the first championship in team history behind 31 points from guard Stefhon Hannah following D-League MVP Curtis Stinson's first half injury. The Energy were also missing Othyus Jeffers, Marqus Blakely, Chris Lofton and Courtney Sims, all of which were missing either due to NBA call-ups or overseas opportunities that offered higher salaries.
Aside from Hannah, Michale Haynes scored 21, Shy Ely had 17, Moses Ehambe dumped in 15, Scott VanderMeer scored 14 and 2010 NBA draft second round pick Stanley Robinson scored 10 points for the Energy. Obviously Energy coach Nurse, as well as assistant Nate Bjorkren, had quite a bit to do with leading the misfit Iowa team to a D-League championship in front of an announced crowd of 9,054 in Des Moines.
For the visiting Vipers, Jerel McNeal led the team with 29 points, 11 rebounds and six assists in a valiant effort. Rio Grande Valley actually had six other players in double figures with Matt Janning (18), Connor Atchley (14), Richard Roby (12), Mouhammad Faye and Jon Scheyer (11) as well as Terrel Harris (10) scoring in double digits for the former defending D-League champions.
Congratulations certainly go out to the Energy coaching staff as well as Chris Finch, Paul Mokeski and the rest of the Vipers coaching staff.
Video from Game 3 is available here at NBA.com.