The NBA D-League Playoffs are now officially underway after Jerome Dyson and the Tulsa 66ers dominated the Texas Legends in the fourth quarter on the way to a 94-83 victory on Wednesday night in Frisco, Texas.
The Legends led 69-66 heading into the final quarter after trailing by double-digits multiple times earlier in the game, but an 8-0 run to open the fourth quarter to put Tulsa on top 74-69 would spur what amounted to Tulsa doubling the Legends up with a 28-14 fourth quarter scoring output.
For the 66ers, who were without Larry Owens and now hold a 1-0 lead heading to Tulsa for game two -- and three, if neccessary -- Dyson led the way with 23 points while Robert Vaden, property of the Oklahoma City Thunder, scored eight in the fourth quarter to finish with 20 points off the bench.
The Legends, who struggled mightily down the stretch without point guard Antonio Daniels to settle them down and create
good decent non-iso-fadeaway shots, were led with 20 points from Chris Roberts off the bench.
I've included video highlights (and Monstars and Nonstars) after the jump.
First, the Monstars:
- Jerome Dyson, a 6-foot-3 transitioning point guard, was apparently still a bit amped on his Connecticut Huskies winning the NCAA Championship on Monday night. he played very well on his way to 23 points, four rebounds, two steals and a block while defending all three starting members of the Legends' backcourt at points during the victory. That backcourt, by the way, finished the game shooting 9-of-30 from the field with nine turnovers.
- Robert Vaden, the 54th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, is best known for his shooting so it was a bit surprising that he was given a few open looks early in the game. Of course, after he made four of his first five attempts from beyond the arc and the defense tightened up, the damage was already done as he'd led the 66ers to a 42-32 lead midway through the second quarter. He didn't score again until the fourth quarter, but a nice six-point spurt helped Tulsa get off to a good start in the final stanza on the way to a victory.
- Chris Roberts, an excellent dunker out of Bradley who was cut after the first game of the season by the Idaho Stampede, was the lone bright spot on offense for the Texas Legends, who obviously missed having a veteran point guard in the lineup. Roberts came through both with the athletic finishes at the rim that I knew he was capable of along with a couple of three-pointers I wasn't aware he had in his arsenal to finish with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
And now, unfortunately, come the dreaded Nonstars:
- Remember the stellar Rashad McCants that was finally beginning to look like a former lottery pick just a couple of games ago? Well, unfortunately, that guy shot just 2-of-13 from the field -- including going 1-of-7 from beyond the arc -- to finish with 11 points. If it weren't for a 30-foot jumper he threw up in garbage time that swished in (and had the play-by-play guy noting he has "Jimmer range"), McCants would have finished with just one made field goal while forcing a variety of subpar shot attempts.
- I've been one of Sean Williams' biggest supporters all season so it feels weird to put him with the Nonstars considering the former first round NBA Draft pick finished the game with 11 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks. Unfortunately Williams also turned the ball over five times in the last three minutes of the game which all but ensured there would be no comeback for the Legends.