Three of tonight's competitors are directly affiliated with an NBA team, while the fourth (Utah) probably has more of a connection with the NBA than the D-Fenders. Of course, there's only one NBA player on assignment between all of them, but a lot of these players have either received NBA call-ups in the past or spent time on Summer League and training camp rosters; the fact that maybe all of these teams should be pretty good this year (I still can't get a good read on LA) is no accident.
Utah Flash at Los Angeles D-Fenders
Garret Siler is officially no longer on the Flash, for reasons I'm still trying to discern. As I noted yesterday, though, he wasn't playing anyway, and Utah still has a lot of talent on their roster. Los Angeles didn't have the best game a few nights ago but had the luxury of playing it against Bakersfield. They'll need to play (mostly shoot) a lot better tonight, particularly since they won't be able to dominate the boards against a Utah frontcourt with Carlos Wheeler, Bennet Davis and Gavin Grant all playing pretty well. The key for this game will be the backcourt play. If Orien Greene can't get his shots down or keep the ball out of Bakersfield's hands, and if Lee Cummard continues to shoot poorly (4-11 over the first two games without a single free throw) then the Jam could be in it. I'm not sure how likely that is, though, as the Flash have played pretty well without getting spectacular performances from everyone (Luke Nevill has been okay but not great), so a few of their guys could be due.
Tulsa 66ers at Austin Toros
Byron Mullens has been horrible offensively on his assignment but a beast on the boards. I suspect he'll have a slightly tougher time tonight against Dwayne Jones, but then both Joey Dorsey and Mike Harris were able to get theirs against the Toros so maybe Mullens will grab 20 or something. Mustafa Shakur and Moses Ehambe have played decently for Tulsa so far, but this is still a forward-heavy rotation. Keith Clark has been fairly efficient so far, Larry Owens is a decent scorer, and at this point I'm obligated to mention Latavious Williams, who will attempt to go a third straight game (well, the 10 or so minutes of it that he plays, anyway) without a foul. Oh, and he's also looking for his first (regular-season) field goal. Austin is a team full of slashers so the interior defense of those forwards will likely be tested early and often. Given that, expect some foul trouble from Mullens and maybe Clark. Some of the non-Alonzo Gee players will have to step up for the Toros (namely Justin Bowen, Lewis Clinch and Russell Carter), but this should be a well-played game.