Remember what I said yesterday about the Dakota Wizards lacking heart? Well, apparently they have it, it just doesn't show up until it seems they're about to endure the ugliest game in the D-League this season.
The game started out with Iowa hot, taking it from 6-4 to 23-6 in about five minutes, riding a wave of momentum-creating plays out of Othyus Jeffers and Denham Brown. On the other side of the ball, Renaldo Major showed up, but none of his teammates seemed, as the broadcast crew pointed out, like they even wanted to be in Iowa (and why wouldn't they!?). After slowly climbing back for the rest of the first quarter, Dakota got hot in the second quarter.
How hot, you ask? Wow. Hotter than Quin Snyder in his best glamour shot! (As Paris Hilton would say, "That's hot!") Dakota outscored Iowa 40-22 in the second quarter. David Bell came off of the bench to hit 5 of 7 from beyond the arc (Hot!), Blake Ahearn had 11 (most from the charity stripe) and the rest of the Wizards played great defense, especially little Carlos English. English played the earliest I've seen him play for the Wizards this season (apart one random start) and he bugged Curtis Stinson like no other. Stinson, Iowa's offensive spark plug, lost his groove the rest of he quarter, ultimately finishing the quarter shooting 1-for-6 with a pair of turnovers.
As always, continue on for my individual player breakdowns.
David Bell obviously should get a mention. He's Dakota's best guard defender and he's my sixth man of the year (why doesn't this replace the Impact Player of the Year"?). Those are both worth this mention alone, simply because he isn't appreciated like he should be. Last night, though, he went above and beyond the call of duty. Bell, getting the call early off the bench when starting point Mo Baker was struggling (along with the rest of the team) to knock down some shots. Knock down some shots he did, finishing with a career high 34 points, including 10 3-pointers, and even hitting two of them after dribbling first!
Richard Hendrix had a quiet game, as per usual. He played passive-over aggresive defense, which just isn't a good combination - it's like chocolate-covered shrimp, I'd imagine. Luckily John Edwards didn't play out of his mind and Courtney Sims decided not to return to Iowa, or there would have been trouble. Hendrix threw up some slop, hit some slop, and never really showed too much of anything offensively, yet he still put in 16 points. His glass cleaning is where he's important though, as he finished with 14, six offensive. I really he wish he had a motor - he'd be in the NBA.
Blake Ahearn played all but 22 seconds in the game, shooting 4-for-18 from the field. He missed seven shot's in the fourth quarter, which was a terrible quarter for him, and one which skews these numbers severely. However, he did finish with 20 points and 11 assists, which is good for Blake. His biggest contribution was getting the call on a 3-point attempt right before the end of the third quarter that led to three attempts from the charity stripe and a stop of the switching momentum.
Renaldo Major came out with heart and really seemed to be the only player that really wanted to win in the first quarter. Eventually, his 'heart' became contagious, as the rest of the Wizards decided to follow his lead. Renaldo didn't have a great game after the first quarter, but he had 10 of the first 14 Wizard points, which got them to where they needed to be. In the end, he finished with 20 points and eight boards, though didn't impress on defense like he usually does.
Othyus Jeffers was the Energy. Literally and figuratively. There's not a lot that you shouldn't like about this dude. Dakota was rather lax on his drives to the basket, but I'm going to assume that's because they were simply scared of him. He's so smart, so deliberate, and plays like he's mad at the world every second he's on the court. Tonight, he had reason to be mad, as something broke down between him and the Golden State Warriors earlier this week (I have no clue what happened, but I've heard he flew out there). Anyway, he made 13 of his 18 shots (just one jumper, by my count though) and finished with 14 boards. He probably deserved that call-up!
Other Iowan's: Denham Brown is essentially Jeffers Lite... Curtis Stinson can't shoot a lick, but tries hard and fills up the box... remember when I said Demetris Nichols can shoot? He couldn't tonight... remember when I said John Edwards is a stiff? He is...
- Courtney Sims didn't want to come back to Iowa - not a bad move on his part (what'd he have to prove?), but hurt Iowa severely
- Jon L needs a computer at home that lets him participate is OSLB's
- I miss Quin
- TorosGirl ditched us - mad at IceMan, I presume
- Marat Kogut, Scott Twardoski and Tre Maddox called the worst evenly called game I've watched this season - lots of bad calls, but lots of makeup bad calls. It was weird.
- Futurecast overcame early freezing issues
- First Kyle Korver commercial came 20 minutes before the game started
- Marty Tirrell should be fired, exciting as he is
- The High Voltage dancers didn't use much voltage, turning out the lights and doing the Twist in the dark
- Aristide Sawadogo picked up a technical for trying to check into the game with his jersey untucked. Marat called it. I enjoyed it.
- I vote for new D-League commercials
- The clock operators for Iowa are TERRIBLE.