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Last Night in the D-League; So Long, Sundiata

That's right, you're getting TWO recaps today.  The D-League Showcase rolled on with Day 2 action that saw Sundiata Gaines called up by the Utah Jazz and several other players show why they should be next.  But enough of my yakking, let's recap these games, won't you?

*I should note that the original "So Long Sundiata" briefly aired on ABC in 1976-1977, between "Happy Days" and "Barney Miller."

Tulsa 66ers 99, Utah Flash 96 (Box Score)

  • This was a pretty good game.
  • Luke Nevill may yet have a place in the NBA, but so far, this  Facing off against an NBA player in DJ White - who's really an NBA player in name only (even though I think he can play), Nevill needed 11 shots to score 13 points and grabs just four rebounds, while letting White pick up 17 and 11 and score from pretty much wherever.  For the record, Scott disagrees with me about Nevill.
  • Mustafa Shakur turned the ball over six times to go with his nine assists, but what I liked most about his game was that the majority of his assists came late.  As the 66ers fought off a comeback, Shakur got his teammates involved and worked to find the open man.
  • Carlos Wheeler had another good game for Utah.  18 points on eight shots, five rebounds, four assists.  Again, the most I think he'll get out of this season is maybe an overseas offer, but it's worth mentioning.
  • In the absence of Nevill doing anything of substance, Bennet Davis has a nice game off the bench.  14 points and eight rebounds in 27 and a half minutes.  Davis was known primarily for his shotblocking prior to this season, but he got an invite with the Nets in the offseason and has shown some signs of a more well-rounded game.

The rest of the games are below the jump.

Dakota Wizards 110, Springfield Armor 103 (Box Score)

  • This was basically a matchup between Mo Almond and Ro Beck (no one calls him Ro[Scott's Note: Actually Jon, lots of people call him Ro, which is why it pisses me off when Rick Kamla calls him RAW-mel Beck]).  The two players had 34 and 39 points, respectively.  Beck was a little better from the field while Almond got to the line more often, as is his wont.  And yes, it helps that they were "guarding" each other.
  • Springfield got slightly more bench help, with Maurice Maxwell scoring 18 points and Dante Milligan going for six points and eight boards.  The Wizards countered with Cheyne Gadson, who had 20 points.
  • Mo Baker played (and started), David Bell did not.  Getting eight assists and seven rebounds from your starting PG is good.  Getting 3-11 shooting from same is not.  Especially when your starting shooting guard goes 1-6.  And your starting power forward goes 4-10.  And your starting center goes 1-5.  Wait, how did Dakota win this game exactly?
  • Actually, they won because Almond disappeared for large stretches of the first and fourth quarters.  I like Almond a lot, but then your team is down by three points, and you're the star, you have to score sometime before there are six minutes left in the game.

Sioux Falls Skyforce 121, Maine Red Claws 102 (Box Score)

  • This one has to sting if you're Maine, not just because the Red Claws have a loaded roster but because the Skyforce have just seven active players at the moment.  And yet Sioux Falls led by 10 at the end of the first quarter.
  • The biggest reason Maine lost was that they were terrible from outside.  A shade under 16 percent overall, including performances of 0-3 from Billy Thomas and Tony Bobbitt and 1-8 from Will Blalock.
  • It also helps (hurts?) that all seven of Sioux Falls's players scored in double figures.  Chris McCray had his best D-League of the season game by far, hitting five of six three-pointers off the bench on the way to 19 points.  Reggie Williams had 15 points and eight boards, and Raymond Sykes had 19 and 8 of his own.

  • Despite the poor outside shooting, Blalock actually had a decent game with 21 points, six assists.  Mario West had 19 points on nine shots but didn't do much else.  Really, Maine doesn't have much excuse for losing this one.

Iowa Energy 116, Austin Toros (Box Score)

  • The Toros just kept fading, fading, fading, and needed a 30 point fourth quarter just to make it this close.  They just don't have enough guys who can score consistently, and outside shooting is a particular concern.
  • Cartier Martin has been up and down since coming back to the D-League, but the Showcase is a nice time to be up, and 18 points on eight shots is nice work.  Same goes for Pat Carroll, who had his first good game arguably since December 20, hitting three of his four outside shots and finishing with 17 points.
  • Iowa got 48 points from its bench, compared to 22 for Austin, so it wasn't like this was all on the stars (and I know Carroll's not really a star, but just go with me here).  Marvin Phillips led that unit with 11 points and 10 boards.
  • I'm still not sold on David McClure as a starting power forward.  He can rebound, but doesn't do much else and makes defensive mistakes.
  • Lewis Clinch shot 3-11.  Not total, mind you, that's just on three-pointers.  I know.