Yesterday, in the post-Showcase portion of the season, we had three regional matchups and a contest between two teams who have fought for playoff standing in the past. As everyone awaits hearing whether they'll get NBA 10-day contracts or overseas offers, these are the types of games that the league is emphasizing this year. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.
- Dakota/Sioux Falls games have mostly been pretty entertaining this year thanks to the Romel Beck/Reggie Williams matchup. Two of the league's best scorers going at it without a whole lot of defense to get in the way. Williams didn't get to the line as much as he typically does, but he had 34 points, eight rebounds and four assists, while Romel Beck missed seven of his ten three-point attempts but still had 25 points.
- I like Raymond Sykes, and he's been relatively solid in Greg Stiemsma's absence, but the Skyforce is really hurting defensively in the regular starter's absence. Dakota's big men combined for 55 points (along with 17 boards) last night, and they probably would've had even more if not for foul trouble.
- Speaking of which, Marcus Dove, Curtis Withers and Connor Atchley all fouled out of this game. Atchley wasn't forced out until there were three seconds left in overtime, but still. The free throws were pretty evenly split between the two teams, but Sioux Falls had a lot more of them in overtime. I can't speak to whether the calls were deserved or not, but that's the way the game ended.
The other games come after the jump.
Maine Red Claws 95, Springfield Armor 91 (Box Score)
- So let me get this straight; you're Maine, and you have a center on assignment from the NBA and two forwards with some NBA experience, and you still get out-rebounded by 10? Against Springfield?
- Taking this another step further, you have three guards with NBA experience, and they shoot a combined 1-9 from outside? Against Springfield?
- And finally, you're Springfield, and both of the above happen, and you still lose? Good job, everyone.
- Morris Almond has been playing so well that 21 points is something of a down night for him. Especially when it comes with 1-5 shooting from behind the arc. Even so, NBA teams in need of shooting guards can't keep ignoring him for long, can they?
- JamesOn Curry needed 13 shots to score 11 points, but he added 15 assists and seven rebounds, making this a relatively rare night when he was helping out elsewhere.
- Billy Thomas finished with zero points for the second straight game, shooting 0-5 from outside and 0-7 overall. Three assists, two rebounds and three turnovers were the other numbers. Aside from a 22 point night against the D-Fenders at the start of the Showcase, he's been playing really poorly since December 27.
Idaho Stampede 131, Austin Toros 110 (Box Score)
- In a lot of ways this game represents a microcosm of the Toros's season. They have some guys who can be decent defenders like Eddie Basden and Alonzo Gee, it just hasn't worked out that way very often and Idaho shot 52 percent from the field, 46 percent from outside. Three-point shooting has been hard to come by, and last night saw they made a shade less than 12 percent of their threes. They've also gotten relatively little from their bench this year, and last night Austin's reserves shot just 2-15. Austin definitely has talent, but Quin Snyder is earning his keep.
- Dwayne Jones had a good game at least, with 24 points on 7-10 shooting, 10-10 from the foul line, and 14 boards evenly split between offensive and defensive. I'm still not entirely convinced he can produce on offense at the NBA level, but the numbers are certainly there this year.
- Austin had a 42-23 free throw advantage, and shot pretty well from the line (81 percent), and still lost by 21 points. Idaho was shooting that well.
- After doing nothing for most of the season, Yemi Ogunoye has played pretty well the last two games. He had 19 points on 10 shots and 10 boards off the bench. Maybe he just needed to get out of Tulsa.
- Austin had just nine assists the entire game. Some opportunities were probably lost on the missed threes, but Curtis Jerrells finished with just three assists, which rates out to even lower considering how fast-paced this game was.
Utah Flash 85, Reno Bighorns 75 (Box Score)
- Neither of these teams played particularly well. Reno shot just 38.4 percent from the field overall. Four of Utah's five starters combined for 28 points. This one must have been a chore to watch.
- I'm assuming that Rod Benson's injury is still bothering him given how he's playing, but if that's the case, why is he still playing 35 minutes a night? I know Cezary Trybanski's not that great, but he can contribute a little bit, and getting more shots than points, five turnovers and only five rebounds from your starting center isn't exactly helpful, either. Give Benson a little more rest and he might be a little more productive.
- Without clicking that box score link, I'll give you one guess as to who had the most assists in this game. No, it wasn't Dontell Jefferson. No, not Orien Greene. It was someone on the Bighorns. No, not Russell Robinson. No, it wasn't Majic Dorsey, even though he started over Robinson for some reason. Would you believe...Desmon Farmer?
- Bennet Davis probably had the best game of anyone, with 17 points on 11 shots and six boards off the bench. Luke Nevill had 16 points on eight shots, but against an ailing Benson and a non-existent Trybanski he managed just five boards. I'm probably too hard on him, but given that he went to NBA training camp this year the expectations for him are probably a little higher than they should be.