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The Last Last Night in the D-League Before the All-Star Break

Don't worry, Romel. You're going to All-Star Weekend.
Don't worry, Romel. You're going to All-Star Weekend.

This was the last slate of games before all-star weekend, and I'll be honest, a lot of guys seem ready for the break.  There was only one game that had some poor outside shooting all around, but there were a lot of missed shots overall, and some will enjoy a trip to Dallas while others a trip home.

Dakota Wizards 109, Bakersfield Jam 100 (Highlights) (Box Score)

  • Scott has written before that Blake Ahearn probably didn't have coming off the bench in mind when he asked to be traded, but the Jam probably didn't think they were getting so few assists from him, either.  Just three in 31 minutes, although he did a good job of getting to the free throw line and finished with 24 points on 11 shots. (Scott's rebuttal: if no one else is going to score on the team, somebody has to!)
  • Newly-named D-League All-Star Brian Butch showed why with four points on 2-6 shooting, four rebounds and three turnovers.  Oh, wait, nevermind.  Let's keep move on.
  • Renaldo Major had a terrific game off the bench, 17 points and 12 rebounds, with seven of those boards coming on the offensive end.  He's really picked it up the last few weeks, and he's probably the best sixth man in the league.
  • Romel Beck has also been playing well, scoring 24 points last night.  He's gotten a little lost in the shuffle this season with so many talented wing players (though maybe that's just me), but he's been a consistently solid performer for Dakota this season.

Jump for the rest of the games.

Sioux Falls Skyforce 100, Albuquerque Thunderbirds 90 (Highlights) (Box Score)

  • After a very good first quarter, the Skyforce tailed off for the rest of the game.  This game was a lot closer than it should've been considering that Chad Toppert was the only Thunderbird who seemed able to shoot.
  • Toppert was a perfect 7-7 from outside (the rest of his team was 2-8, by which I mean Antoine Agudio was 1-6) and 9-10 overall on the way to 27 points.
  • Sioux Falls has made some really solid additions over the past few weeks.  Alexander Johnson is a nice complement for Reggie Williams, and finished with 24 points on nine shots and eight rebounds.  Greg Stiemsma is back from injury (which doesn't really count as an addition, but sort of does) and had five blocks.  Jared Newson was acquired via a trade from Bakersfield for Keith Brumbaugh, and has shown to be a decent bench option.  They're going into the all-star break with a stronger roster than they started the season with.
  • Carlos Powell shooting 1-9 is bad, but you have to love that he tied the game high with seven assists.  Great all-around skill-set.
  • Hey Scott, Marcus Hubbard didn't shoot any threes in this game.  Does that mean he qualifies as a center? (Well, according to the D-League, he played center all last season AND for the D-League Select Summer League Team AND for the other random traveling team, so yes :-) - Scott)

Tulsa 66ers 102, LA D-Fenders 90 (Box Score)

  • Moses Ehambe bounced back from a few rough games with 22 points and 4-6 outside shooting.  That's key for the 66ers as right now their bench is a bit depleted with Cecil Brown out and Deron Washington moving into the starting lineup.
  • Speaking of Washington, I can't say that I saw his 3-4 outside shooting performance coming.  I just hope he doesn't take it as a sign and start gunning more.
  • Remember what I said last time about Dar Tucker?  He played less than three minutes of this game (which, oddly enough, happened to coincide with when I was watching).  He played the last minute of the first quarter and the first minute and a half of the second, and threw up two jumpers which both missed.  Then he never saw the court again.  I'd say coach Chucky Brown's patience has officially worn thin.
  • I haven't really considered Diamon Simpson a serious call-up candidate this season, but he's a double-double machine and while he's not an offensive dynamo (he missed five layups last night, only one of which was blocked), with a little work he could potentially be a candidate next season.

Austin Toros 98, Maine Red Claws 84 (Highlights) (Box Score)

  • Russell Robinson seemed to be settling in with the Red Claws before hitting this 3-13, three assist speed bump.  He took several shots with 19 seconds still on the shot clock too, so maybe Desmon Farmer rubbed off on him a little bit.
  • Noel Felix is a solid post defender who's had some NBA looks in the past, and he helped force Dwayne Jones into committing six turnovers.  In fact, this was one of Felix's best games of the season overall, as he had 14 points, 11 boards and three blocks.  Another fun Felix fact: he played at Fresno State with Melvin Ely, Courtney Alexander and Renaldo Major.  Wasn't that a fun fact?
  • This game was like the opposite of the last one for Austin.  They were hitting their threes (43 percent as a team), but missing some of the inside stuff.
  • Malik Hairston had 29 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.  If an NBA assignee like Joey Dorsey can be named to an all-star team, I don't know why Hairston couldn't (it's possible that the league prefers that no NBA players be in the game, and Dorsey only got in because of fan voting).  Position aside, he's much more deserving than guards like Joe Crawford or his teammate Curtis Jerrells.
  • Dominique Coleman is averaging just three and a half points, two and a half assists and two rebounds a game since coming back to the D-League.  I'm sad now.

Idaho Stampede 119, Reno Bighorns 107 (Box Score)

  • Idaho might have the best rebounding frontcourt right now with JoLance Allbert and Mildon Ambres; they combined for 24 boards last night. (I had to edit this sentence. See if you can find what I changed. - Scott)
  • Reno, meanwhile, has become something of a one man show in that regard, as Rod Benson had 13 of his team's 31 rebounds; no other Bighorn had more than four.
  • I'm guessing D.J. Strawberry is all healed up from his injury, since he had 28 points and 55 over his last two games.  He probably won't start with Will Blalock and Desmon Farmer on the team, but he could be a very good do-it-all sixth man like Renaldo Major.
  • Reno had 34 assists on 40 made field goals, which is almost unheard of for any team, let alone for...let's just say for Reno.  This was a completely different game than the one they played almost a week ago.
  • Aside from the whole being local thing, it's games like this (18 points, 5-7 shooting from outside) that remind me why the Stampede keep Roberto Bergersen around.  Because I honestly forget sometimes.