There was only one game last night in the D-League. Are you ready? [...] (Let's) break it down!
Sioux Falls Skyforce 109, Utah Flash 98 (Box Score)
- Reggie Williams did his thing, offensively, absolutely abusing the Flash defenders. Williams had the game GM's are looking for from him - efficient scoring, showing athleticism and hitting the 3-ball with consistency. While there wasn't much more in the box score to talk about, Williams went hard all night at Orien Greene and company, finishing with 29 points while shooting 9-of-13 from the field, including a 3-of-5 effort from beyond the arc.
- David Bailey had his best game of the season (at least of the games I've watched). While Bailey probably won't ever be anything other than a point guard you want leading your team in the D-League, he's great at being that. Rarely does he force his shot and he's pesky enough on defense that his 5-foot-8 stature doesn't really seem to be that much of a detriment. Anyway, last night he had 24 points, nine assists, six boards and two turnovers. He somehow shot seven 3's, which probably wasn't the best idea since he only made one, but we'll overlook that since his team won.
- Raymond Sykes is quickly becoming one of my favorite players to watch in the D-League. Reports are that his basketball IQ is pretty low, but I'd be willing to argue that it seems to be improving as the season progresses, at least as far as I can tell. Even if it isn't, I'd wager that his athleticism makes up for it. While he had just 13 points and didn't contribute as much as usual on the defensive end, Greg Stiemsma tweeted after the game "Shoutout to Raymond Sykes for the hardest dunk I've ever seen on somebody's head!" If you'll watch above, you'll agree with Stiemsma while noticing Bennett Davis got a faceful.
- I can't quite figure out what's going on with Alexander Johnson coming off the bench (matchups, maybe), but he still had 13 points and 11 boards. While he hits the boards very well and is much more polished offensively, his defense isn't close to Greg Stiemsma's. Bennett Davis beat Johnson more than once in the second half.
- Mike Nelson hasn't played in February. I assume it's due to injury, but haven't seen anything on it. Considering he's out of North Dakota State, I don't talk nearly enough about him.
Want analysis on Utah? You can have it ... after the jump!
- Orien Greene has recently taken over as the offensive weapon for Utah. With that, he's shooting much more effectively (55% from the field in February compared to 48% on the season) and actually looks like he was once deserving of being an NBA draft pick. His defense last night didn't look as solid as it has in the past, though when occasionally matched-up with Reggie Williams, it's probably understandable. Either way, 20 points on 12 shots and four steals is about what I'd expect from Greene in the D-League.
- Thankfully Dontell Jefferson used the extended all-star weekend to get healthy. After turning in his worst performance in at least two years in his last game, he seemed to be back on track last night, hitting seven of his 11 shots from the field to finish with 17 points to go along with five assists. He'll need to do more than that to regain his spot as the top point guard prospect in the D-League, but it's a good start.
- Kevin Kruger is back! He left Napoli in Italy quite awhile ago (the same team Lance Allred was with before he returned to the D-League) and had been having some contract issues since then, but apparently they've been resolved. Anyway, this creates quite the point guard controversy for the Flash - techically the two players above can also be considered point guards, along with Gabe Pruitt and even Andre Ingram, though he's more just an undersized shooting guard. Eventually, once Kruger gets his legs back under him, Brad Jones would probably be okay starting Kruger at the point, Jefferson at the 2 and Greene on the other wing, though that'd hurt Jefferson's call-up chances quite a bit. Anyway, Kruger rattled off a 9-0 run by himself, which was impressive, but it turns out those were his only points of the game.
- Luke Nevill struggled mightily - 1-for-8 on the night. Greg Stiemsma blocked two of those attempts and altered a couple more. Tough matchup, tough game for Nevill.
- Bennett Davis was effective off the bench with 16 points and eight boards. I wish he brought more consistency to the table.