Rio Grande Valley Vipers 136, Springfield Armor 128 (Overtime) (Box Score)
- First thing's first. Yes, the Springfield Armor took the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to overtime. To explain, these aren't your grandfather's Vipers - the Vipers have lost Joey Dorsey, Mike Harris, Garrett Temple and Antonio Anderson to NBA call-ups in the past month or so (Anderson and Harris in the past week), leaving Will Conroy to basically fend for himself.
- That said, Will Conroy's finally found a nice middle ground of playing the role of glue guy and distributor when it's warranted as well knowing when to take over a game. Last night, he realized he needed to be the glue guy, the distributor AND then, when it mattered, take over the game. Did it work? Yes - splendidly. Eight of the nine Vipers scored at least 10 points, so we can put a check mark next to glue guy and distributor. Conroy also scored 31 points, grabbed 14 boards and dished 12 assists, with 17 of those points coming in the fourth quarter and overtime - I think we can put a check mark next to 'taking the game over when called upon' as well. If you're wondering what I was impressed with most, it was his poise. He crashed the boards for every rebound, he took it to the basket every time he saw an opening and he made the quick decision when there wasn't one. While I've been critical of his game in the past, it seems he's really matured as a leader and a point guard this season, leading me to willingly endorse Conroy as the next D-League call-up.
- Conroy was helped most by the newly acquired Kenny Hasbrouck, the Son of Siena. The recently acquired Hasbrouck finished with 20 points on 14 shots and contributed two steals.
- Craig Winder, one of the better sixth men in the D-League came off the bench to score 26, but it took him 19 shots to get those 26 points. While the scoring output is actually pretty consistent with what he's contributed lately, he's typically much more efficient as well.
- Springfield was missing two players - JamesOn Curry, who I've heard dislocated his elbow on Thursday, and Noel Felix, who was out with an ankle injury. Still, they played a great game, leading to some potential Ewing Theory... theories? I'm not sure if the Ewing Theory applies to a team when it loses, but this is the best I've seen the Springfield Armor play in quite some time.
- Springfield was led by Justin Hawkins, a guy I've liked all season. Regardless, the Armor were able to pick him up off the street after Bakersfield cut him earlier in the season. If there's been one time that Dee Brown made a better transaction than Will Voigt did this season, that was it. Anyway, back to Hawkins - 33 points, 10 boards and three blocks. It wasn't an efficient 33 (he took 24 shots), but he looked good.
- Crazy Tony Bobbitt had 21 points, mostly due to hitting 5-of-7 behind the arc. He went a disturbing 2-of-9 from inside the arc, though, so I can't get too excited about his game - except his technical foul. There's never a time that you shouldn't be excited about Tony Bobbitt technical foul.
- Tre Whitted had 21 points, but contributed almost nothing else to the box score. Still, Springfield needed offense and he was able to provide some.
I didn't watch the LA-UTA or Idaho-Albuquerque games, but you can find the box scores here. For my recap of the Erie-Dakota game (well, more just a recap of Hasheem Thabeet's D-League debut), go here.