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Mustafa Shakur Was Clutch Last Night In The D-League

Tulsa 66ers 96, Reno Bighorns 94 (Box Score)

  • Yesterday I highlighted Will Conroy, today Mustafa Shakur's getting the top billing.  I hate when people talk about the D-League being such a guard dominated league (it is, but it isn't) and I guess I'm not doing much to eliminate that assertion.  Either way, Shakur and Conroy are probably the two most NBA-ready players in the D-League right now - they both rank as "Very good" on offense and defense which probably isn't an easy task from the point guard spot.  Anyway, you'll see what I meant in the headline when I said Shakur was clutch while watching the video above, but he did a lot more than hit a circus shot to win the game.  He finished with 26 points, eight assists and just one turnover.  If a team is solely looking for the best point guard available in the D-League, they'd have a very difficult choice right now.
  • Larry Owens is severely under-hyped.  He's been on a Summer League team the past three seasons (Miami in 2007 and New Orleans for the past two) so I'd argue that he has NBA talent.  Still, I rarely hear about him (in retrospect, that's probably my fault, but still).  I don't know who I'd compare him to, but he has a great body (big enough to overpower smaller players in the post but quick enough to beat bigger players on the drive) and he's been putting the ball in the bucket (21 ppg, 58% FG, 44% 3-point in February).  He's the utility guy for Tulsa, doing whatever's needed, but generally filling up the box score.  Last night he had 19 points, 11 boards, five assists and two blocks.  I don't think he'll be called-up this season, but a solid Summer League could translate into him sneaking on an NBA roster next preseason - who knows what will happen from there.
  • Deron Washington had 19 points, six boards and six assists, but I came away very underwhelmed by his performance.  He too often settles for jump shots (6-of-17 from the field last night), rendering his athleticism pretty useless.  He also came up way short on consecutive 3-point attempts, though he did hit 3-of-7, so I guess I probably shouldn't hold that against him.
  • Chris Richard had an unimpressive 10 points and 10 boards before fouling out.  Still, both of those statistics are above his season averages (9.5 ppg, 8.5 rpg), so don't be surprised if he gets called-up tomorrow.
  • For Reno, Rod Benson had 19 points, 13 boards and two blocks.  Considering it was against a pair of NBA draft picks in Richard and DeVon Hardin, I'd say he had a pretty good game.  You know what he brings to the table, so I won't elaborate much on his performance, but it was nice.
  • Desmon Farmer shot 6-of-14 from the field, missed all four of his 3-point attempts and finished with 24 points.  I'm also submitting this tidbit of information without comment: With the game tied at 92-92 and 31 seconds left to play, Jay Humphries took Farmer out of the game.  The announcers speculated it was a defensive substitution (he was replaced by Mo Charlo), but when the Bighorns came back on offense they subbed Charlo out for Richie Frahm.  Frahm was signed by the Bighorns earlier in the day. Hmm.
  • Will Blalock looks like he's finally getting healthy after suffering a stroke a couple years ago (I don't know if I've ever alluded to it on RU), which is great.  He didn't shoot the ball well last night, but finished with nine points, nine assists and three turnovers.  Blalock had the chance to put the Bighorns up after getting to the bucket and converting a lay-up to tie the game, but he missed the ensuing free-throw, leading to Shakur's big shot to end the game.
  • Reno's color commentator is terrible. That is all I have to say about that.


Sioux Falls Skyforce 110, Iowa Energy 103 (Box Score)

  • I don't have much to say about this game (I ended up going to work shortly before halftime), but wanted to include the youtubeage so you could see Iowa's pink jerseys.  They're ugly, but I assume it was for a good cause, so I'll support it.
  • Reggie Williams is good at scoring the basketball.  Against some of the better wing defenders in the D-League (Cartier Martin and Othyus Jeffers), he dropped 34 points while making 13-of-23 from the field.  This is why I think he should be in the NBA.
  • The lone bright spot for Iowa was Earl Barron - 26 points, 12 assists and five blocks. He benefitted from at least two phantom foul calls, but that's an impressive line against the Sioux Falls bigmen.
  • I didn't think the officiating was terrible as I was watching, but Iowa picked up four technical fouls (Coach Nurse, Curtis Stinson, Jeff Trepagnier and Barron were the culprits).  In what was the second game of rare back-to-back losses for Iowa, I really hope the wheels aren't falling off and they're able to regain their composure.  The back stretch won't be easy without the depth that Courtney Sims provided in the frontcourt.
  • Iowa play-by-play announcer Marty Tirrell is one of my favorites in the D-League.  I learned his name after he accidentally dropped the f-bomb 12 times last year while on the air during his regular radio show, leaving him suspended from a few Energy games.  Since that videos been removed, I'll submit this as the premiere Tirrell youtube.  Anyway, back on topic.  Last night Tirrell had the greatest transition I've ever heard.  After a big dunk, the following was said (I'm paraphrasing): "What a flush by Jeffers! Speaking of flush, I hear David Bailey was in the bathroom quite a bit today.  Apparently he has diarrhea."  It was vintage Tirrell.  Had he been wearing a pink scarf yesterday, my life would have been complete.

Utah Flash 126, Los Angeles D-Fenders 124 (OT) (Box Score) (Highlights)

  • I didn't see one second of this game, so I'm just going to give the thoughts that randomly hit me after watching the highlights and looking at the box score.
  • Michael Fey apparently plays to his competition.  He had a huge game yesterday, scoring 29 points and seven boards.  Utah's Luke Nevill, however, countered with 25 points and eight boards while playing seven less minutes. In Fey's last big outing - a 22 point, seven board effort against the Iowa Energy - Courtney Sims finished with 30 points and 12 boards.  I don't know what this says about him, but it's interesting that lately when it looks like he has a big night, his opponent does as well.
  • Joe Crawford had 28 points off the bench.  Why isn't he starting?

The Austin-Bakersfield game is still sitting on my DVR (I've watched it, but I think I want to get a little more in-depth with it) so I'll link you to the box score here.  I have yet to see highlights show up on youtube.