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Boom Tho Smash! and other notes from last night in the D-League

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I just like this picture.
I just like this picture.

Reno Bighorns 109, Austin Toros 97 (Box Score) (Higlights)

  • Fresh off of not being named to the East all-star team, Rod Benson had his best game in...well a long time.  26 points, his highest total since November 30, and 14 rebounds, the most he's had in that category since December 15.  Those points came on 11-15 shooting, and he added three steals and two blocks, while turning the ball over just once.  He got Dwayne Jones into foul trouble, too (Jones would eventually foul out).  Boom Tho Smash!
  • I feel as if Mo Charlo is the player Reno thought they had in Marcus Hubbard earlier this season; a very good rebounder who can chip in and score when needed, and who doesn't take a lot of three-pointers (I don't know why they thought that was Hubbard, but I'm pretty sure that was the plan).  12 points and 10 boards yesterday.
  • A disjointed second quarter is what doomed the Toros, first with their bench being no help and then the stars (Alonzo Gee, Malik Hairston and Curtis Jerrells) started missing jumpers.  I've already harped on Austin's poor bench play this year so I won't bore you with it again, but while Eddie Basden played well overall (14 points on 5-8 shooting, seven boards, three assists), he missed some shots in the second and Squeaky Johnson, Roderick Riley and Lewis Clinch combined for just five points on the game.
  • And hey, speaking of Jerrells, what's up with the three assists, guy?  Shouldn't you be facilitating more and taking 19 shots less?  Does that question even make sense?
  • Malik Hairston had 29 points in this game, although it took him 28 shots to get there.  I'll be writing more about Hairston soon.

Notes from the other two games after the jump.

Rio Grande Valley Vipers 106, Albuquerque Thunderbirds 88 (Highlights) (Box Score)

  • I haven't really looked into this and could be completely wrong, but I feel like team three-point percentages have been dropping lately.  Some of this might be call-ups and injuries, but I feel like most of the games I've watched lately have featured poor outside shooting.  Albuquerque made less than 27 percent of their threes in this game, RGV just 15 percent.
  • Fresh off of...well, both being named to the West all-star team, Carlos Powell and Mike Harris had a bit of a shootout going; the former had 27 points on 16 shots with three blocks, the latter had 31 points and 22 boards, evenly split between offensive and defensive.  Put it this way, Harris had as many offensive rebounds as Albuquerque's leading rebounder Kurt Looby had total. 
  • I've harped on this, too, but RGV will need that kind of rebounding prowess, as centers Julian Sensley and Mickell Gladness had one board between the two of them.  It now looks like neither Powell nor Harris (nor anyone else for that matter) will be called up to fill in for Paul Pierce, but they both deserve the chance.
  • Jermaine Taylor's third D-League game was his best so far.  30 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals off the bench, along with 11-14 free-throw shooting (though just 1-5 from outside).  The Vipers have been starting a backcourt of Antonio Anderson and Jonathan Wallace, and while I think Wallace could grow into a solid player he hasn't been giving them much; Taylor probably should start from this point on, moving Anderson to the point.

Bakersfield 102, LA D-Fenders 100 (Box Score)

  • Yeah, so that Los Angeles team...not very good.  Bakersfield won this game by having a productive first quarter and then just hanging on for dear life.  The Jam scored just two field goals over a six-minute stretch in the fourth quarter, and the D-Fenders still couldn't take advantage.  Yeesh.
  • Other than Michael Fey and Joe Crawford, LA's bench outplayed their starters.  Horace Wormely had seven assists, but also fouled out in a little over 21 minutes.  He, Ryan Forehan-Kelly and Diamon Simpson combined to shoot 4-14.  Yeesh times two.
  • With Blake Ahearn out, the Jam seem to be missing a crunch time guy.  I have no idea why Blake Ahearn was out, but he was on the bench in his warm-ups.  We'll guess flu-like symptoms.
  • Brian Butch is a pretty good player but can be taken out of the game when his outside shot isn't hitting (0-7 last night).  Jeremy Wise had 27 points on 10 shots and seven assists for the game, but he also didn't take a single shot in the fourth quarter.  Reece Gaines seemed to be the go-to guy, but he needed 16 shots to score 17 points and also missed all of his three-pointers.
  • The foul calls and free throws were relatively even, but John Edwards, Will Daniels and Atila Santos all fouled out and Keith Brumbaugh had five fouls for Bakersfield, while Wormely was the only D-Fender with more than four.  Probably worth mentioning.
  • Scott's note: Who the hell is Atila Santos?