Austin Toros 98, Dakota Box Score)96 (
If nothing else, this was a great game and just as close as I predicted it. If you're looking for an excellent recap, check Lou Babiarz' gamer out at the Bismarck Tribune. He has some great quotes in there regarding the final play, the Marcus Williams situation and Wizards' coach Rory White saying "We didn't deserve to win this game."
Curtis Jerrells played an excellent game, finishing with 28 points and 10 assists while shooting 10-of-21 from the field and an impressive 4-of-9 from beyond the arc (impressive because he hoisted nine shots from behind the three-point line). Jerrells did commit a couple of rookie mistakes, the most egregious being an eight second call that could have been avoided had he been aware of the shot clock, but he also stepped out of bounds once and committed a couple of silly fouls. Now that I pointed that out for my fair and balanced reporting, I'll get back to drooling over his game. He was able to create off the dribble (including hitting the game winner), he found the open man when he wasn't able to do it himself and looked pretty poised at the end of the game. NBA players make NBA plays, I guess - not sure if that necessarily applies to Jerrells since he's never played an NBA game even though he's a member of the San Antonio Spurs, but it should.
- Alonzo Gee was freshly assigned to the Austin Toros earlier in the day, but it didn't really seem as if he'd ever missed a practice - he came right in and played well. How well, you ask? 29 points on 12-of-22 shooting and nine rebounds in 40+ minutes of action. I mean, really, he is who we thought he was - a just-outside-the-rotation NBA player that can dominate with his athleticism, but still has things to work on otherwise (mainly jump shooting and some defensive positioning tactics). He threw down a rather sick dunk on Darren Cooper that didn't make the highlights, but it was similar to the one that did make the highlights, so all is not lost.
- Maurice Baker played like the vet he needed to be. In just under 32 minutes of action due to early foul trouble, he finished with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists compared to just one steal. Really an impressive game - hitting jump shots, playing defense, crashing the boards, creating scoring opportunities for his teammates - he did it all. It was in a losing effort, yes, but I don't think anyone would attribute the loss to him.
- I know - I planned to only have three stars, but I was impressed with four players, so you're getting four stars. Who is the fourth star? None other than Mr. Defense Renaldo Major. His line wasn't necessarily impressive to end the night - 17 points on 15 shots, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block - but he challenged everything, showed heart and had the sickest block of this D-League season when he swatted a 7-foot-2-Luke-Bonner 3-pointer. After rehashing the endgame multiple times, I've decided the best play would have been to give it to Major with just over 10 seconds left in the game and let him win the game (as he did more than once last season). Except, well, he was taken out of the game for that possession and instead the Wizards got a long 3-point attempt that ultimately clanked.
And now for the Nonstars (I went with two since four Monstars - keep it even):
- Corsley Edwards just didn't bring it, unfortunately. He's a former NBA big man with great size and veteran savvy and was matched up with a foul-troubled Luke Bonner. Still, he managed just 12 points on 11 shots and four turnovers in the process during his 27 minutes of court time. After the game, an Austin player said "Corsley played bad.. probably was the big key to us winning." I might argue that the NBA players were more of a key than bad Dakota play, but it is what it is.
- The other starting big man for Dakota, Marcus Dove, didn't bring it like I thought he would, either. He played great on the defensive end, limiting Mike Joiner to basically nothing, but was a
nonnegative factor on the offensive end. With the tools that he has (length, athleticism, etc.), it's hard to think that he shot just 1-of-5 from the field without attempting a jump shot, but that's what happened. Just put the ball in the hole, buddy - especially since when you touch it's only a foot away!
Notice I didn't mention Lester Hudson, Dakota's NBA-assignee from the Memphis Grizzlies. He played fine off the bench (15 points, 4 boards, 3 assists), but I still don't see him playing the point in the NBA.