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NBA D-League Playoffs: Iowa Energy Vs. Tulsa 66ers Semifinals Preview

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Elijah Millsap and the Tulsa 66ers face off against Curtis Stinson's Iowa Energy in the D-League Semifinals.
Elijah Millsap and the Tulsa 66ers face off against Curtis Stinson's Iowa Energy in the D-League Semifinals.

The Tulsa 66ers, owned by the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Iowa Energy each dispatched their lower-seeded first round opponents leading to a second consecutive meeting in the semifinals of the NBA Development League playoffs.

The 66ers haven't played since dispatching the Texas Legends in two games last Friday behind solid play from rookie wing Elijah Millsap. The Energy, on the other hand, might not be as well rested considering they played two back-to-back, hard-fought games against the Utah Flash earlier this week. Iowa also lost bench dynamo Marqus Blakely to a call-up from the Houston Rockets earlier in the week, so it wouldn't be surprising if they come out a bit flat tonight.

The Energy ended the regular season with the best record to guarantee themselves homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs while the 66ers finished with the league's fourth-best record, but my postseason power rankings had the 66ers ranked third with the Energy seventh -- meaning the one-seed is probably the underdog in this series.

The match-up to watch is after the jump!

PG: Curtis Stinson vs. Jerome Dyson

The old pro versus the rookie transitioning to a new position makes for an interesting match-up, but not from beyond the arc.

Stinson has arguably been the best point guard in the D-League over the past three seasons, but has never received an NBA look. Part of that is probably due to the fact that he's unable to control his emotions, he can't shoot from distance and the fact that he's been atop -- or near -- the leaders in turnovers over the past three seasons. Still, as the starting point guard on the best team for three straight seasons, one would think the NBA might give him a look. In the first round, Stinson averaged an amazing 32.3 points, 9.0 assists and 7.3 rebounds while willing Iowa to victory.

Dyson began this season as the 66ers' scorer off the bench, but when Tweety Carter decided to take his talents to Latvia, the rookie from UConn was forced to become more of a distributor. In the first round of the playoffs, Dyson stepped up quite a bit in game one and finished the series with averages of 18.5 points and 8.0 assists. 

Edge: The veteran, but it would say quite a bit about Dyson's defense if he's able to stifle Stinson.

I think the 66ers have too much talent surrounding Dyson to lose this series, but Stinson's shown already that he can pull his team through games if that's what he needs to do. I'm going to guess that the series goes three games in favor of Tulsa with the Energy winning game two.