In the first game of the third (of four, obviously) series to debut in the 2011 D-League Playoffs, the sixth seeded Bakersfield Jam
upset beat the third seeded defending D-League champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers, 110-105.
In what was a relatively competitive game throughout, Bakersfield pulled out the victory through the capable hands of probable D-League MVP Trey Johnson. Mr. Trey J scored a game high 29 points, including a pair of huge jumpers that essentially put the game away.
Jeremy Wise was also huge for the Jam, scoring 15 of his 24 points from the line, including the clinching two with a little over 7 seconds left while Derrick Byars scored 14 points of his own, an impressive feat considering he recently broke his nose, and took more than one shot to it during play.
Derrick Caracter, Stephen Dennis and D'Andre Bell also scored in double figures for the underdog Jam, who will look to sweep the defending champions on Tuesday in Hidalgo.
Speaking of the defending champs, the Vipers were led by Jerel McNeal and Jon Scheyer, who scored 22 and 20 points respectively. Scheyer, in particular, was effective in all areas, finishing with 5 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals.
Richard Roby had 17, Matt Janning had 12 and Mouhammad Faye had 11 to round out the double digit scorers for the Vipers.
The key matchup of this game was Hasheem Thabeet versus the big men of the Jam. Luke Zeller was ineffective (and wasn't matched up on Thabeet much anyway) while Drew Naymick had 9 strong rebounds.
Derrick Caracter, however, was the real catalyst in getting Thabeet into foul trouble, and the former No. 2 overall pick finished with 3 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and a block in only a little over 22 minutes of play.
As I said before, Game 2 is at RGV this Tuesday, April 12th, at 8:00.
*Highlights will be up as soon as the D-League site feels like giving them to us*