When a bucket by Greg Smith put Raptors 905 up by 23 points just five minutes into the second quarter, it looked as if the Sioux Falls Skyforce's seven-game winning streak was dead in the water on Thursday night.
But from that point on, Sioux Falls outscored the 905, 80-53, to win its eighth straight game 102-98 at the D-League Showcase in Santa Cruz, Calif.
Miami Heat assignees Josh Richardson and Jarnell Stokes, along with DeAndre Liggins, fueled the comeback. Richardson poured in 26 points with five boards and three assists. Stokes dominated down low, shooting 8-12 from the floor as part of a 24-point, 10-rebound double-double. Liggins added 19 points, nine assists, and five steals. He shot a perfect four-of-four from beyond the perimeter.
The video below shows the dominance Stokes has displayed in the post since his first game with the Skyforce. Watch as he single-handedly dismantles a triple team.
With the win, Sioux Falls improved to 11-1 with Stokes in uniform. He is averaging 19.7 points on 67 percent shooting, to go along with 8.9 rebounds per game with the Skyforce.
However, the one thing that Stokes needs to improve upon to graduate from the D-League is his work on the defensive end. With his offensive skill set, he could become a significant piece in the NBA if he improves his defense.
Liggins has put together a nice string of games. With NBA teams now able to sign players to 10-day contracts, Liggins may get his shot soon. He's a great defender as evidenced by his Defensive Player of the Year award for last season, and he's an excellent facilitator. He's a triple-double threat every time he steps on the court.
The key for Liggins will be to keep his turnovers down (he's averaging 4.9 per game) and to hit his shots more consistently.