D-League Games to Watch: Nov. 30 – Dec. 5
My apologies for failing to run this last week. Got busy with turkey goodness. Onward and upward!
Tuesday, November 30th
Ausin Toros (3-1) at Texas Legends (2-1) 8:00 PM ET
The Toros have faced the Red Claws and Vipers so far this season. In three of their match ups, they scored more than 100 (108.7 average of the three) and one game wherein they scored only 88. They have enjoyed a balanced attack so far, as six of their players are averaging in double digits (Lewis Clinch, Thomas Gardner, Carldell Johnson, Lance Thomas, Marcus Cousin, and Kevin Palmer) while collectively they’ve been shooting .462 from the field and .342 from the three point line.
After losing their debut, the Texas Legends have won two in a row, scoring 132 and 118 points against the Idaho Stampede. The Legends are developing into a highly watchable team, in that they’re averaging 121.7 points per game, with nine guys averaging between 10-20 PPGs (Joe Alexander, Justin Dentmon, Antonio Daniels, Booker Woodfox, Sean Williams, Kelvin Lewis, Curtis Terry, Matt Rodgers and Dar Tucker). On the downside, the Legends are giving up 122 PPG so far this season, so it’ll be interesting to see what adjustments they may make to handle the Toros.
Also, look for Rashard McCants to suit up for the Legends for the first time tonight.
Wednesday, December 1st
Idaho Stampede (0-3) at Reno Bighorns (4-0) 2:00 PM ET
This match up became especially interesting with the news that three time NBA All-Star Antoine Walker will play this year for the Stampede. There is currently not a time table attached with his first game, though sources have suggested he get started as soon as early this week.
He’ll join a Stampede team that has struggled to get going. They’ve lost all three games so far, two of them against the aforementioned Texas Legends with their high scoring output. The Stampede is currently led by Seth Tarver, averaging 20.7 PPG and 6.7 RPG while shooting .522 from the field. Walter Sharpe and Salim Stoudamire are also playing well, averaging 19.7 and 14.7 PPG respectively.
In other news, the Utah Flash have traded Dontell Jefferson and Carlos Wheeler to Idaho in exchange for Lance Allred. Depending on when Jefferson joins the team, he’s someone who should be able to help right away.
The Bighorns are undefeated so far this season, having defeated the Flash and the Jam in their two series. All four games were relatively close games (largest win was 15 points vs the Jam). A big reason for the Bighorns success has been Patrick Ewing Jr., who has been averaging 20.0 PPG, 9.5 RPG while shooting .483 from the field. He’s been flanked by Mo Charlo and Nick Fazekas, who has been averaging 17.3 and 16.5 so far. Personal fouls have been a problem for the Bighorns so far, and something to watch as they take on a Stampede team that is averaging .729 from the free throw line so far this year.
Thursday, December 2nd
Maine Red Claws (2-2) at Springfield Armor (2-2) 7:00 PM ET
These teams have already faced each other twice this year, and are notched up 1-1. The Red Claws hold a slight 199-186 total points advantage in the series so far, largely due to big nights last Saturday from former Syracuse alum Paul Harris and DeShawn Sims, who scored 22 and 24 points respectively.
The Armor has enjoyed a good start to the season from Scottie Reynolds (23.3 PPG and 3.8 APG) and strong defensive efforts from several other members of the team. Still, it will be especially interesting to see how Terrence Williams can help the Armor now that he’s on assignment from the Nets.
Friday, December 3rd
The Bayhawks are playing with a pair of guys recently assigned from the association. Christian Eyenga (Cavs) and Ed Davis (Raptors) have only played 3 and 2 games for Erie, but are contributing to the tune of 10.0 PPG a piece. One would assume they will start to see bigger minutes and be able to provide additional support to the squad, whose current leading scorer is Ivan Johnson at 16.0.
Dar Tucker had a particularly good week. Along with scoring 10.5 PPG off of .485 shooting, he also topped the Top 10 D-League Highlights of the Week. Still, Alan Anderson had an even better week, scoring 29.3 PPG and 6.7 RPG while shooting .622 from the field. Anderson is leading the D-League in Points Per Game, and is in the top ten of the D-league in FG% for players averaging at least 20 minutes.
Saturday, December 4th
Fort Wayne Mad Ants (2-2) at Springfield Armor (2-2) 7:00 PM ET
The Mad Ants won their first two match ups against Sioux Falls before losing two in a row against the Bayhawks. The Mad Ants have been averaging 103.0 PPG so far, with Roderick Wilmont as their leading scorer with 20.0 PPG. The Mad Ants have also seen good play out of Marvin Phillips, Darnell Lazare, Walker Russell, and former Purdue standout Chris Kramer.
As mentioned earlier, the Armor has seen some solid play from a variety of sources, and it looks like they’ll have another. I’ve read reports this morning that the Sixers will be sending Craig Brackins (aka the ‘other’ Sixers draft pick this season) to the Armor. It should be a good assignment for Brackins, and another nice addition for the Armor.
Sunday, December 5th
Dakota Wizards (1-4) at Iowa Energy (4-1) 5:00 PM ET
The Wizards also took part in yesterday’s trade, receiving Walter Sharpe and waiving Brendan Knox. Sharpe was drafted into the NBA in 2008 and played for the Sonics and the Pistons before getting moved to the D-League, where he’s played for the Mad Ants and the Stampede. His 10.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG should help the Wizards right away, who have two 20+ point a game guys in Renaldo Major and Crhis Johnson, two 10+ PPG guys in Darren Cooper and Brandon Johnson, and then a collection of guys who are helping out where they can.
Iowa is currently the leading team in the Eastern Conference, and playing well at 4-1. Their only stop was against the Tulsa 66ers and 23 points from Elijah Millsap (aka Paul Millsap’s kid brother). The Energy are a good squad from top-to-bottom, but at least last week, the key to their success has been the play of Othyus Jeffers, who has been averaging 23.0 PPG, 8.8 RPG, and 3.4 APG. Jeffers earned Performer of the Week honors and has been a solid leader for the team.