RGV Turns Away Skyforce in Double Overtime
The visiting Rio Grande Valley Vipers erased a 14 point deficit over the final 8 minutes to seize a 119-116 double overtime win over the Sioux Falls Skyforce Thursday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
Losing a big lead late will happen in the NBA Development League as it did with 2,847 people in the building hoping for it not to occur. Any loss in any fashion will sting a bit. Henry Walker completed a three point play with 9:58 to go in the final frame to make the score 100-86 in favor of the Skyforce (22-16). Seven and a half minutes later the lead shifted back to the Vipers (26-11) at 104-103. Tense moments dotted the landscape throughout those final ticks of the clock in regulation and both overtimes with the Vipers prevailing. The final margin provided by three free throws from NBA assignee Robert Covington of the Houston Rockets. A three point try by Tre Kelley at the buzzer to send the game to a third overtime fell short.
As much as it stings to lose to the top team in the D-League in double overtime, the time for reflection must pass quickly as the same two teams meet again on Friday night. Plus a little perspective is needed to hasten the healing. The Skyforce were without their leaders DeAndre Liggins and Justin Hamilton who are in the midst of NBA Call-ups. Larry Drew II scored 22 with 8 assists and Anthony Mason, Jr. filled the stat sheet nicely with 21 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocks. For video confirmation of their body of work, see the adjoining clip.
Despite their gaudy record, the Vipers can be solved. It is noteworthy that Akeem Ellis finished with 21 points and 9 rebounds and Covington recorded 19 points and 11 boards. However we can look back to a game for RGV that went favorably in even more dramatic fashion. December 10, 2013 the Reno Bighorns led 109-96 with 4:15 left in the game. The Vipers came back to win 115-114 in regulation on a pair of Covington free throws with 21.7 seconds left. Ten days later Reno enacted revenge. After another sunrise we shall see what unfolds in the topsy-turvy world of professional basketball.