Skyforce Crushes Crustacean Nation Dreams of Showcase Cup Title with Upset Win
Lower seeds ruled through the first three games of the NBADL Showcase Cup. Sioux Falls sustained the trend by bouncing the number one seed Maine 103-96 at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz on Thursday night.
This new concept conceived by the NBA Development League has added a little curry (and I don’t mean the brothers Steph or Seth) to the flavoring of this event which gathers all the teams together for a series of days. All those NBA folk who can watch what the minor leagues are doing up close now have an even better perspective what the best teams can do against their peers in the win column.
Bakersfield and Grand Rapids had already dispatched their higher seeded counterparts prior to the top-seeded Red Claws (16-5) knocked off the pinnacle by the bottom seeded Skyforce (12-10). Making the task more difficult was the news that Larry Drew II was on the cusp of signing a 10-day contract in the NBA. With the number two assist man in the D-League unavailable, the job fell to a rookie from Cal-State Fullerton.
Enter Michael Williams who to this point had come off the bench for the ‘Force, but stepped into the starter’s role and did his best to fill Drew’s shoes. Williams played 41 minutes, scored 13, grabbed 7 rebounds, distributed 5 assists with 3 steals and 2 blocked shots. That encapsulates the mantra of stepping up. Let us not discount the efforts of Andre Dawkins (33 points, 4 assists with accompanying video below) and Scotty Hopson (24 points, 6 rebounds) who also gave top notch performances. Hopson after the game revealed that he was invigorated by his called-up teammate. “We’ve got a good program here. First Tyler now Larry getting called up gives everyone a boost. Larry talked (earlier today) and I really got inspired.”
Maine had trouble getting into a shooting rhythm with a 37 percent shooting performance from the field and 55 percent from the free throw stripe. Forward Omari Johnson was the top performer for the Claws hitting 6-10 from downtown and 26 points overall. Guard Chris Babb struggled with his shot going 2-14 from behind the arc and collecting 14 points and 13 rebounds.
Game two for Sioux Falls at the NBADL Showcase is Saturday against Bakersfield in the championship side of the bracket. Meanwhile Maine will take on Texas in a consolation contest on Sunday.