Sioux Falls 114, Fort Worth 98 (F)
SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Feb. 27 - Amir Johnson, on assignment from the Detroit Pistons, recorded 32 points and collected 13 rebounds to help the Sioux Falls Skyforce post a 114-98 victory over the Fort Worth Flyers Thursday at the Sioux Falls Arena.
"What a great performance by Amir," Sioux Falls coach Mo McHone said. "He really hadn't been on the floor in three months and we hadn't had a practice, so I was really pleased with how he played."
The win pulls the Skyforce (18-15) within one and a half games of second-place Fort Worth (19-13) in the Eastern division.
The battle for playoff standings heated up as Johnson was joined by guard Will Blalock on assignment from the Pistons. Johnson went 13-of-15 from the field and had five blocks while Blalock scored six points and had seven assists.
"When you get two guys like that your coaching skills definitely go up," McHone said.
Robert Hite added 21 points, including 4-of-7 behind the arc, while Jeff Varem and Damone Brown both had 16. Brown also contributed three blocked shots. The Skyforce led by as many as 23 behind the dominant inside play of Johnson and Brown. Sioux Falls outscored Fort Worth 62-36 in the paint.
"When we play Damone and Amir together it's going to be hard to get to the basket," McHone said. "Those guys can flat out block shots and get after it."
Corey Santee led Fort Worth with 20 points and Ndudi Ebi had a double-double with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Terrance Thomas recorded 17 and Jeremy Richardson had 10. Fort Worth shot just 35 percent (35-of-99) from the floor.
The Skyforce continues their home stand with a Thursday 7 p.m. showdown against the rival Dakota Wizards at the Sioux Falls Arena. Fort Worth travels back to the Fort Worth Convention Center to face the Colorado 14ers Friday at 7 p.m.