Utah 101, Reno 81
OREM, Utah, Dec. 5, 2008 -- J.R. Giddens and Bill Walker combined for 43 points to lead the Utah Flash to its first home win of the season, 101-81, over the expansion Reno Bighorns Friday at the Mckay Events Center.
Giddens led all scorers with 24 points, while Walker chipped in 19. Entering the game, the duo of Boston Celtics assignees has averaged a combined 45.3 points, 14.3 rebounds, 4.0 steals and 3.7 blocked shots per game through the Flash’s first three contests.
“We are just excited about getting to play again, and we are working on our game.” Walker said. “The whole time in Boston we were waiting for an opportunity to play, and we are glad to get that opportunity here.”
The Bighorns, who trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, rallied in the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth period to whittle the Flash lead to six points.
An 8-2 Reno run in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter cut the Flash’s lead to 81-75. But Giddens , who scored 10 fourth-quarter points, led the Flash’s offensive surge in the final seven minutes -- scoring eight of the team's first nine points at the front end of a 20-6 Utah run to close out the game.
“Coach (Brad Jones) was calling my play and putting the ball into my hands, and I was able to make plays.” Giddens said. “My teammates trust me with the rock, and I just went out there and made plays when they needed to be made.”
The Flash had five players score in double-figures in scoring en route to a 53-percent (35-of-65) night from the field, including an 11-of-16 shooting performance from Giddens.
“We had a very good week of practice after losing our home opener.” Jones said. “Our guys were more patient within the offense tonight. We had 18 assists and that’s the highest we’ve had this year, so we were really looking to make the extra pass.”
Dontell Jefferson and Bennet Davis each chipped in 11 points for the Flash, while Carlos Wheeler led all Utah reserves with 13 points.
Antonio Meeking led all Reno scorers with 20 points, while Damone Brown and Jesse Smith chipped in 17 and 10 points, respectively.
Reno entered the night averaging 103.0 points per game, but the Utah defense forced 18 turnovers which led to 22 points, while holding the Bighorns to a season-low 81 points.
The Flash (2-2) travel to Bakersfield Saturday to take on the Jam, while the Bighorns (1-3) host the Anaheim Arsenal Friday in Reno.