TULSA, OK, April 25, 2010 - The Rio Grande Valley Vipers took care of the Tulsa 66ers in Game 1 of the best-of-three NBA D-League Finals, 124-107, at the Tulsa Convention Center on Sunday.
Rio Grande Valley’s win came despite league MVP Mike Harris spending much of three quarters on the bench. Harris, who finished with a game-high 24 points, only received 14 minutes of floor time during that span after picking up four quick fouls.
“Mike is a huge impact guy for us, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re not a one-man team,” Vipers head coach Chris Finch said. “He gives us an incredible weapon, but he’s struggled with fouls on the road, in particular.”
Tulsa kept the matchup close through the first half, even building a 10-point lead in the remaining minutes of it. Rio Grande Valley, though, strung together a 14-4 run to tie the game at 54. Then, with 1.8 seconds left in the half, and Tulsa holding a one point advantage, Rio Grande Valley’s Will Conroy threw up a three-point shot from near half court , which went in as the buzzer sounded. That basket gave the Vipers a 59-58 lead heading into the locker rooms.
The Vipers began to pull away at the end of the third on Ernest Scott’s three-pointer, which put them up by 14. Rio Grande Valley led by as many as 19 in the fourth quarter.
Rio Grande Valley also received a strong performance by center Julian Sensley, who had 21 points and seven rebounds. Conroy added a triple-double with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, while guard Craig Winder put up 18 points off the bench. Forward Antonio Anderson, who earned GATORADE Call-Up this season to the Oklahoma City Thunder, which owns the 66ers, ended the night with 17 points.
“Tonight my teammates were able to get me the ball in the right places and I was able to get the right start,” Sensley said.
The 66ers were led by forward Larry Owens’ 21 points. Guard Wink Adams, who was only with Tulsa for nine games this season, finished with 16 points, seven assists and eight rebounds. Deron Washington contributed 20 points, while Latavious Williams added 13 points and 13 rebounds.
This was the first Finals win in franchise history for the Vipers, who are also in the midst of their first trip to the NBA D-League postseason.
Game 2 of the NBA D-League Finals will take place at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. ET. Game 3 will also take place in Hidalgo, if necessary. Both games will air on the VERSUS television network.