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NBA D-League Power Rankings: March 8, 2012

March 8, 2012: Much like a certain basketball tournament that will be tipping off soon, the D-League Power Rankings are featuring a final four of sorts, as Los Angeles and Austin in the West and Iowa and Springfield in the East have established themselves as the top quartet in the league thus far. The D-Fenders, led by Top Prospect Malcolm Thomas, are still leading, followed by the Energy, the Toros and the Armor.

------1st last week
On the court, Los Angeles finally lost a game after running off 10 straight wins, falling to Idaho 101-93 before getting right back on the winning track with a 117-91 victory over Fort Wayne on March 3. Off the court, the D-Fenders welcomed the arrival of Darius Morris, who was assigned by the Los Angeles Lakers to the D-League squad.
----2nd last week
Iowa maintained its hold on the No. 2 spot in the Power Rankings despite dropping 2-of-3 games to Canton this week. The Energy avoided the three-game sweep with a 96-86 victory in Des Moines on March 4. Guard Mike Efevberha led Iowa with 21 points while Nick Murphy had a 17-point, 11-rebound performance.
----3rd last week
Austin dropped two straight to local rival Texas this week, but things are looking up for the Toros as Top Prospect Eric Dawson has returned from a stint with the San Antonio Spurs. Dawson will now team up with fellow prospect Justin Dentmon as one of the most formidable inside-out duos in the D-League.
-----4th last week
Springfield also had an off week, losing two games to Maine, but with Jerry Smith earning Player of the Month honors for February and Top Prospects Jeff Foote and JamesOn Curry the Armor have a solid foundation of key players to build on heading into the the playoffs.
------5th last week
Dakota had its six-game winning streak snapped this week, but bounced back with a 101-97 victory over Idaho on March 5, featuring guard Maurice Baker's 17-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist masterpiece. Edwin Ubiles continued his bid for an NBA Call-Up with 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the win.
-----6th last week
Rio Grande Valley split a pair of games at Tulsa last week, highlighted by a tight 99-94 win on March 2. Guard Will Conroy posted a 14-point, 10-assist double-double in the Vipers victory, while Marshall Brown scored a team-high 20 points for Rio Grande Valley.
------ 7th last week
Bakersfield held onto the seventh spot in the Power Rankings going 2-1 for the week, paced by a pair of victories on March 1 (vs. Sioux Falls) and March 3 (vs. Reno), which were sparked by veteran forward Renaldo Major. The Fresno State product scored a combined 39 points and pulled down a combined 12 rebounds over the course of the two wins for the Jam.
------8th last week
Canton went 2-1 vs. the defending D-League Champions from Iowa this week, and have won 7-of-10 games to hold off surging local rival Erie in the Power Rankings. Guard Kyle Gibson was electric for the Charge against the Energy, scoring a combined 64 points in the three games.
11th last week
Erie won three games this week and are unbeaten in four straight, jumping two spots in the Power Rankings. Center Jerome Jordan, assigned to the BayHawks from their NBA affiliate, the New York Knicks, was immense in the three games this week, scoring 54 points, grabbing 28 rebounds and blocking 10 shots in the trio of contests. Jordan, however, has been recalled to New York.
-----10th last week
Texas also had a good week, topping local rival Austin twice and running its league-leading winning streak to six straight games. Eight Legends scored in double-figures to close out the two-game sweep of Austin with a 110-105 victory on March 3. Center Sean Williams led the way for Texas with 16 points and 11 rebounds.
9th last week
Reno dropped two spots in the Power Rankings as its 1-1 record for the week, coupled with strong performances by Texas and Erie, resulted in the Bighorns dropping to 11th place. The good news is that Mo Charlo has returned from injury and posted 16 points and 14 rebounds in a 118-105 win over Bakersfield on March 4.
------12th last week
Tulsa has won two straight this week, defeating Rio Grande Valley on March 3 and Idaho on March 7. Top Prospect Marcus Lewis led the way for the 66ers, scoring 32 points and grabbing 23 rebounds over the course of the two victories.
-----13th last week
Idaho posted a 2-2 week, highlighted by a 101-93 victory over top-ranked Los Angeles, which snapped the D-Fenders' 10-game win streak. Top Prospect Mikki Moore had 20 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks for the Stampede, while Seth Tarver chipped in with 13 points, eight rebounds and three steals.
-----14th last week
Big things are happening in Maine as Kenny Hayes scored a Red Claws record 52 points in a 118-113 victory over Springfield on March 4. Maine, which went 2-1 for the week after signing former Washington Wizards player Hamady Ndiaye, then announced the return of 2011 D-League Rookie of the Year DeShawn Sims to the squad.
-----15th last week
Fort Wayne snapped a 10-game losing streak by defeating Dakota 116-115 on March 2. Swingman Ron Howard helped the Mad Ants climb out of the hole with a game-high 27 points against the Wizards, while guard Cameron Jones added 21 points, eight assists and five rebounds for Fort Wayne.
-----16th last week
Sioux Falls dropped three games this week, but Top Prospects Keith Benson and Trey Gilder played big amidst buzz they may receive NBA Call-Ups. Gilder scored 59 points and 29 rebounds in the three games, while Benson posted 54 points and 26 rebounds during the same period.