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NBA D-League Power Rankings: March 22, 2012

March 22, 2012: The Los Angeles D-Fenders remain a constant atop the NBA D-League Power Rankings, winning their lone game of the week despite losing Courtney Fortson as a call-up to the Houston Rockets, but the rest of the league is truly in flux as six players (including Fortson) have been called up to the NBA since the last Rankings. How teams respond to these changes to their rosters will be a big key to how the Power Rankings and the Playoff Picture unfold.

-----1st last week
Despite the loss of Fortson, L.A. kept rolling, edging Idaho 106-105 on March 17 -- with several players contributing in the offensive end for the win. Top Prospect Elijah Millsap made a bid to join Forston in the NBA with a team-high 22 points, while recent signees and former NBA players Jamario Moon (20 points) and Kareem Rush (10 points) also sparked the D-Fenders.
-----2nd last week
Austin solidified its hold on second place in the Power Rankings with a big 3-0 week, highlighted by a 113-103 victory over Eastern power Iowa on March 21. Guard Lester Hudson led the way against the Stampede with 24 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals off the bench, while Spurs assignee Cory Joseph added 25 points and six assists for the Toros.
5th last week
Newly re-acquired center Brian Butch was named D-League Co-Performer of the Week as Bakersfield won two games and jumped up to third place in the Power Rankings. Butch scored a combined 38 points, grabbed 25 rebounds and even managed to dish out 11 assists in two victories over Rio Grande Valley for the week.
6th last week
Canton also jumped up in the Power Rankings as the red-hot Charge went 3-0 for the week, running their win streak to six straight games and shooting up to the No. 1 spot in the East. Canton swept by Iowa, Erie and Fort Wayne for the week. Luke Harangody was huge for the Charge, scoring a combined 59 points and grabbing 38 rebounds, in addition to blocking five shots over the course of the three games.
4th last week
Springfield went 1-3 for the week, slipping a spot in the Power Rankings after key performer Jerry Smith got called up to the New Jersey Nets. The Armor snapped a three-game losing streak with a 115-109 win over Sioux Falls on March 20, sparked by a 23-point, 4-assist performance by Top Prospect JamesOn Curry.
3rd last week
Iowa had a rough 0-3 week with their position in the Power Rankings falling three spots. Guard Mike Efevberha (26 points, six assists), swingman Cartier Martin (26 points) and Center Ben Strong (16 points, 17 rebounds) did their best to snap the losing streak on March 21 against Austin, but the Energy came up short, dropping a 113-103 decision.
8th last week
Erie continued its steady climb up the Rankings on the strength of a 2-1 week, bolstered by a pair of wins at Fort Wayne. Top Prospect D.J. Kennedy scored 37 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and dished out nine assists in the wins over the Mad Ants, as he upped his bid to join former teammate Donald Sloan in the NBA.
9th last week
Texas is another team on the rise in the Power Rankings as the Legends went 1-1 for the week but have now won nine of their last 11 games. Former NBA player Antonio Daniels made a lay-up with 13.8 seconds to play to clinch a 94-92 win over the Stampede on March 15 in the Texas victory this week. Daniels finished the game 17 points and a team-high nine assists.
10th last week
Dakota rounds out three straight teams who have moved up on the Power Rankings in the 7-8-9 spots after a stellar 3-0 week. The Wizards remain behind Texas and Erie in this week's rankings as sparkplug Edwin Ubiles got called up to the NBA's Washington Wizards, so we'll need to see how Dakota responds to his absence.
7th last week
Rio Grande Valley went 0-3 for the week, dropping three spots in the Power Rankings. The good news for the Vipers is that their NBA affiliate, the Houston Rockets, assigned center Greg Smith to Rio Grande Valley on March 21. Smith and the Vipers hope to get back on the winning track against top-ranked Los Angeles this week.
-----11th last week
Tulsa went 2-0 for the week and has now won five straight games as Top Prospect Marcus Lewis continued his rebounding rampage, posting two more double-doubles (27 points and 15 rebounds on March 17 and 16 points and 10 rebounds on March 16) in both 66ers wins. Lewis has now recorded a league-high 30 double-doubles this season.
----12th last week
Reno snapped a four-game losing streak by topping Rio Grande Valley 114-108 on March 20. Top Prospect Andre Emmett scored a game-high 35 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists in the Bighorns victory, while forward -- and defensive specialist -- Mo Charlo added 19 points and 12 rebounds.
-----13th last week
Maine also snapped a two-game losing streak on March 20, as the Red Claws defeated Texas 105-91. Top Prospect Morris Almond scored a game-high 33 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Maine, while Kenny Hayes missed a triple-double by one rebound with his 17-point, 12-assist, nine rebound performance.
-----14th last week
Idaho went 0-2 for the week, but gave top-ranked Los Angeles all they could handle in a tight 106-105 loss on March 17. Guard Marcus Banks scored 25 points, including 7-of-7 from the free-throw line and 4-of-7 from the three-point line, and dished out six assists in a great effort for the Stampede, who hope to get back on the winning track vs. Fort Wayne this weekend.
-----15th last week
Sioux Falls went 2-1 for the week, highlighted by a 114-101 victory over the defending D-League Champions from Iowa on March 18. Forward Brian Hamilton came off the bench to lead the Skyforce with 27 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in the win over the Energy, while Top Prospect Marqus Blakely scored 18 points.
------16th last week
Fort Wayne dropped three straight games this week, but a bright spot for the club has been the play of recent Detroit Pistons asignee Vernon Macklin. The 6-10, 227-pound center posted double-doubles in all three games (14-points, 13-rebounds on March 21, 13-points, 16-rebounds on March 18 and 18 points, 18 rebounds on March 15). Macklin and the Mad Ants play at Idaho twice this weekend.