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NBA D-League Power Rankings: December 29, 2011

December 29, 2011: OK. We're beginning to detect a pattern here. Once again the team that sat atop this list last week went out and failed to win a single game this week, as the L.A. D-Fenders lost to the Texas Legends on Friday, Dec 23. So after winning five of six games -- including today's victory over Springfield, the Austin Toros now sit on the hot (and cursed?) seat that is No. 1 in the NBA D-League Power Rankings.

3rd last week
The Austin Toros take the top spot this week, spurred on by a three-game winning streak that pushed the Toros to the best record in the league at 8-3, including Thursday's 105-100 matinee victory over the Springfield Armor. Forward Eric Dawson scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Toros, who host the Armor again Friday.
-----2nd last week
Bakersfield maintained second place in the Power Rankings after splitting a pair of games with the Vipers last week, including a 105-97 victory on Fri, Dec 23. Star guard Osiris Eldridge, veteran D-League performer Renaldo Major and former Western Kentucky forward Juan Pattillo each had 20 points for the Jam. Bakersfield gets back into action with a pair of games against Reno (Dec 29-30) before traveling to face L.A. on Jan 4.
4th last week
The defending NBA D-League Champions have won two of three games to move up the Power Rankings, including a 121-103 victory over Sioux Falls on Dec 27. Michael Tveidt led Iowa with 24 points, while Moses Ehambe and Marqus Blakely each scored 22 in the win. The Energy host Idaho on Fri, Dec. 30 before hitting the road after the New Year for a Jan. 6-7 trip to Sioux Falls.
5th last week
Tulsa won its only game since last week's Power Rankings were released, recording a tight 85-83 victory over Erie on Dec. 23 and moving one slot up in the Rankings. Marcus Lewis posted his fourth double-double of the season with 25 points and 15 rebounds for the 66ers, while Brady Morningstar chipped in with 20 points in the win. Tulsa now faces Idaho (Dec. 29) and Texas (Dec .30) to finish out the calender year.
1st last week
The combination of the Power Rankings Curse and the loss of several key performers to NBA training camps (and one, Jamaal Tinsley, to an NBA team -- the Utah Jazz) was too much for the D-Fenders, who now hope the return of Elijah Millsap, Zach Andrews and Courtney Fortson will help them climb back up the Western Conference standings and the Power Rankings. LA begins with games at Erie (Dec 29) and Fort Wayne (Dec 30), before hosting Golden State rival Bakersfield Jam on Jan 4.
-----6th last week
Springfield has dropped two straight games, including today's (Dec 29) 105-100 matinee loss at Austin. JamesOn Curry and L.D. Williams each scored 22 points in the loss to the Toros, who currently sit atop these Power Rankings. Curry, Williams and the Armor get another shot at Austin as they face the Toros again tomorrow (Dec 30).
-----7th last week
Rio Grande Valley split a pair of games with Bakersfield last week, including a 127-104 victory at State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas. Stanley Asumnu and Lee Humphrey each scored a game-high 28 points for the Vipers, while Julian Sensley chipped in with 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Rio Grande Valley plays at Texas and Maine this week before hosting Dakota for a pair of games after the New Year.
11th last week
Canton have won three-straight games to get over the .500 mark and move up the Power Rankings into eighth place. Leading scorer Tyrell Biggs scored 20 points in a Dec 27 victory over Maine, while teammate Keith McCleod returned from training camp with the Utah Jazz to pour in a season-high 23 points and dish out five assists for the Charge. Canton host Maine and Erie prior to a New Year's Day contest at Fort Wayne.
12th last week
Reno won two-of-three games against Idaho to jump a few spots in the Power Rankings, sparked by the superlative play of point guard Blake Ahearn, who returned from training camp with the L.A. Clippers to score 35 points and dish out seven assists in a 120-98 Dec 26 victory over the Stampede. The Bighorns travel for a two-game tilt against Bakersfield, before returning after the New Year to host Fort Wayne Jan 3-4.
9th last week
Dakota dropped two games to Springfield last week and hope to get back on the winning track as they host the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Fri, Dec 30 and on Sat, Dec 31 for a New Year's Eve match. Edwin Ubiles returned from training camp with the Golden State Warriors to score 24 points, grab seven rebounds and dish out three assists in over 41 minutes of action for the Wizards in a 108-103 loss to the Armor last Friday.
-----11th last week
Idaho split a pair of games against Reno since the last Power Rankings, maintaining its hold on 11th place. Tony Bobbitt (28 points), Seth Tarver (25 points) and former Boston Celtic Antoine Walker (21 points, including three three-pointers) led the way in the 122-112 victory at the Reno Events Center on Dec 23. The Stampede play four straight games on the road leading up to the NBA D-League Showcase on Jan 9.
15th last week
Sioux Falls went 2-2 over the past week, including an overtime 103-99 Christmas Day victory over the Springfield Armor. D-League Performer of the Week Anthony Mason Jr scored six of his 22 points for the Skyforce in overtime, to spark the victory. Sioux Falls has two big games at the local rival Dakota Wizards on Fri, Dec 30 and Sat, Dec 31, before the Skyforce host a pair of games against the Iowa Energy after the New Year.
-----13th last week
Erie snapped a two-game losing streak with a 109-94 victory over Fort Wayne on Dec 28. Center Chris Daniels returned from training camp with the Los Angeles Lakers to score 15 points, grab seven rebounds and block two shots for the BayHawks, who also got 17 points and 10 rebounds from St. John's product D.J. Kennedy. Erie next travels to Canton for a New Year's Eve contest.
8th last week
Fort Wayne is mired in a three game losing streak which has also seen them slide several spots in this week's Power Rankings. Walker Russell has returned from training camp with the Detroit Pistons to once again lead the way for the Mad Ants, scoring 24 and 22 in his first two games back in the D-League. Fort Wayne hosts the L.A. D-Fenders on Friday night and the Canton Charge on New Year's Day.
14th last week
Maine went 1-2 in the past week, dropping one slot in the Power Rankings. Reinforcements are on hand, however, as former Boston Celtic Ricky Davis has agreed to join the Red Claws in an attempt to make an NBA return. Guard Courtney Pigram is averaging over 22 points per game for Maine, which hosts Rio Grande Valley on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.
-----16th last week
The bad news for Texas is that they still occupy the bottom of the D-League standings and Power Rankings, but things are looking up for the Legends as they have won two consecutive games against strong competition -- the LA D-Fenders, and they've just signed an older local guy who has some excellent hoops experience. Texas faces Rio Grande Valley and a pair of games against Tulsa in the upcoming week.