D-League Power Rankings: March 5, 2008
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE/Getty Images
by Matthew Brennan, D-League.com
The Idaho Stampede remain atop the D-League Power Rankings for a third week while holding the league's best record at 26-9. Idaho split two games in Los Angeles last week against the D-Fenders, who remain their closest competition in both the West Division and for the league's best record. The Stampede are currently 2.5 games ahead of Los Angeles as the D-League season heads into March. The Utah Flash are another 5.5 games behind the D-Fenders in third place.
In the Southwest Division, the Austin Toros have tied Los Angeles for the league's second best record at 23-11 and lead the Colorado 14ers by two games for the division lead. Colorado, which has lost some key contributors to GATORADE Call-Ups and other defections, just snapped a seven-game winning streak. The Tulsa 66ers are right behind in third place with a 20-15 record, which places them square in the hunt for a playoff spot.
In the Central Division, the Dakota Wizards have regained first place with a 21-16 record, although they have only won three of their last ten games. The Sioux Falls Skyforce were briefly in first place but have dropped one game behind the Wizards after dropping two of their last three games. The Iowa Energy are three games below .500 but can still be a factor in the division as they trail by only four games and have recently added three NBA-assigned players to the roster.
|TEAM (LAST WK)||REC.||BREAKDOWN|
|1||Idaho (1)||26-9||The Stampede split their showdown with the D-Fenders in Los Angeles, and continue to hold a 2.5 game lead in the West Division. This week they will play three home games in four days, including tonight's matchup against the Austin Toros. Idaho fell to Austin on the road back on December 15, their last loss before embarking on their D-League record 18-game winning streak.|
|2||Los Angeles (2)||23-11||The D-Fenders fell to Idaho in their first meeting at STAPLES Center, but roared back to claim a 115-98 victory over the Stampede on Sunday. Brian Chase was named D-League Performer of the Week after scoring 39 points in the win. The D-Fenders will remain in Los Angeles this week as they host Iowa and Anaheim.|
|3||Austin (3)||23-11||The Toros had traded for Bakersfield's Andre Barrett last week, but his stay was a short one as the Clippers made him a GATORADE Call-Up. Austin suffered another blow when leading scorer Keith Langford left the team, but still has plenty of firepower and a 2.0 game lead in the Southwest Division after winning their last three games. The Toros visit Idaho tonight before playing four straight games in Albuquerque.|
|4||Colorado (5)||22-14||The 14ers extended their winning streak to seven games before losing to Tulsa on Saturday. They trail Austin by two games in the Southwest Division and will play two games in Rio Grande Valley over the weekend. This will be the fourth and fifth meeting between the 14ers and the Vipers in the past month, with Colorado leading the season series by a 6-0 margin. The 14ers continue to play with a depleted lineup as Billy Thomas and Kaniel Dickens were re-signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers and leading scorer and rebounder Elton Brown has left the team.|
|5||Dakota (7)||21-16||The Wizards had lost their division lead at this time last week but wrested back control of the Central Division from the Skyforce after winning two straight at home. Dakota will now play the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in six of their next seven games, with five of the matchups occuring in Bismarck. The Wizards swept the Mad Ants in Fort Wayne back in mid-December.|
|6||Tulsa (6)||20-15||The 66ers knocked off division rivals Colorado and Albuquerque and now return home to Tulsa on a three-game winning streak. The 66ers will face Sioux Falls in a crucial game on Saturday, as both teams will be battling for the final playoff spot if they cannot catch the leaders of their respective divisions. Right now Tulsa is separated from Austin by 3.5 games in the Southwest Division.|
|7||Sioux Falls (4)||21-18||The Skyforce have dropped two out of three since they reached first place in the Central, and now stand one game behind the Dakota Wizards. After a double-digit loss in Fort Wayne on Sunday, the Skyforce will return to Indiana to face the Mad Ants on Thursday before heading to Tulsa. Kasib Powell was named D-League Co-Player of the Month after averaging 22.6 points in February.|
|8||Utah (8)||18-17||The Flash went to overtime to beat Anaheim in their only game of the week, and now stand eight games out of first place in the West with 15 left to play. The next two weeks will be a golden opportunity to make a run with all five games against either Idaho or Los Angeles. The Flash are 0-3 against the D-Fenders this season but defeated Idaho in their only meeting so far. Celtics rookie guard Gabe Pruitt will be back in Utah after being assigned for the third time this season.|
|9||Iowa (9)||16-19||The Energy started a long road trip on Sunday with a win in Albuquerque, as Miami Heat assignee Daequan Cook scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. This week Iowa will be working their way through the Golden State, visiting Anaheim tonight, Los Angeles on Friday and Bakersfield on Sunday. They are only four games out of first place in the Central so they can still challenge for the playoffs if they can string some more wins together.|
|10||Rio Grande Valley (11)||14-24||The Vipers have been off since February 26, but had won two of their last three games. They will return to action on Sunday when the Colorado 14ers visit for two games. The Vipers have not been able to beat Colorado this season in six tries, and will have two chances to avoid a season sweep. Desmon Farmer was named D-League Co-Player of the Month after averaging 26.8 points in February.|
|11||Fort Wayne (13)||13-21||The Mad Ants are coming off of a win over Sioux Falls on Sunday, and will play the Skyforce again on Thursday. Fort Wayne will then head to Dakota, with five of their next eight games on the schedule against the Wizards. Fort Wayne is 0-2 against the Wizards so far this season, and trails Dakota by 6.5 games in the Central Division.|
|12||Albuquerque (12)||13-21||The Thunderbirds have lost four straight games and trail Austin by ten games in the Southwest Division. They can gain some ground with four straight home games against the Toros starting on Saturday. The play of forward Kevin Pittsnogle has been a bright spot as he is averaging 22.7 points over his last three games.|
|13||Anaheim (10)||13-22||The Arsenal are coming off of five straight road games, compiling a 1-5 record. They will host the Iowa Energy tonight before embarking on another six-game trip. With 15 games remaining, Anaheim trails division leader Idaho by 13 games. Kedrick Brown, who leads all Arsenal players with 34 starts, is pacing the team with 15.3 points per game.|
|14||Bakersfield (14)||6-31||The Jam have lost seven straight, but will play the majority of their remaining games at home instead of on the road, where they have won only one game this season. Justin Reed has proven to be a solid pick-up for the Jam, averaging 28.5 points and 8.0 rebounds in his first two games since being acquired in a trade with Austin. Reed and the Jam will host Anaheim and Iowa this weekend.|