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NBA D-League Power Rankings: December 7, 2010

by Matthew Brennan, NBA

December 7, 2010: The third edition of the NBA D-League Power Rankings for the 2010-11 season sees a return to the top spot by the Iowa Energy. The Energy finished the week tied for the league's best record at 7-1. The surging Texas Legends take the top spot on the strength of a five-game winning streak, while the Reno Bighorns fall to third after suffering their first loss of the season.

The Energy swept Sioux Falls before defeating Dakota for the fourth time this season and improving their record to 7-1, tied for best in the league. This week they host New Mexico for two games at the Wells Fargo Arena. Former NBA guard Kyle Weaver was on fire over the weekend, posting 31.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in his last two games.
The Legends are crushing the opposition, with their last three wins coming by double-digits. Next on the schedule is a road trip to Fort Wayne for two games. Dominique Jones is averaging 18.0 points in his first three games since he was assigned by the Mavericks.
The Bighorns were upset in Sioux Falls for their first loss of the season. They return home this weekend for two games with Rio Grande Valley before playing four of their last five in December on the road. The team is still waiting for more of an impact from Kings assigned player Hassan Whiteside, who has been held to just 5.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in his first three games with Reno.
The Mad Ants swept their New England road trip, but now face a new challenge with red-hot Texas coming to town for two games. Veteran point guard Walker Russell was named the NBA D-League Performer of the Week and is averaging 8.8 assists per game, good for second in the league.
The Flash have engineered a turnaround, winning four straight after dropping their first three games of the season. They host Erie on Tuesday before playing four straight on the road, part of ten of 12 on the road to start the season. NBA veteran Orien Greene has been red-hot to start the season and ranks among the league leaders with 23.8 points per game.
The Thunderbirds dropped a close game on Tuesday afternoon in Rio Grande Valley, and face the Vipers again on Wednesday before heading to Iowa in what looks like a brutal road trip. Orlando's Daniel Orton was recalled by the Magic after suffering a recurrence of knee trouble. He posted 10.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in two games with the Thunderbirds.
The Vipers won their second straight game on Tuesday, defeating New Mexico at home in an afternoon game. They face the Thunderbirds again on Wednesday before visiting Reno for two games on the weekend. 2009-10 GATORADE Call-Ups Garrett Temple and Antonio Anderson have joined the team, as well as NBA Draft pick Stanley Robinson.
After a 1-4 start, the Jam swept Idaho to build a three-game winning streak heading into the weekend's home meetings with struggling Dakota. The dynamic backcourt of Trey Johnson and Jeremy Wise is combining for 42.1 points per game with both players shooting over 50 percent from the field.
The BayHawks were swept in New Mexico and look to rebound on Tuesday night with a trip to Utah. They return home this weekend to host Maine for two games. First-round draft pick Ivan Johnson has been one of the league's most consistent performers early on, leading the team with 16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds.
The Red Claws beat Springfield on Sunday to snap a two-game losing streak, and now play four of their next six on the road starting with a visit to Erie on Friday. Former GATORADE Call-Up Mario West is averaging 18.0 points in his last three games since returning from an injury.
Springfield has parted ways with Nets guard Terrence Williams, recalled by New Jersey after averaging 28.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 10.7 assists in three games. Philadelphia's Craig Brackins remains on assignment and is averaging 20.3 points and 9.3 rebounds in three games. Losers of two straight, Springfield plays six of their next eight at home starting with two games against the Austin Toros this weekend.
The 66ers fell by double-digits to Texas and Rio Grande Valley over the weekend, and will look to rebound with a trip to Sioux Falls on Friday. NBA Draft pick Latavious Williams is back from an injury that sidelined him for the season's start and he's averaging 15.7 points and 10.7 rebounds after his first three games. Oklahoma City's Cole Aldrich averaged 7.8 points and 7.2 rebounds during his five-game stint on assignment to the 66ers.
The struggling Toros have dropped four straight after a 3-1 start, including big losses to Texas and Utah. They will try to get back in the right direction on a three-game road trip with visits to Sioux Falls and Springfield. One area to look for improvement is shooting, as the Toros are an ice-cold .432 from the field so far in 2010-11.
The Skyforce saw the return to action of Minnesota's Jonny Flynn on Friday, but his presence could not prevent a loss to Iowa. The Skyforce bounced back on Sunday with an upset of Reno and will look to build momentum with their next six games at Sioux Falls Arena.
The Wizards, off to a 1-6 start, need some wins and will look for a rebound out West with visits to Idaho and Bakersfield on the slate. First-round draft pick Chris Johnson has been a bright spot, posting 20.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks during his first seven NBA D-League games at the center spot.
The Stampede are still searching for their first win of the season after falling to Bakersfield three straight times, but help is on the way in the form of former NBA All-Star Antoine Walker. The forward is expected to join the team for Wednesday's home date against Dakota. The Stampede remain at home over the weekend with the Utah Flash coming to town.