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NBA D-League Power Rankings: December 14, 2010

by Matthew Brennan, NBA

December 14, 2010: The fourth edition of the NBA D-League Power Rankings for the 2010-11 season has Iowa Energy remaning in first with a league-best 8-2 record. The top three remains the same as last week with Texas and Reno following in second and third.

The Energy fell to New Mexico on Sunday, snapping a four-game winning streak. They host Erie on Friday before visiting Tulsa on Sunday night. Suns forward Gani Lawal is now the longest tenured NBA player still on assignment, averaging 11.8 rebounds and 6.6 rebounds in nine games.
The Legends' five-game winning streak ended on Saturday in Fort Wayne, but they bounced back on Sunday with a win to split the series. Texas now returns home to Frisco to face Tulsa before traveling to struggling Dakota this weekend. Former NBA lottery pick Joe Alexander leads the league in rebounding with 10.5 per game.
The Bighorns split a home series with Rio Grande Valley and have lost two out of three after starting the season with six straight wins. They hit the road this week for two games in New Mexico and a visit to Austin. Veteran guard Aaron Miles has been a big preseason pickup for the Bighorns and leads the league with 9.8 assists per game.
The BayHawks easily swept aside Maine to extend their winning streak to three games. Next on the slate is a tough stretch of road games in Iowa and Fort Wayne. The key to BayHawks success so far has been a suffocating defense that is limiting opponents to only 90.7 points per game.
The Jam took care of struggling Idaho and Dakota to win all five games of a homestand. Next they hit the road to Texas to face Austin and Rio Grande Valley and look to improve an 0-2 road record. Trey Johnson, the NBA D-League Performer of the Week, is currently on top of the league leaders with 25.3 points per game.
The Mad Ants lost to Texas on Sunday, ending a three-game winning streak. They visit Tulsa this week before playing six straight at home. Former Iowa forward Marvin Phillips has been a big preseason pick for the team. He currently ranks fifth in the league with 9.5 rebounds and leads all players with a .957 free-throw percentage.
The Vipers split a pair of games in Reno, and will move forward without Patrick Patterson after his recall by the Rockets on Monday. Guard Jerel McNeal scored 40 points in Saturday's win over Reno, registering the highest single-game total in the NBA D-League this season. Next up for the Vipers are four straight home games, starting with two visits from Bakersfield this weekend.
The Thunderbirds won in Iowa on Sunday to avoid losing all four games of their road trip. Next up on the schedule are two home games against Reno. Forward Shane Edwards is one of the most improved players in the NBA D-League in his second season with New Mexico. The Arkansas-Little Rock product has raised his scoring average from 12.7 points to 20.0 points and improved his rebounding from 5.3 boards to 7.0 per game.
The Toros swept Springfield and return to Austin as winners of three straight games. They host Bakersfield and Reno this week before 11 days off. On a very balanced team, former Duke forward Lance Thomas has emerged as the team's top scorer with 13.5 points along with 6.3 rebounds. Thomas is one of seven current members of the Toros averaging double-figure scoring.
The Flash dropped games to Erie and Idaho by double-digits before rebounding with a win in Idaho to get back to .500. Utah visits Sioux Falls this weekend before playing four straight at home leading into the Showcase. Jazz training camp player Ryan Thompson returned to the team after missing the start of season due to injury. He is averaging 10.5 points after his first two games.
The 66ers had an easy win in Sioux Falls in their only game of the week. The schedule gets much busier with a visit to Texas before home games against Fort Wayne and Iowa. Zabian Dowdell, one of three 66ers to start all eight games, is one of the league's top guards with 17.8 points, 5.0 assists, and 3.0 steals per game.
The Red Claws were never in the game in two lopsided losses in Erie over the weekend. Now they return home to face Idaho twice and visit Springfield. Losers of four of five in December, Maine has been sparked by rookie Tiny Gallon, who leads the team with 16.6 points and 9.0 rebounds.
The additions of Antoine Walker and Trail Blazers rookie Luke Babbitt helped Idaho gain their first two wins over the week, but it ended on a sour note with a home loss to Utah. Idaho now heads east to visit Maine and Springfield this weekend. Walker is averaging 10.7 points and 6.3 rebounds off the bench after the first three games of his Stamped tenure.
The Armor have now lost four straight after two narrow losses to Austin over the weekend. They remain at home this weekend with Maine and Idaho visiting town. 76ers forward Craig Brackins was recalled after Sunday's game, leaving the Armor roster free of NBA players for now.
The Skyforce dropped two games at home this week before Saturday's game with Tulsa was snowed out. They remain at home this week with the Utah Flash visiting for the only time this season. Timberwolves guard Jonny Flynn was recalled for a second time after scoring eight points and passing for 12 assists in Friday's loss to Tulsa. Saturday's game with the 66ers was rescheduled to February.
The Wizards were swept on their road trip and have now lost five straight. They host Texas this weekend for two games before playing nine of their next 11 away from Bismarck. The team may be struggling, but veteran Renaldo Major is having a good offensive year, averaging a career-high 19.1 points for Dakota.