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NBA D-League Power Rankings: December 28, 2010

by Matthew Brennan, NBA

December 28, 2010: The final edition of Power Rankings for 2010 has a new team in first as the Fort Wayne Mad Ants take over the top spot. The Mad Ants have won four straight to take over the lead in the Eastern Conference. 11 of the 16 teams are within two games of the top of their division, so these rankings could look totally different by the time next week rolls around.

The Mad Ants defeated Iowa on Sunday to extend their winning streak to four games. They host the Energy again on Tuesday before Maine visits for two games over the weekend. Oliver Lafayette, who recently returned to the team after earning a GATORADE Call-Up to the Celtics last season, was named the NBA D-League Performer of the Week after averaging 25.5 points in his last two games.
The Bighorns did not play over the last week and continue to lead the Western Conference with an 8-4 record. They return to action on Tuesday night with Tulsa visiting with Bakersfield and Idaho also on the schedule for this week. Jeremy Lin will make his Reno debut on Tuesday after being assigned by Golden State earlier in the day.
The Legends knocked off Rio Grande Valley twice in row and will try to extend their winning streak with Tulsa and New Mexico visiting this weekend. Forward Joe Alexander averaged 28.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in the two games against the Vipers, and leads the league with 10.5 rebounds per game.
The Energy lost in Fort Wayne on Sunday and have dropped four of their last six games. They play their next eight away from Des Moines starting with another game in Fort Wayne on Tuesday. Othyus Jeffers is one of only two players ranked in the top ten in both scoring and rebounding. He is fifth with 19.6 points and tenth with 8.6 rebounds.
The 66ers won in Idaho on Sunday and are now winners of five of their last six. They continue their road trip this week with visits to Reno, Austin, and Texas. The 66ers are employing a balanced attack with their leading scorer, Zabian Dowdell, ranking only 24th overall in the league with 16.4 points per game.
The BayHawks cruised past Dakota on Monday for their fifth win in their last seven games. They face Dakota again on Tuesday before visiting Maine and Springfield towards the end of the week. Samardo Samuels, assigned by Cleveland on Monday, scored 12 points with four rebounds in his Erie debut against Dakota.
The Flash have won three straight but did not play over the past week. They return to action on Saturday with a home game against Bakersfield. Pape Sy, the 53rd pick in the NBA Draft, will make his Utah debut after being assigned by Atlanta on Monday.
The Thunderbirds return to action after over a week off when they visit Bakersfield on Tuesday. Forward Shane Edwards has been one of the most improved players in the league this season, averaging 19.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in his second campaign with the Thunderbirds.
The Jam, 6-2 in December, return to action this week after ten days off with home games against New Mexico and Reno. Los Angeles Lakers rookie Devin Ebanks will make his debut against New Mexico after getting assigned on Monday. He is the first Laker assigned to the NBA D-League since Sun Yue in the 2008-09 season.
The Toros have a few more days off until they host Tulsa on Thursday followed by a quick trip to New Mexico on Friday. Forward Marcus Cousin, one of only two Toros to start all 13 games, leads the team with 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds.
The Vipers fell in overtime on Monday for their second loss in two days to the Texas Legends. Now losers of three of their last four, the Vipers will look to turn things around with struggling Sioux Falls visiting on Friday and Saturday. 2009-10 NBA D-League All-Star Mustafa Shakur is starting to heat up for Rio Grande Valley, averaging 21.0 points over his last three games.
The Red Claws lost to Iowa in the final seconds on Thursday, ending a three-game winning streak. They return to action Tuesday with another game against Springfield followed by a home game against Erie and a weekend trip to Fort Wayne. Forward DeShawn Sims had his best game of the season with 33 points and 14 rebounds on Thursday against Iowa. He leads the team with 17.5 points and 9.0 rebounds.
The Armor fell in Fort Wayne on Saturday, dropping their record in December to 2-6. They visit Maine on Tuesday before returning home to host Erie for two games over the New Year. Rookie forward Gavin Edwards, who played for the Suns Summer League team after a career at UConn, has joined the team and scored 11 points and grabbed ten rebounds in his debut on Saturday.
The Wizards defeated Sioux Falls on Saturday to extend their winning streak to three games, but fell to Erie on Monday to fall to 4-10. Dakota returns to action against Erie on Tuesday before hosting Iowa over the weekend. Forward DeMarre Carroll has made a big impact in his first four games since being assigned by Memphis, averaging 21.0 points and 8.3 rebounds.
The Skyforce fell at home to Dakota and are now losers of five straight. Their next six games are away from home starting with a trip to Rio Grande Valley to start the new year. With the departure of Dexter Pittman back to the Miami Heat, Anthony Mason Jr. is now the team's top scorer with 14.7 points per game.
The Stampede fell at home to Tulsa on Sunday, falling to a league-worst 2-12. Next they visit Reno for two games over the weekend in search of their first road win of the season. Antoine Walker is currently averaging 16.0 points and 6.3 rebounds as he seeks a return to the NBA.