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NBA D-League Power Rankings: January 25, 2011

by Matthew Brennan, NBA

January 25, 2011: The Power Rankings are back for the third week in January. Threre are some very hot teams in the league right now, led by the number one Tulsa 66ers. Tulsa has won 12 games in a row, while the Rio Grande Valley Vipers are not far behind with ten straight. The Iowa Energy are also enjoying a very good stretch, winning 10 of their last 12 games.

The 66ers knocked off Reno and Texas at home to extend their streak to 12 games while also overtaking Iowa for the league's best current record. Next up is an eastern road trip to Springfield and Maine as the team vies to finish January undefeated. Guard Elijah Millsap, the only player in Tulsa who has started in all 26 games, leads the team with 14.7 points per game.
The Energy swept Reno over the weekend and hold a two-game lead over the Erie BayHawks in the East. Next on the slate is two home games against Rio Grande Valley. The two teams made a trade on Monday with NBA second-round pick Stanley Robinson heading to Iowa in exchange for forward Connor Atchley.
The Vipers won in Dakota over the weekend to extend their winning streak to ten games. They'll be tested to keep it going with two visits to Iowa next on the schedule. The team also has some holes to fill at the guard spots with Mustafa Shakur's call-up to the Wizards and Ish Smith's recall back to the Houston Rockets.
The BayHawks swept Fort Wayne over the weekend and travel to Maine on Friday, their only game on the schedule until February 5. After a 39-point outing on Saturday, Ivan Johnson is now averaging 25.4 points in the month of January. The team will now be without guard Garrett Temple, who was signed by the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday for his fourth career call-up.
The Jam won in Springfield on Saturday and are now winners of four of their last five. They'll stay on the road this weekend with two trips to Reno on the schedule. The team will have a big void in the lineup with Trey Johnson, the NBA D-League's leading scorer, reportedly close to signing with the Toronto Raptors.
The Bighorns were swept by Iowa and will need to defeat Austin on Wednesday afternoon to avoid going 0-4 on their road trip. After that they return home to host a Bakersfield team that has been playing well lately. Guard Marcus Landry has hit 38 three-pointers in January and is averaging 19.8 points for the month, up from 16.2 per game in December. The team also made a roster move on Tuesday, dealing Patrick Ewing Jr. to Sioux Falls for former NBA guard Danny Green. Green averaged 25.5 points last season in two games on assignment to Erie from the Cavaliers.
The Flash won their last two home games by double-digits and now head to Texas for a three-game road trip against the Legends and the Toros. Atlanta Hawk assigned player Pape Sy is averaging 13.3 points and shooting .633 from the field since being inserted into the starting lineup over the last four games.
The Thunderbirds scored a season-high 128 points and snapped a four-game losing streak in Sioux Falls on Sunday. They'll stay on the road to face the Toros and the Legends this week and look to stay undefeated against both teams. Former Maine guard Abdulai Jalloh has moved into the starting lineup and scored a season-high 32 points in Sunday's win.
The Legends fell to Maine on Monday night to drop their record in January to 3-8. They stay at home this week with two games against Utah followed by a visit from New Mexico. Veteran guard Antonio Daniels has returned to the team from injury and posted 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 9.7 assists in his first three games back.
The Toros were blown out in Utah on Saturday and have only won three of their last 11 games. They are at home for four games in the next five days beginning with a visit from Reno on Wednesday afternoon. Big man Marcus Cousin has been of the league's most efficient shooters in January, connecting on .627 (47-75) from the field and .875 (28-32) from the line.
The Stampede have won seven of their last ten games but are still bringing up the rear in the Western Conference. They host struggling Fort Wayne at Qwest Arena for two games this weekend. Former call-up Cedric Jackson is filling the boxscore with 14.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 8.3 assists since joining the team via trade on January 1.
The Armor have a chance to go .500 or better in January with a 5-6 mark, but they will have to sweep red-hot Tulsa. The 66ers visit Springfield on Thursday and Friday to close out the month for the Amor, who ended a three-game winning streak when they fell to Bakersfield on Saturday. Philadelphia's Craig Brackins has averaged 24.8 points in four games since returning to the team for a second assignment.
The Red Claws won in Texas on Monday night to end a five-game losing streak. They head back to Portland with two tough opponents on the weekend slate in Erie and Tulsa. Former Vipers call-up Antonio Anderson joined the team last week via a trade for Matt Janning and is averaging 5.0 points and 4.5 assists over his first two games.
The Mad Ants are tumbling down the standings in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. They are heading out west this weekend and face Idaho and Utah as they try to stop the skid. The Mad Ants, 3-8 as the road team this season, will be doing plenty of traveling over the second half of the season with no more than two straight home games left on the schedule. Forward Marvin Phillips continues to rank among the league's best rebounders, checking in at fourth with 10.0 per game.
The Wizards have lost four straight and will be without their starting center due to Chris Johnson's call-up to the Trail Blazers on Monday. They are at home for the next five games, starting with two visits from archrival Sioux Falls this weekend. Two of Dakota's seven wins have come at the expense of Sioux Falls this season.
The Skyforce edged New Mexico on Friday to snap their 13-game losing streak and make new head coach Mo McHone's debut a winning one. They visit Dakota this weekend with some help in the form of Patrick Ewing Jr, acquired via a trade on Tuesday for NBA D-League newcomer and former Cavalier Danny Green. Ewing is averaging 15.8 points and 8.4 rebounds this season.