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NBA D-League Power Rankings: February 1, 2011

by Matthew Brennan, NBA

February 1, 2011: The Power Rankings return for the first week of February. Not much change at the top of the league, as Tulsa retains the top spot while Rio Grande Valley and Iowa flip-flop in second and third place. Expect more movement in the next few weeks as teams are starting to lose key players to GATORADE Call-Ups.

The 66ers' 14-game winning streak ended on Sunday with a three-point loss in Maine. They'll look to get started on a new streak with a home game against Utah on Friday followed by a visit to Texas. The Legends accounted for three of the 66ers' wins during their long streak. Guard Jerome Dyson has been on fire lately, earning Performer of the Week honors with 28.3 points over his last three games.
The Vipers' ten-game winning streak ended on Friday in Iowa, but they bounced right back with a quality road win against the Energy on Saturday. Now the Energy visit Texas for two games before the Vipers hit the road to New Mexico for the weekend. Houston has reassigned rookie guard Ish Smith, who averaged 12.8 points and 7.0 assists in his first stint in Rio Grande Valley.
The Energy split a pair of games with the Vipers, finishing January with an 8-3 record. Next they head to Rio Grande Valley to face the Vipers twice more before returning home for the weekend to face Sioux Falls and Utah. Forward Marqus Blakely is averaging 24.5 points in his first two games with the Energy since being traded from Bakersfield.
The BayHawks edged Maine on Friday in their only game of the week, finishing January with an 8-3 mark. They head to Texas this week to visit the Toros and the Legends, and then will slow down on the flying miles with only seven of their remaining 21 games on the road. Former call-up and All-Star Blake Ahearn had his best game of the season in Maine on Friday, pouring in 29 points with five three-pointers.
The Bighorns ended a four-game losing streak with a home sweep of Bakersfield over the weekend. Next on the schedule is a home game against Springfield followed by a trip to Idaho. Not counting the Showcase, the Bighorns are just 3-9 on the road this season and will need some more wins away from Reno to catch Tulsa and Rio Grande Valley in the West. NBA veteran Danny Green is averaging 15.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in his first three games since joining the team.
The Flash defeated Fort Wayne at home on Monday and closed out the month with wins in four of their last six games. They have a very tough road trip this weekend with visits to Tulsa and Iowa on the slate. To make things even tougher, the team will be without star guard Orien Greene, a GATORADE Call-Up to the New Jersey Nets earlier today.
With leading scorer Trey Johnson in the NBA, the Jam dropped two games by double-digits in Reno over the weekend. They are looking to bounce back with five straight home games starting with two visits from Springfield this weekend. With the trade of Blakely to Iowa, the Jam will now have three first-round picks in next year's NBA D-League Draft. Derrick Byars averaged 21.0 points and 8.5 rebounds against Reno and will be leaned on for more with Johnson in Toronto.
The Legends recovered from a 3-8 start to January by winning three straight to end the month. They visit New Mexico this week before a tough weekend homestand that has Tulsa and Erie coming to town. Antonio Daniels dished out 16 assists on Sunday, which is the best single-game total in the NBA D-League this season.
The Thunderbirds have lost six of their last eight games with Texas and Rio Grande Valley visiting the Santa Ana Star Center this week. New Mexico is 2-1 against Texas, but is looking for their first win in their fourth meeting with the Vipers. Guard Dar Tucker finished January with 21.1 points in 14 games.
The Toros finished an up and down month with a 5-7 January record. They take on some East Conference foes this week, traveling to Fort Wayne on Thursday before hosting Erie on Saturday. Spurs first-round pick James Anderson was recalled on Saturday after averaging 14.5 points in two NBA D-League games.
The Stampede got a lot better in January, winning eight games after posting just two wins over November and December. They host Reno for two games this weekend before playing seven of their next ten games on the road. Center Jermareo Davidson has been one of the NBA D-League's top players since moving into the starting lineup. He's averaging 18.1 points and 11.6 rebounds over his last eight games.
The Red Claws ended a rough month of January with a home win over Tulsa, snapping the 66ers' long winning streak. They head to the midwest this weekend for two games in Dakota, who beat the Red Claws by 23 points at home in their last meeting on January 7. Avery Bradley, on assignment from the Celtics, tied an NBA D-League single-game record with nine steals in Sunday's win over Tulsa. He's averaging 3.1 along with 15.3 points in seven games with the Red Claws.
The Wizards swept Sioux Falls over the weekend and will try to build momentum when Maine comes to town for two games. Guard Anthony Goods has been a find since being let go by Fort Wayne, averaging 15.4 points in 17 games for Dakota.
The Mad Ants fell to Utah on Monday night, their ninth loss in their last ten games. They host Austin on Thursday before traveling to Sioux Falls on Saturday in search of their fourth win against the Skyforce in 2010-11. The team picked up former Cornell star Ryan Wittman on Tuesday. The 6-6 guard was the Ivy League Player of the Year and an Honorable Mention All-America as a senior in 2010.
The Armor were swept by Tulsa and have lost three straight games, finishing January with a 4-9 record. Seven of nine games in February are on the road, starting with a trip to Reno on Wednesday. The team picked up NBA D-League veteran Tony Bobbitt on Monday. Bobbitt has averaged 13.3 points in 76 career NBA D-League games, including 19.4 in seven games with the Armor late last season.
The Skyforce dropped two games to Dakota over the weekend to finish January with a 1-10 record. They'll look for their first win in three tries against Iowa on Friday before returning home to face Fort Wayne on Saturday. Patrick Ewing Jr. averaged 13.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in his first two games after being traded from Reno.