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NBA D-League Power Rankings: February 8, 2011

by Matthew Brennan, NBA

February 8, 2011: The Power Rankings are back for another week as we head towards the All-Star break. Rio Grande Valley takes over the top spot having now won 15 of their last 17 games, while Iowa, Tulsa, and Erie are not far behind.

The Vipers won three straight on the road after splitting four games with the Energy. Now sporting a record of 14-2 since January 1, they visit Austin for two games this week. Richard Roby is off to a good start to February with 18.0 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
The Energy took the first two games of the a four-game homestand with Dakota heading to town for two games this weekend. Chicago Bulls forward James Johnson has posted 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 4.5 assists in six games on assignment to the Energy.
The 66ers have dropped two of three since their long winning streak ended at 14 games. They'll look to get back on the right track when the Utah Flash visit for two games this weekend. Forward Larry Owens has returned to the team after two ten-day contracts with the San Antonio Spurs.
The BayHawks swept three games on the road to increase their current winning streak to five games. They are back home this week to host New Mexico three straight times. Guard Blake Ahearn got off to a slow start since returning to Erie but he's heating up in February with 21.6 points over his last five games.
The Bighorns are winners of five straight games with the struggling Mad Ants coming into town this weekend before the team gets over a week off. The Bighorns do lose some firepower due to Steve Novak's call-up to the Spurs and Jeremy Lin's recall by the Golden State Warriors. The pair combined for 38 points on 13-17 shooting in Friday's win over Idaho.
The Jam swept Springfield in convincing fashion and will prepare for a three-game homestand against the Texas Legends starting Friday. Derrick Byars put up 43 points in Saturday's win on his way to earning NBA D-League Performer of the Week honors.
The Legends, winners of five of their last seven games, head west this weekend to play Bakersfield three times. Guard Antonio Daniels is averaging 9.3 assists since returning from injury in mid-January.
The Flash have dropped three in a row and five of their last seven. They have a tough road trip ahead with two games in Tulsa before playing 11 of their next 14 games at home. Guard Kevin Kruger has returned to the team from an injury and scored 14 points in Monday's loss to Rio Grande Valley.
The Wizards enter Tuesday's game with Idaho on a season-high four-game winning streak. If they win tonight they'll be tested to keep it going with a weekend trip to Iowa, who has beaten the Wizards in all six meetings this season. Center Chris Johnson is back with the team after a GATORADE Call-Up to the Trail Blazers.
The Toros were blown out at home by Erie on Saturday for their third straight loss. Spurs first-round pick James Anderson has been reassigned and should be in action for the team's home series against Rio Grande Valley. The Toros are 2-2 against the Vipers this season with the home team winning every game.
The Thunderbirds, losers of three straight, play their next five games on the road starting with three in Erie. The Thunderbirds, 5-11 on the road this season, picked up veteran forward Kevin Lyde from the Skyforce last week in exchange for guard Dominique Coleman.
The Stampede were swept at home against Reno and have lost five of their last seven. A three-game trip to the Dakota is on the horizon starting with the Wizards on Tueday night. Portland's Armon Johnson is averaging 14.5 points and 5.0 rebounds after his first four games on assignment.
The Ants fell in Fort Wayne on Saturday for their eighth loss in their last ten games. Despite the struggles, they are still in contention for a playoff spot and will go on the road this weekend to face Reno. Guard Walker Russell is doing all he can to add some more wins, averaging 21.2 points and 7.5 assists over the last ten games while shooting better than 50 percent from the field.
The Red Claws were swept in Dakota over the weekend, adding to their league high 14 road losses. They visit Sioux Falls and Springfield this week before returning hom to face the Armor twice more. Rookie guard Avery Bradley was recalled by the Celtics on Monday after averaging 17.1 points, 5.2 assists, and 3.0 steals in nine games with Maine.
The Armor were swept by Bakersfield on Saturday to extend their current losing streak to six games. They face rival Maine for the next three games, with the first taking place in Springfield on Thursday. Forward Craig Brackins was recalled by Philadelphia on Sunday and is averaging 19.9 points and 9.1 rebounds with one potential assignment stint remaining.
The Skyforce defeated Fort Wayne on Saturday and will look to start their first winning streak of the season if they can get past Maine on Tuesday. Next on the slate, Idaho visits this weekend as part of six straight home games. Dexter Pittman remains on assignment from the Heat and is averaging 14.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.