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Weekend Wrap: Dec. 2-4
Notes from the calm before the storm.
Donald Sloan (left) and Jake Anderson did battle twice this weekend, as Erie and Iowa split a pair of games.
Dick Carlson/NBAE via Getty Images
A whole lot's about to change.
Over the next few weeks, the NBA Development League is going to be a busy place. With NBA training camps about to start, dozens of players are expected to find their ways onto NBA training camp rosters. Some will stick, some will head back to their D-League rosters. And to make room for all the movement, NBA D-League teams are now temporarily allowed to keep 12 players on the roster until seven days after the start of training camps...which means that if you're taking notes, you should probably use pencil.
So, before the madness descends, let's take a deep breath and look back at what last weekend had in store for us, with the NBA D-League season now 10 days old.
Performance of the WeekendMaine Red Claws point guard Kenny Hayes scored 32 points, dished out six assists and pulled down five rebounds in the Red Claws' win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Sunday, leading Maine to its first victory of the season. After starting only four games for Maine last year, Hayes has already started three of the Red Claws' first four games of the year, playing 46 minutes in Sunday's win to bring his season average to 39.8 mpg -- up from a 19.1 mpg total in 2010-11.
Runner-UpDakota swingman Edwin Ubiles notched a near-triple-double in the Wizards' 97-92 loss to the Idaho Stampede on Friday night, scoring 18 points with nine rebounds and eight assists.
The Jarrid Famous Award for Early-Season Domination from a Third-Round Draft PickJarrid Famous: Thirty-seven players were picked before Famous was in the 2011 NBA Development League Draft powered by Cisco WebEx. Right now, there's not a single more efficient player (who's played three games or more) in the entire NBA D-League. After adding a great deal of strength in the offseason, the big man out of South Florida has been on a rampage through his first six games in the D-League, stringing together five straight double-doubles to open the year (including 19 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday against Erie) before pulling down "only" seven in a 12-point effort against the BayHawks on Sunday.
As Seen on TVn a nationally televised game on NBA TV, the L.A. D-Fenders took down the Sioux Fall Skyforce, 107-96, on Friday night. On a night when L.A. had six scorers in double-figures, Elijah Millsap led the way with 21 points, chipping in seven rebounds, six assists and five steals while he was at it. Jamaal Tinsley led the D-Fenders in assists (7), while Charles Garcia, who's now third in the league in scoring (24.8 ppg), led the Skyforce in scoring for the third straight game.
They Ain't Free When You MissSkyforce forward Charles Garcia went 9-for-18 from the free-throw line on Friday night, which made him 15-for-32 over his last two games and 25-for-50 to start the season. In Saturday night's rematch against the D-Fenders, he came back and hit 12-for-14 from the charity stripe, which brought his season free throw percentage to 57.8 percent. His field goal percentage? 59.6 percent -- second in the league for players averaging at least 13 shots a game.
This Week's Reason to SmileBakersfield Jam center Brian Butch -- who missed the entire 2010-11 season when his kneecap dislodged into his mid-thigh -- looks to be fully healthy again. Through four games, the 6-11 Wisconsin product (and 2010 NBA D-League All-Star MVP) is second in the league in rebounding (12.5 boards per game) and 15th in scoring (19.8 ppg). He brings a unique skill set to the Jam, including a proclivity for bombing threes -- and, to his credit, making them, too: He's attempted almost seven threes a game, hitting 44 percent of them.
First Things FirstThe Texas Legends and Canton Charge both picked up their first wins of the season -- and, in the case of Canton, the first win in team history -- over the weekend, by beating each other on consecutive nights. First, the Legends rode Lawrence Hill's 17 points and 10 rebounds to pick up a 101-88 win on Friday, a night when uber-rebounder Jamal Sampson sat out with a sprained ankle. On Saturday, Canton got 24 points and nine rebounds from Tyrell Biggs to pick up the first win in the Alex Jensen (and Being-In-Canton) era.
Red Claws Clinch No. 1, TooAfter three games of bright spots -- like rookie Chris Wright's 29 points in Saturday's loss -- and bad endings, the Red Claws put everything together on Sunday, holding the Mad Ants to 36-percent shooting from the floor and getting 32 points from Kenny Hayes in a win over Fort Wayne.
Back to RealityThe Bakersfield Jam took their first loss of the season on Sunday, when Rio Grande rolled to a 118-95 win to send the Jam to 3-1 on the year. Bakersfield, a team absolutely bursting with NBA prospects, is back in action on Thursday, when the Idaho Stampede come to town.
Lucky No. 7Seven Rio Grande Valley Vipers scored in double-figures in that game, led by Stanley Asumnu's 20 points off the bench.