66ers Winning With Defense

Tulsa 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts and assistant Dale Osbourne have emphasized defense all season long.

The 66ers players have bought into those principles, which have led them to the semifinals of the 2011 D-League Playoffs.

In its past four games, Tulsa has held its opponents under 90 points. The 66ers closed out the regular season with two home victories against Dakota and completed a two-game sweep of the Texas Legends in the first round of the Playoffs.

The 66ers beat the Legends 94-83 in Frisco last Wednesday and finished off Texas with a 104-89 victory inside the Tulsa Convention Center on Friday.

The Legends’ 83-point output on Wednesday marked their lowest of the season. Tibbetts said the 66ers recent dominant defensive performances give the team momentum heading into the next round of the playoffs.

“I thought our defense in the first round against Texas was excellent,” Tibbetts said. “They are a great team and have proven this season they can score a lot of points. I thought we did a great job of playing as one unit and thought we really affected their offensive execution.”

Tulsa held Texas to 64-160 (.400) from the field in their first round series. The 66ers are leading all teams in the playoffs in opponent points per game (86) and opponent turnovers (17). They are also leading in scoring differential at +13 points per game.

Center Cole Aldrich, who is averaging 3.5 blocks per game in the playoffs, said it is imperative for the 66ers to continue to defend well if they want to continue their run in the playoffs.

“We have to continue to defend,” Aldrich said. “As a team, I think we have played really well. Defense is the main thing and we have to continue to put the effort in every day. It is a league where if you get stops it is really going to benefit you on the offensive end.”