Skyforce Scramble Earns Overtime Win
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These two NBA Development League teams cannot help but be tight. Every game between the Sioux Falls Skyforce and the Texas Legends this season has come down to that final two minutes and the execution in that crucial phase has meant the difference between winning and losing. Friday night it was Sioux Falls making the plays at the end to force overtime then pulling away in the extra session 106-101.
In perspective of the season series, it’s only fitting that overtime was the natural progression. When the teams met in Sioux Falls on December 8, the lead changed hands in the final minute. Game two on December 21 in Texas was tied until the final basket was scored with 3.9 seconds left. Both of the 2012 wins went to the Legends (11-9), so maybe the 2013 portion of the season will favor the Skyforce (12-10). The late game sequence in regulation involved a 6-point Sioux Falls comeback in the final 2.5 minutes completed with a Demetris Nichols baseline drive that missed, but Mike Davis tied it with a tip-in with 1.7 seconds left. The Skyforce maintained their momentum scoring the first 7 points in extra time.
Undoubtedly, the loss will sting for the Legends especially since they had a firm grasp on a possible victory. To add to the spice of the next installment on Saturday night is an influx of NBA caliber talent to the Skyforce roster. Donald Sloan who played two games on the road for the Teal before being called up to New Orleans completed his ten day service with the Hornets and should be in uniform tonight. The other roster gyrations include a quick trip to L.A. for Dexter Pittman to suit up for Miami against the Lakers Thursday, then returning to Sioux Falls Friday to put up 21 points and 12 rebounds and a few frequent flier miles. Nichols was the scoring leader for the Skyforce scoring 26 for the second consecutive outing. Leading the Legends was Chris Roberts with 24 points and Darius Rice contributed 17.
Tonight’s game carries significant weight on numerous fronts as the season reaches the halfway point. The Skyforce can complete a weekend home sweep for the first time this season. Plus, there are five games between these two teams this season and with an eye to the playoffs in mind, season series wins could become crucial as one more Texas win clinches the tiebreaker with Sioux Falls in that area. The Legends know that well as they were a fringe team last year for playoff contention so they realize how much weight a win in January can carry.