A fast start by the visitors was met with a rapid response as the Sioux Falls Skyforce dumped the Grand Rapids Drive 106-89 on Sunday at the Sanford Pentagon.  

Some years ago there was a scene from the movie “The Untouchables” where the Jim Malone character played by Sean Connery tells Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness, “He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue.”  Grand Rapids (10-7) jumped out to a 19-4 lead during the first 5 minutes of the contest.  With 4 straight wins in tow including the last two over Sioux Falls (9-9) on the home floor in Michigan, the pickings were ripe for a 5th.

Then Tyler Johnson (highlights available above) and key early substitutions happened.   The guard from Fresno State elevated his game and his team’s spirit by being the keystone of a 24-0 run that put the Skyforce up for good.  Fuquan Edwin (see below), Henry Walker and Khem Birch each did their part to disrupt defensively and put the Drive’s offense in neutral.  The lead eventually reached 23 during the second quarter before the Drive fought back to single digits in the final stanza.  However, a 16-2 Skyforce burst in the closing moments quelled any potential uprising.

Johnson finished as high scorer with 25 counters plus 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.  For Edwin his log reads 22 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals.  Walker posted 20 points and 3 rebounds in only 23 minutes of play as he continues his recovery process.  Birch scored just 8 points, but contributed 6 blocks and 6 rebounds while adeptly patrolling the lane.  Not to be forgotten a near triple-double for Miami Heat assignee Shabazz Napier (8 points, team high 7 rebounds and 7 assists).

Grand Rapids had their own NBA product in the Detroit Pistons’ Spencer Dinwiddy who broke out with a fine effort of 22 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.  Other standout numbers for the Drive includes Adonis Thomas (20 points), Brandon Fields (14 points, 9 rebounds) and Willie Reed (11 points, 9 rebounds).

Next for Grand Rapids is a return home for a Wednesday contest with the Iowa Energy.  Meanwhile Sioux Falls has to wait until Friday to face the Idaho Stampede.