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D-League Finals Preview

D-League Finals Preview
Apr 21, 2008, 01:43 pm
[lont]1. Idaho Stampede (37-14) @ 2. Austin Toros (31-20)[/lont]

Line

According to the computer, Austin enters the opening game as 6 point favorites.

Previous Meetings:
Austin won the season series 2-0

Dec 15 @Austin 127, Idaho 117
Mar 5 Austin 105, @Idaho 102

Team Stats

IDA points for 103.0
IDA points against 99.5

AUS points for 109.1
AUS points against 106.8

Records

IDA Home Record 23-4 .852
IDA Road Record 14-10 .583

AUS Home Record 20-5 .800
AUS Road Record 10-14 .417

Idaho Stampede


Starting Lineup
PG Randy Livingston (16.5 pts, 4.2 reb, 10.5 ast)
SG Roberto Bergersen (13.1, 2.9, 2.8)
SF Brent Petway (7.3, 3.9, 1.3)
PF Cory Violette (13.4, 7.1, 1.8)
C Jason Ellis (5.4, 5.1, 0.6)
Head Coach: Bryan Gates

Team Leaders (Season)
Points: Randy Livingston 16.5
Rebounds: Lance Allred* 10.0, Mouhamed Sene* 9.0, Cory Violette 7.1)
Assists: Randy Livingston 10.5
* No longer with team

Team Leaders (Last 10 Games)
Points: Randy Livingston 18.7
Rebounds: Jason Ellis 9.1
Assists: Randy Livingston 8.1

Key Losses
C Lance Allred (Cleveland Cavaliers)
C Mouhamed Sene (Injury)

Assigned Players
PF Josh McRoberts (Portland Trailblazers)

Players with NBA Experience
Randy Livingston, Luke Jackson

Austin Toros

Starting Lineup
PG Andre Barrett (18.4pts, 3.2reb, 8.3ast)
SG Kenton Paulino (5.6, 1.1, 1.0)
SF Darvin Ham (10.1, 5.5, 1.8)
PF Justin Bowen (13.1, 6.4, 1.2)
C Ian Mahinmi (16.8, 8.0, 1.3)
Head Coach: Quinn Snyder

Team Leaders (Season)
Points: Keith Langford* 24.6, Marcus Williams* 19.2, Andre Barrett 18.4
Rebounds: Ian Mahinmi 8.0
Assists: Andre Barrett 8.3
* No longer with team

Team Leaders (Last 10 Games)
Points: Ian Mahinmi 19.4
Rebounds: Ian Mahinmi 9.4
Assists: Andre Barrett 10.1

Key Losses
SF Marcus Williams (Clippers)
SG DerMarr Johnson (Spurs)
SG Keith Langford (Italy)

Assigned Players
Ian Mahinmi (Spurs)

Players with NBA Experience
Andre Barrett, Darvin Ham, Ian Mahinmi

Outlook:
The three game series kicks off tonight in Austin, before the final two games move to Boise as the 2008 D-League Champion is decided. Austin took both the match-ups between to the two teams in the regular season and gave Idaho one of their four home losses on the season. Idaho has held the best record in the league since early in the season, and these two teams provide some intriguing match-ups that should provide an exciting series.

The interesting matchups start right at the point guard slot, where Andre Barrett will play against veteran Randy Livingston. Both players have years of NBA experience under their belts, but their styles of play are very contrasting. Livingston plays as your true floor general and distributes as well as any point guard in the D-League. He constantly directs the Stampede players through their half-court sets, but can also score when needed to. Though past his prime physically, Livingston plays like a head coach on the floor and has been the Stampede’s MVP over the past two seasons.

Barrett plays better in a transition system, though he can make plays in the half-court on pick and rolls and by breaking down the defense before kicking the ball to the open man. Much more of a scorer than Livingston, he can pull up off the dribble anywhere on the court and has no problem getting to the rim in transition or the half-court. As a floor general, Barrett doesn’t run a team as effectively as his Stampede counterpart, but he can be quite effective as both a scorer and distributor. Though Barrett didn’t play for Austin in either of their wins over Idaho this season, he will be a key player in determining the outcome of the series.

At the wings, it would appear Idaho has a clear advantage entering the series. Luke Jackson can score a number of ways against D-League competition and has a deadly shooting stroke from the perimeter. Roberto Bergersen can also light it up from long range at times, but has struggled from the field in his last 4 games, going just 17 of 55 over that stretch. Austin lost two wings in DerMarr Johnson and Marcus Williams to the NBA towards the end of the season. Guard Kenton Paulino has great range on his jumper but can’t really create his own shot at this level. Josh Gross has played well offensively since he was acquired, but can be described as a liability on the defensive end of the floor.

Up front, center Ian Mahinmi has been the best center in the league this season, and it will be tough for Idaho to neutralize his impact without Lance Allred on the roster. Mahinmi didn’t appear in either of the Toros games against the Stampede in the regular season, so it may take Idaho some time to adjust to defending him in the post. Idaho brings NBA big man Josh McRoberts to counter Mahinmi, but the rookie struggles to defend the low post, and isn’t the type of player who can put the Spurs’ rookie in foul trouble either. To compliment McRoberts in the front court, Cory Violette provides hustle and rebounding along with solid offensive ability. Darvin Ham provides year of NBA experience next to Mahinmi, and played a big role in the Toros second round victory over Sioux Falls.

Off the bench, Justin Bowen will be relied upon for scoring and rebounding for Austin, while guard Mike Taylor is the key factor for the Stampede. Taylor has explosive scoring ability and can probably be described as the quickest player in the D-League, but he has a tendency to jump the passing lanes too often on defense which can lead to some easy cuts to the basket.

It should be a very exciting series to watch, even though both teams will miss some players who have moved on to the NBA. It speaks to the ability of the coaches of these teams that they still managed to compete despite large roster turnover. The new format of the D-League playoffs appears to be a success as well, and we look forward to an exciting game tonight.

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