Previewing the D-League Playoffs

Previewing the D-League Playoffs
Apr 13, 2008, 09:10 pm
5. Colorado 14ers (28-21) @ 4. Los Angeles D-Fenders

Previous Meetings:
Los Angeles won the season series 2-0
March 14 - Los Angeles 99, @Colorado 96
March 26 - @Los Angeles 101, Colorado 90

Team Stats
LAD points for 104.4
LAD points against 99.9

COL points for 109.2
COL points against 103.9

LAD Home Record 18-6 .750
COL Road Record 10-13 .435

Los Angeles D-Fenders

The D-Fenders are riding a four game losing streak heading in to the playoffs and have clearly been hurt by defections to Europe. The key loss for the D-Fenders comes in the form of Stephane Lasme (Miami Heat), who combined with McCoy, gave the team a tandem of defenders at the rim who would have made them the favorites to win the title. To get back on track, they will need strong guard play from Coby Karl, who has scored the ball effectively since his third and final return to the D-Fenders. Karl needs to cut down on turnovers in his role as the initiator of the triangle offense. Up front, Jelani McCoy still provides interior defense, but they need another big man to provide help-side protection at the rim. If Abdoulaye N’Diaye can stay out of foul trouble, his defense would be a great asset to the D-Fenders headed into the playoffs. Consistency will also been needed from small forward Sean Banks, who has struggled as of late despite ranking among the scoring leaders in the D-League this season. The NBA veterans on Colorado will provide a tough challenge for the D-Fenders, and they will need to be firing on all cylinders to beat the 14ers in this game.

Starting Lineup
PG Erick Craven (7.9pts, 3.1reb, 2.6 ast)
SG Coby Karl (17.3, 5.6, 4.4)
SF Sean Banks (21.9, 5.4, 3.1)
PF Brandon Wallace (8.0, 6.5, 3.0)
C Jelani McCoy (11.0, 7.9, 3.3)
Head Coach: Dan Panaggio

Team Leaders (Season)
Points: Sean Banks 21.9
Rebounds: Jelani McCoy 7.9
Assists: Brian Chase* 3.6, Jelani McCoy 3.3
* No longer with team

Team Leaders (Last 10 Games)
Points Sean Banks 20.9
Rebounds Jelani McCoy 9.3
Assists Jelani McCoy 4.8

Key Losses
SF Devin Green (Italy) 16.4pts, 6.4reb, 4.2ast
PG Brian Chase (Turkey) 16.5pts, 3.8reb, 3.6ast
PF Stephane Lasme (Miami Heat) 10.6pts, 7.5reb, 1.3ast

Assigned Players
Coby Karl (Lakers)

Players with NBA Experience
Jelani McCoy, Robert Whaley

Colorado 14ers

The 14ers seem to be peaking at the right time, winning their last six games to close the season. They are clearly helped by a stacked roster which includes many NBA veterans who now have had time to build chemistry as a team. Point guard Eddie Gill recently returned from the Seattle SuperSonics, and has NBA playoff experience under his belt. Billy Thomas can space the floor with his shooting and provides a steady presence on the defensive end. Kaniel Dickens ability to light it up from long range will also be an asset to the 14ers in the playoffs, and John Thomas has years of NBA playoff experience under his belt as well. NBA point guard Taurean Green starts next to Gill and provides a nice scoring punch in the back-court, and a number of solid role players including Justin Cage and Eric Osmundson can fill in off the bench. Lack of depth up front is the big concern for the 14ers, but they have a well balanced roster otherwise as well as a veteran minor league coach. If they can win in Los Angeles, it could provide the proper momentum they need to take home the 2008 championship.

Starting Lineup
PG Eddie Gill (7.9pts, 3.1reb, 2.6 ast)
SG Billy Thomas (16.2, 3.4, 3.8)
SF Kaniel Dickens (19.6, 5.3, 1.5)
PF John Thomas (13.2, 8.1, 1.2)
C Roderick Riley (10.5, 6.9, 0.5)
Head Coach: Joe Wolf

Team Leaders (Season)
Points: Elton Brown* 20.4, Kaniel Dickens 19.6
Rebounds: Elton Brown* 11.9, Rodrick Riley 6.9
Assists: Eddie Gill 8.5
* No longer with team

Team Leaders (Last 10 Games)
Points: Eddie Gill 19.4
Rebounds: Rodrick Riley 9.7
Assists: Eddie Gill 8.6

Key Losses
PF Elton Brown (Israel)

Assigned Players
Taurean Green (Denver)

Players with NBA Experience
Kaniel Dickens, Eddie Gill, Billy Thomas, John Thomas

6. Sioux Falls Skyforce (28-22) @ 3. Dakota Wizards

Previous Meetings:
Sioux Falls won the season series 7-3

December 9 - Dakota 115, @Sioux Falls 105
December 16 - Sioux Falls 96, @Dakota 90
January 9 - @Dakota 99, Sioux Falls 88
February 14 - @Sioux Falls 105, Dakota 102
February 17 - Sioux Falls 112, @Dakota 100
February 19 - @Sioux Falls 97, Dakota 95
February 25 - Sioux Falls 117, @Dakota 108
February 27 - @Dakota 116, Sioux Falls 106
March 28 - @Sioux Falls 124, Dakota 115
March 29 - @Sioux Falls 105, Dakota 103

Team Stats
DAK points for 107.8
DAK points against 105.8

SXF points for 105.0
SXF points against 104.1

DAK Home Record 17-7 .708
SXF Road Record 9-15 .375

Dakota Wizards

After losing a very solid group of guards over the course of the season, the Wizards struggled some at the end of the season, but won their final two games to win the division. They still have the strong front line of Carlos Powell, Rod Benson and Kevin Lyde that rivals any group they will face in the D-League playoffs. Recently added forward Andre Patterson could also help up front, particularly when it comes to rebounding. The challenge for Dakota will be their guard play. Blake Ahearn is collecting his paycheck from the Miami Heat these days, and Dontell Jefferson makes good money in Latvia. They feature scorer Tony Gipson and fellow guard David Bell in the backcourt. The Wizards struggled against the Skyforce in the season series, but must take advantage of Carlos Powell’s ability to create. This game will be an intense matchup featuring the two oldest rivals in the D-League. The home-court advantage may be enough to get it done for Dakota, but it will surely be a close game.

Starting Lineup
PG Tony Gipson (12.8pts, 2..6reb, 4.3ast)
SG David Bell (12.8, 3.4, 3.8)
SF Carlos Powell (22.3, 6.5, 4.8)
PF Rod Benson (13.4, 12.1, 1.2)
C Kevin Lyde (12.2, 7.7, 2.0)
Head Coach: Duane Ticknor

Team Leaders (Season)
Points: Carlos Powell 22.3
Rebounds: Rod Benson 12.1
Assists: Dontell Jefferson* 5.0, Carlos Powell 4.8
* No longer with team

Team Leaders (Last 10 Games)
Points: Carlos Powell 24.7
Rebounds: Rod Benson 11.8
Assists: Carlos Powell 5.1, Tony Gipson 5.1

Key Losses
PG Blake Ahearn (Miami Heat) 19.0pts, 2.0reb, 3.5ast
PG Maurice Baker (France) 18.2pts, 6.6pts, 4.5ast
SG Dontell Jefferson (Latvia) 17.0pts, 4.7reb, 5.0 ast

Assigned Players

Players with NBA Experience

Sioux Falls Skyforce

The Skyforce had a rough start to the season, but quickly turned things around behind D-league MVP Kasib Powell. Unfortunately for them, Powell now suits up for the Miami Heat, and their other talented forward Bobby Jones spends his time with the Nuggets these days. Coach Nate Tibbetts has done a great job with his squad this season, and could have very easily won the coach of the year award. Without Powell, they will need Chris Alexander to have a big game in order to neutralize the Dakota front line. In the backcourt, David Bailey and Elton Nesbitt have been consistently scoring the ball throughout the season, and they should have a clear advantage against Dakota in this area. Power forward Glen McGowan has also stepped up his play since he was acquired from Tulsa, but the Skyforce have a thin bench at this point. If their guards can control the tempo of the game, Sioux Falls will have a chance to pull out a tough road win in the opening round of the playoffs.

Starting Lineup
PG David Bailey (15.4pts, 3.5reb, 5.6 ast)
SG Elton Nesbitt (15.4, 3.2, 3.6)
SF Carl Elliott (14.2, 4.5, 2.8)
PF Michael Joiner (10.3, 4.4, 1.0)
C Chris Alexander (11.6, 11.2, 0.9)
Head Coach: Nate Tibbetts

Team Leaders (Season)
Points: Kasib Powell* 22.2, Elton Nesbitt 15.4, David Bailey 15.4
Rebounds: Chris Alexander 11.2
Assists: David Bailey 5.6
* No longer with team

Team Leaders (Last 10 Games)
Points: David Bailey 23.0
Rebounds: Chris Alexander 12.6
Assists: David Bailey 5.8

Key Losses
SF Kasib Powell (Miami Heat) 22.2pts, 6.0reb, 3.0ast

Assigned Players

Players with NBA Experience

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