Albuquerque Clinches Final Playoff
DENVER, April 13 - The Albuquerque Thunderbirds clinched the final berth in the NBA Development League playoffs with a 121-112 win over the Colorado 14ers Friday night. The Thunderbirds victory sets up a first round playoff re-match between the two teams in Colorado on Wednesday, April 18.
Albuquerque erased a 24 point halftime deficit to come back and take the road win. The Thunderbirds outscored the 14ers 79-46 over the final two quarters in Broomfield. Joe Shipp led the way, scoring all 25 of his points in the second half.
"We knew that this was going to be a playoff type atmosphere game, and what a game it was," said Thunderbirds coach Michael Cooper. "But the work is just halfway done. We did all the work to get into the playoffs, and now we know the next game that we play this team will be even tougher. "
Julius Hodge nearly posted a triple-double playing against his former 14ers teammates for the first time. Hodge scored 22 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and dished out nine assists in the win. Dijon Thompson added 22 points and nine rebounds, and Brandon Robinson pitched in 17 off the bench for Albuquerque.
Just seven Colorado players dressed for the regular season finale' at the Broomfield Event Center. Elton Brown led the 14ers with his twentieth double-double of the season, scoring 30 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in a season-high 47 minutes of action. Pooh Jeter added 26 points and 11 assists in the loss.
With a record of 28-21, Colorado closes out the regular season Saturday night at Bakersfield. Albuquerque finishes with a record of 24-26, and will visit Colorado for the first round of the D-League playoffs on Wednesday, April 18.
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