Arsenal Beat 14ers in OT
Anaheim, Calif., December 21, 2007 - On Friday night at the Arena at the Anaheim Convention Center, the Anaheim Arsenal came back to defeat the Colorado 14ers in overtime after being down the entire second half and ending the game with only 4 players left on the court.
Coming into the game the Colorado 14ers had the best record in the D-League at 8-3, while the Arsenal were struggling to get back on the winning track after dropping their last 2 games on the road.
Elton Brown, and 07-08 NBA D-League call up Eddie Gill, led the Colorado scoring attack with 28 and 27 points, respectively. Throughout the night the 14ers took advantage of the Arsenal's weak interior defense, pounding away at the smaller Arsenal lineup.
In the fourth quarter Steven Smith had a rim rattling slam dunk that energized the Arsenal and brought the team within seven points. Arsenal defensive play soon picked up. A momentum changing shot block by Steven Smith with 4:23 left in the game led to a three pointer by Jamaal Thomas that brought the score to 103-106.
With 2.6 seconds left in regulation Thomas made the most crucial play of the game. Down by 3 points, 115-118, Arsenal guard Will Blalock was shooting free throws after being fouled by Colorado's Eddie Gill. After making the first free throw, Blalock intentionally missed the second shot which allowed Jamaal Thomas a tip-in that would eventually send the game into overtime, 118-118.
In the extra period, the Arsenal capitalized on Colorado's poor ball control with a 3-pointer by Marquis Webb giving the Arsenal a four point lead at 128-124. However, with 1:10 to go and a 130 -124 lead, Kedrick Brown committed his 6th personal foul which left the Arsenal with only 4 eligible players to finish the game. Marquis Webb tipped in the ball off a Yuta Tabuse missed shot with 33 seconds left in overtime bringing the score to 132-127.
On Colorado's ensuing possession, Mo Charlo completed a 3-point play that brought the 14ers within 2 points of the Arsenal. On the inbounds pass, Jamaal Thomas was fouled and sent to the free throw line, making 1-of-2 free throws. Clinging onto a 133-130 lead, the Arsenal's 4 man defense made a key play when Yuta Tabuse knocked an up court pass out of bounds. Coming off of a screen, Colorado's Eddie Gill had a chance to send the game into double overtime with a 3-point attempt, but missed, and in so doing gave the Arsenal their 4th win in an extraordinary fashion.
After the game, Arsenal Head Coach Reggie Geary said, "What a fantastic win to have going into the holiday season. The crowd was fantastic. We're so proud of our guys; they never quit and never gave up, even when it was our 4 against their 5."
Arsenal Power Forward Steven Smith said after the game, "That was unbelievable the way it ended. We never gave up, Jamaal had a huge tip-in, Yuta had a huge deflection, it was a huge comeback, having only 4 guards left on the court. It was a great game and we're all ready for a great Christmas."
A total of 25% of NBA draft choices have played in the D-League over the past two seasons. During the 2006-2007 season 24 NBA players were assigned to play in the D-League since the creation of the affiliation system in 2005. Assigned players have included 2006 lottery picks Patrick O'Bryant (Ninth overall selection by Golden State, assigned to Bakersfield Jam) and Mouhamed Sene (10th overall pick by Seattle, assigned to Idaho Stampede). Many of the players utilized their time in the D-League to work on various aspects of their game which needed improvement, and then returned to the NBA where they made an impact. Gerald Green, for example averaged 5.2 points per game with the Boston Celtics during his rookie season of 2005-2006. During that season he was sent to the D-League twice, where the high-flier worked on his outside shot, his ball handling and other skills which the club felt needed seasoning. Green utilized the D-League to improve his game drastically, and the result was evident the following year when he posted averages of 10.4 points and 2.6 rebounds, which doubled his output from his rookie campaign.
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