Arsenal Beat Jam 102-93
Anaheim, Calif., January 26, 2008 - The last time the Anaheim Arsenal and the Bakersfield Jam met was a week ago at the NBA Development League Showcase, in Boise, Idaho. The Jam came away with the victory 98-76. Jam center James Peters then led the team with 20 points and 3 rebounds, but last night it was Anaheim forward Steven Smith who helped push the Arsenal to victory with 25 points and 5 assists.
After the game Steven Smith said, "It was a much needed victory. The team played well. Everyone stepped up and was ready to play, but more importantly it was a fun game."
In the first half the Arsenal and the Jam traded both points and turnovers. The Arsenal racked up 7 turnovers to the Jam's 6. Arsenal play was ignited when guard Yuta Tabuse drove to the basket, flying by two Jam defenders. His quick play and passing energized the Arsenal as they took a 42-35 lead with 6:18 left in the half.
It was the three-point shooting by the Arsenal that put them ahead by seven points going into halftime. The Arsenal were five for eight from the three-point line, and the Jam made both of their two attempted three-pointers.
The Arsenal led at half time 57-50, and shot 57.5% from the field in the first half. Andre Barrett led the Jam in scoring in the first half with 10 points while Will Blalock led the Arsenal with 15 points.
Commenting on the game, Will Blalock said, "Everyone played well, and we really needed the win. We executed well and that's why we won."
The Jam came out of halftime with quick play forcing Arsenal turnovers and outscored the Arsenal in the third quarter 27-22. But the Arsenal kept the lead with big shots by Steven Smith and Kedrick Brown. Yuta Tabuse sparked the Arsenal by spreading the ball around allowing Ivan Johnson and Steven Smith to pick up easy jumpers. New Arsenal player Mo Charlo picked up a three pointer with 10:06 left in the game giving the Arsenal the 87-79 lead.
After being in foul trouble for most of the game, center Marcus Campbell took the ball to the hoop off a no look pass from Yuta Tabuse, and picked up an easy two points. Steven Smith was fouled on a drive to the lane with 8:11 left in the game and went two for two at the line, bringing the score to 93-79.
The Jam picked away at the Arsenal bringing them within four points with 3:44 left in the game. The Jam pushed the ball up the court when Ivan Johnson blocked a 14-foot shot by Trey Johnson. Steven Smith scored two points off his own rebound making the score 100-91 with two minutes left in the game. Will Blalock went on a fast break off a jump ball and threw down slam dunk, giving the Arsenal a 102-91 lead with one minute left in the game. Andre Barrett then scored on a lay up giving the Jam two more points, but it was too little too late, as the Arsenal walked away with the win 102-93.
Arsenal Head Coach Reggie Geary said after the game, "It was a good win. I felt like it was a good concentrated effort by the team. Will & Yuta did an excellent job and Steven gave that offensive punch. It was a great defensive performance especially against such an explosive team as Bakersfield."
Jam point guard Andre Barrett led the Bakersfield Jam with 26 points to go along with 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 2 steals. Nick Lewis, out of the University of San Diego, played well for the Jam turning in 18 points and 5 rebounds.
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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