Colorado 14ers Weekly Update
OREM, UT, April 22, 2009 - Billy Thomas scored 27 points and Sonny Weems, on assignment from the Denver Nuggets, finished with 28 points off the bench as the Colorado 14ers withstood a late Utah Flash run that forced overtime to take Game 1 of the 2009 NBA D-League Finals, 136-131, at the McKay Events Center in Orem, Utah.
Behind a balanced attack, the 14ers led by as many as 25 points in the first half before the Flash surged back on their home floor and outscored the visitors 61-44 in the final two periods to force overtime. However, the 14ers attack proved too much in the overtime period, as veteran Billy Thomas grabbed two steals down the stretch to seal the win.
"Utah is a very good team and they are going to come out and make runs, but that's what the game is about and expect it," said Thomas, who hit on 4-of-7 three-pointers. "That is where our veteran leadership comes in. Guys like me, Josh (Davis), Eddie (Gill), and we have some great young players as well."
In the first NBA D-League Finals game in Orem, 14ers veteran Josh Davis teamed up with Thomas to dominate the first period, combining for 27 points on 8-of-12 shooting, en route to Colorado's 13-point lead (36-23) at the end of one. Thomas scored all 14 of his points in the first nine minutes.
The 14ers' offensive domination continued in the second period. They opened the period on an 11-0 run before Flash forward and Utah Jazz assignee Morris Almond stepped up and scored 14 of his 16 first half points in the quarter. Despite only out-scoring the Flash by four, 42-38, in the period, the 14ers extended their lead to as many as 25 before taking a 17-point lead, 78-61, at the half.
Behind an energized crowd, the Flash went to work in the third quarter and outscored the 14ers, 33-23, to head into the final period down just seven points. Ronald Dupree's 12 points, on 5-of-7 shooting from the field, led the way for the hometown squad.
The Flash made a furious comeback in the fourth, chipping away at Colorado's double-digit lead to come within four, 107-103, after Gavin Grant connected on a three-point play with 8:42 remaining. Over the next seven minutes, the teams traded baskets before the 14ers took the lead, 122-121, with 1:11 to play on a Dupree steal and fast-break follow-up dunk. But with 22 seconds left, Colorado's Eddie Gill drove the lane, drew a foul, and connected on one-of-two to even the score at 122. Flash point guard Kevin Kruger then pulled up for a long three as time expired.
In overtime, with the teams battling back and forth, the Flash went up by three, 126-123, with 3:39 to play. But the inside-outside game of the 14ers claimed an insurmountable lead of 136-131 with 6.6 seconds to play after Dominique Coleman knocked down two free throws.
DuPree led all scorers with 37 points, while Giddens finished with the game's only double-double with 21 points and 17 rebounds.
The teams travel to Broomfield, Colorado for Game 2 on Friday, April 24. Tip off is set for 9:00 p.m. ET.
COLORADO 14ERS CAPTURE 2009 NBA D-LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
OREM, UT, April 24, 2009 - Led by veteran Josh Davis' 21 points, the Colorado 14ers defeated the Utah Flash 123-104 tonight to earn the 2009 NBA Development League Championship at the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
"We have veteran players who understand what they need to do to get it done in this league," said 14ers head coach Bob MacKinnon. "They understand that winning helps you get to that next level. We've preached it all year, and they've responded."
A close game through three quarters, the 14ers turned up the heat in the fourth to outscore the Flash 35-18. John Lucas scored 13 points in the period to guide the team to its first NBA D-League championship while Joe Dabbert finished the contest shooting a perfect 10-of-10 from the field to score 21 points. Nuggets assignee Sonny Weems finished with a game-high 25 points off the bench.
"It feels great to win an NBA D-League Championship," said League veteran Billy Thomas. "Tonight's win was big for us because how hard we worked all season - to culminate all of that dedication in a championship was a great way to go out."
A tightly contested first quarter, the Flash was led by Utah Jazz assignee Morris Almond's eight points. Colorado, who shot only 1-6 from beyond the arc in the first, used a balanced attack that saw six 14ers score, to finish the quarter up two, 26-24.
The Flash exploded in the second period outscoring the 14ers 35-26 and going on a 19-4 run to bring the score to 57-50 with under a minute to play. At the half, the Flash led 59-52 on the back of Boston Celtics' assignee J.R. Giddens' eight-point quarter.
The 14ers opened up the third quarter with a 16-9 run to tie the score at 68 with just over eight minutes to play. From there, the teams traded baskets finishing the period with Colorado outscoring Utah 36-27 and owning an 88-86 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The 14ers, who secured the NBA D-League's best regular season record at 34-16, also captured the Southwest Division Championship. The team defeated the Erie BayHawks in the first round of the playoffs before knocking off the Austin Toros in the semi-finals before facing the Flash in the finals. In the first game, they defeated the team from Orem, Utah 136-131 in overtime.
Utah was led by Almond and Kevin Kruger who scored 18 points a piece, while Giddens chipped in with a 17-point, 15-rebound double-double.
SEASON RE-CAP NOTES
Colorado was a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs en route to the 2009 Championship.
The 14ers championship is the first in team history in two trips to the D-League Finals.
Colorado averaged 125.5 ppg in the post-season, 6.6 points more than their D-League high regular season average.
Sonny Weems and Josh Davis upped their playoff scoring to average 22.8 and 22.0 ppg respectively.
Eight 14ers averaged 9.5 ppg or better in their four playoff games.
Joe Dabbert's five blocked shots in Game 2 of the Finals were a D-League playoff high this season.
Dabbert also played his best game of the season in the title clinching game 2, going 10-10 from the field and finishing with 21 points.
Dominique Coleman and John Lucas also tied a D-League post-season high with five steals in a game.
The 14ers topped the Power Rankings on www.nba.com/dleague for the final six weeks of the regular season.
Colorado set a new franchise record with 34 wins in the regular season.
The 14ers have qualified for the D-League playoffs in each of the three seasons the team has existed, reaching the finals twice.
Colorado's all-time playoff record now stands at 6-2.
The 14ers set new D-League records this season by scoring 52 points in a quarter, 155 in a game, and making 60 field goals in a game.
The 14ers also set D-League season highs with 16 made 3-pointers in a game (twice), and 23 steals in one game.
Billy Thomas connected on 71 3-pointers this season, and is the D-League leader for career three pointers made with 334.
The 14ers led the D-League in scoring for the third consecutive year averaging 118.9 points per game.
Colorado also led the league in per game averages for field goals made and attempted, three pointers made and attempted, offensive rebounds, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots.
Dominique Coleman led the D-League with 2.9 steals per game.
Josh Davis finished 12th in the league in scoring at 18.8 ppg, and ranked fifth with a .872 free throw percentage, and was third with 2.3 made 3-pointers per game.
Davis and Trey Gilder both finished in the top 8 in the D-League in points per 48 minutes played.
Joe Dabbert was eighth in the league with 1.3 blocks per game.
Eddie Gill's 8.4 assists per game tied for third in the D-League.
Colorado compiled the D-League's best record despite not having any player in the top 27 in minutes per game.
• Discuss this story on the NBA G League message board...
NBA G League Stories from April 29, 2009
- 2009-10 Vipers season ticket holders will receive guaranteed access to Houston Rockets traning camp - Rio Grande Valley Vipers
- Colorado 14ers Weekly Update - Colorado 14ers
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.