NBA D-League Playoffs: Mike Harris Returns to Advance Vipers
Don't tell me the playoffs haven't started yet. It sure seemed like it Tuesday night, as the Rio Grande Valley Vipers defeated the Reno Bighorns 135-118 to advance to the second round of the D-League playoffs. The story, as it has been all season, was Mike Harris.
Mike Harris, who is undoubtedly the D-League MVP, returned on assignment from Houston. Harris started slowly before absolutely exploding in the second half, finishing with 45 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 blocks. Yeah, you could say he made a difference.
Early on, the Bighorns ran out to an eight-point lead as the same story of the first two games was written. The Reno bigs rolled out, with Doug Thomas having a strong game, finishing with 21 points. But Rod Benson stole the show for the Bighorns yet again, and was likely the MVP of the series, despite Reno's loss, finishing Game 3 with 21 points and 11 rebounds to go with three blocks. Another dominant performance from the best player not to be called up this season.
But in the end, the Vipers brought the game back to their level. Playing on the rare playoff back-to-back, both defenses sagged, which favored RGV's perimeter attack, and alongside Harris, Antonio Anderson took advantage, slicing and dicing and hitting his trademark baseline runner. But the head of the snake, so to speak, was Will Conroy, who leveled 24 points and 6 rebounds.
The Bighorns held strong in this game until a Viper surge which left them flabbergasted. They didn't seem to be able to recover on either side, and the problems compounded.
The Vipers will face the Toros, in what will be the powerhouse matchup of the D-League playoffs. There will likely be six to seven legit NBA players in this series, and it should be a barnburner. We'll have a complete preview for you later in the week.