NBA D-League Playoffs: 66ers Do What They Must, Force Game 3
The 66ers came out strong, and led by three at the end of the first half, behind Latavious Williams, whose postseason play has definitely made him a strong draft prospect this year (Williams came out of high school directly into the draft). Williams finished with 10 points, nine rebounds, and two jaw-dropping dunks, one a put back in transition that I'm pretty sure involved him repelling off the ceiling.
But the Energy fought back, and fought back in a big way. A 35-20 second quarter had the Energy thinking sweep. They were at home, up 13, up a game, against a team with its three best players called up to the Thunder. The writing was on the wall. And Wink Adams and Larry Owens washed it all away.
The Tulsa small ball lineups wreaked havoc on the Energy, with Larry Owens slicing inside (17 points, seven assists) and Moses Ehambe (16 points, 3-5 from 3-point range) lighting it up from the arc. Ehambe has turned into a real barometer for the 66ers success. When he's hot, he adds another level to their attack and when he's off, they can look sluggish and without weaponry. Think Denver when J.R. Smith is cooled down. Adams finished with a team-high 24 points to go with six assists and four rebounds.
The Energy hung back in the game until the end, before a final 66er run blew them out of the water. Darrien Townes played well in limited minutes, but head coach Nate Tibbetts elected to go with starter Connor Atchley, who blew multiple wide open layups down the stretch. The Energy were out-rebounded 50-46, but most of that was long perimeter rebounding by the 66er guards.
So now the Energy, the top seeded team in the playoffs, face a deciding game three in Iowa Tuesday night, while the 66ers may or may not have Mustafa Shakur re-assigned for that game. D.J. White and B.J. Mullens have both used up all of their remaining assignments.
The Energy will need to bring more than its star savior (Curtis Stinson, who finished with 30 points Sunday) if they want to move on to the finals.