Week of February 1st – February 8th (Includes games @ New Mexico – 2/1, @ New Mexico – 2/2, vs. Tulsa – 2/5, vs. Erie- 2/6)
The Texas Legends found themselves immersed in another inconsistent week that had its downs, then ups, and then downs again. Hovering around .500 for what seems like forever, the Legends just can't seem to put together enough consecutive victories to get more than a game over the even mark. On the plus side though, the boys are avoiding any of the extended losing streaks they experienced earlier in the year.
The series of games for this week started with two straight in Albuquerque to face off with the New Mexico Thunderbirds. The T-Birds took the first of the two-game series 123-130, before the Legends exacted revenge 110-108 the very next day with an outrageous buzzer beater by Dominique Johnson. Oh, and if you thought it was cold here in Texas this past week, Albuquerque had a wind chill of negative-14 while the Legends were in town, so we'll have some mercy on a few defensive lapses here and there. It was so cold in the gym for those two games that Coach Lieberman even wore gloves on the sidelines.
On the 5th, it was time for Texoma Tussle VI with the Tulsa 66ers in town. More importantly though, it was Breast Cancer Awareness night in Frisco. The Legends smashed the best team in the league 110-94, but it was also a great night to put everything in perspective and understand that basketball isn't the most important thing in the world. It was a pleasure to have so many brave people in the building with us that night.
Finally, Texas snuck in one final game for the week on Super Bowl Sunday with the Erie Bayhawks in town. It seemed like it would be an easy win for the Legends after taking a big lead into the fourth, but a cold streak led to only 18 points in the final frame as Erie rallied to grab the W.
In case you are terrible at math, that left the Legends with a "kiss-your-sister" type of 2-2 week. League play slows down a bit with only seven games over the three weeks, so let's get you your weekly Texas Legends fix.
With the ongoing "Call-Up Watch" for Legends stars, and with the Dallas Mavericks and their watchful eyes, there is plenty to discuss in this week's Down On The Farm Report … from Dominique's last-second miracle heave to updates on whether Moussa grew any taller… On to the Legends' player evaluations! There were four games this week and as always, these stats are weekly averages.
Joe Alexander, F, 23
This Week: MPG-40, FG-48%, FT-88% (28/32), 3FG- 0% (0-2), PPG-22.0, RPG-9.0, APG-3.3, SPG-1.8, BPG-1.0, TO-3.3
Last Week: MPG-36, FG-48%, FT-72% (13/18), 3FG- 17% (1-6), PPG-15.5, RPG-9.3, APG-3.3, SPG-0.5, BPG-0.5, TO-2.5
As Joe continues to demonstrate awesome consistency with his midrange jumper, he needs to keep mixing up his game with drives in the lane to keep the defense off balance. He drifted from that a little bit last week, but he got back to work in the lane the last few days. After only 18 free throws all of last week, it's clear he placed an emphasis on being aggressive over the last four games.
Also, for the first time all season, Joe utilized the bank shot a few times in his offensive progressions. That's a tough shot, but Joe used it at the right times and made all of his attempts. Bank's open.
It's good to see these changes in his game for two reasons:
1) Good things happen when he takes the ball to the basket. A foul, lay-up, or a Sean Williams put back are usually the result.
2) It means he's still making adjustments and working on his game. He's still motivated.
Remember last week? We mentioned how staying motivated is the key to Joe's return to the NBA. This week was evidence that he is dead set on doing that.
Antonio Daniels, G, 33
This Week: MPG-38, FG-54%, FT-76% (19/25), 3FG- 100% (3-3), PPG-15.5, RPG-5.5, APG-8.8, SPG-1.8, BPG-0.0, TO-1.8
Last Week: MPG-37, FG-25%, FT-85% (17/20), 3FG- 0% (0-7), PPG-10.8, RPG-3.8, APG-10.0, SPG-2.0, BPG-0.0, TO-4.0
It was a relief to see Antonio's scoring return this week. He struggled last week in his first few games back, but it's clear the rust is off now. Add that to an increased rebound total and consistent playmaking and you have a player who affects the game in nearly every category. AD even came within one rebound of a triple double against Erie (11 points/9 rebounds/10 assists).
One key part of Antonio's game that is crucial to his success is getting his runner on track. When it's going for him, he can become quite a scoring threat since he can get into the lane basically whenever he wants. When he scored 27 points earlier in the week against Tulsa, that runner was definitely working.
It was interesting to see him on the bench during crunch time of the second game in New Mexico, but it was understandable considering how scorching hot Dominque Johnson was at that point.
When all of the dust settles after the trade deadline and the Mavs (or any NBA team for that matter) still need a veteran backup point guard, Antonio Daniels will be a viable option.
Sean Williams, F/C, 12
This Week: MPG-10, FG-61%, FT-100% (3-3), 3FG- 43% (3-7), PPG-11.3, RPG-4.7, APG-1.0, SPG-1.0, BPG-3.0, TO-1.0
Last Week: MPG-36, FG-54%, FT-67% (12/18), 3FG- 0% (0-1), PPG-13.0, RPG-10.8, APG-0.5, SPG-1.5, BPG-2.8, TO-3.5
Thanks to the flu, Sean's weekly totals are a little skewed this week. He was forced to leave the first game in New Mexico after only three minutes because he was feeling ill. Despite that, he still had some very impressive stats. To average over 11 points and 3 blocks a game is pretty astounding in only 10 minutes per contest.
Beyond stats, Sean's value to the team was never more evident this week as his absence was felt during the first game against New Mexico. When he left, the defense for the Legends left with him. Texas went on to give up 130 points, the most points they've ever allowed in a game. Sean always has high block numbers, but he is the classic player who affects countless other shots and intimidates teams from challenging the rim. When the Legends are missing that, they become pretty soft on the interior defensively.
As a cherry on top, Sean was 3 for 7 on 3-point attempts this week. We'd put good money on the fact that Coach Lieberman isn't relying on Sean Williams' 3-point shooting as a primary offensive weapon, but we'll take 43 percent any day.
Justin Dentmon, G, 4
This Week: MPG-34, FG-45%, FT-93% (14-15), 3FG- 40% (8-20), PPG-16.0, RPG-2.0, APG-4.7, SPG-1.8, BPG-0.0, TO-1.8
Last Week: MPG-31, FG-48%, FT-86% (6-7), 3FG- 33% (7-21), PPG-17.8, RPG-3.0, APG-2.3, SPG-1.8, BPG-0.0, TO-1.3
Justin continued his role as super-sub this week and excelled once again. A few weeks ago when Justin was starting alongside Antonio in the backcourt, there was nothing wrong with that lineup. It was productive and had the ability to score. The problem was with the second unit.
While Booker Woodfox and Justin can both provide a scoring spark off the bench, Justin is the only one of the two who can run the offense efficiently enough to keep/build on leads. Now with Booker starting and Justin coming off the bench, the second-unit is ready made for offense when Antonio Daniels subs out.
Justin put up basically the same numbers as last week, except for vastly increasing his assists numbers, which further cements our point of his being a quality second-unit playmaker. The flexibility of the DentMAN being able to play point guard and off the ball is what makes his sixth man role work so well.
Dominique Johnson, G, 9
This Week: MPG-23, FG-46%, FT-100% (14-14), 3FG- 50% (5-10), PPG-13.3, RPG-1.8, APG-0.0, SPG-0.5, BPG-0.0, TO-1.8
Last Week: MPG-17, FG-61%, FT-100% (3-3), 3FG- 22% (2-9), PPG-10.8, RPG-2.8, APG-1.0, SPG-0.8, BPG-0.0, TO-1.0
Dojo 2.0 started off the week at a torrid pace before having his minutes cut quite a bit. When given the minutes, Dominique has shown that he can be quite a prolific scorer and shooter, but adds little else right now. Obviously he is very young and has vast amounts of room and time to develop the rest of his game, but at this point he is simply a pure scorer.
He has solid size for a shooting guard and certainly has the ability to be a quality defender, but he has yet to show it consistently. We feel this is why Coach Lieberman opted for more minutes from Kelvin Lewis in the last two games of the week.
All of that aside, Dominique had an absolute miracle game-winning, buzzer-beating shot from the left wing in the second game against New Mexico. The kid is special, he just needs to continue improving.
Matt Rogers, F/C, 32
This Week: MPG-28, FG-44%, FT-56% (5-9), 3FG- 0% (0-2), PPG-8.8, RPG-6.0, APG-0.3, SPG-1.0, BPG-1.3, TO-1.0
Last Week: MPG-33, FG-60%, FT-58% (7-12), 3FG- 0% (0-1), PPG-16.8, RPG-9.0, APG-0.0, SPG-0.8, BPG-2.0, TO-2.5
Right when we acknowledge that Matt was capable of taking some of the offensive load away from Joe Alexander, Matt took a step back. Admittedly his shooting percentage of 60 percent last week had to fall off a little bit, but 44 percent wasn't what we were looking for. It appears that Joe and Matt are completely dependent on each other at power forward. If Matt has a big week, then Joe will take a step back, and vice versa.
One part of Matt's game that did improve was his mid-range jumpshot. It almost looks like he and Joe work on practicing exclusively with each other on the same high post jab steps. There was multiple times in the Tulsa game that 66ers center BJ Mullens allowed Matt to take uncontested shots because Mullens was unaware of Matt's range. Basically, he was daring Matt to beat him with that shot and he did.
Ask and you shall receive.
Booker Woodfox, G, 11
This Week: MPG-24, FG-50%, FT-67% (4-6), 3FG- 44% (4-9), PPG-12.5, RPG-2.0, APG-2.8, SPG-0.5, BPG-0.0, TO-1.8
Last Week: MPG-25, FG-43%, FT-100% (4-4), 3FG- 29% (4-14), PPG-10.0, RPG-1.8, APG-3.3, SPG-1.3, BPG-0.0, TO-0.0
Mr. Cool Name shot lights out from pretty much everywhere on the floor this week. With so much attention paid to Joe, Sean, and Antonio, Booker will always be useful as long as he is making his shots.
We all know about Booker's offense, but defensively is where he stuck out a little bit this week. He's not a lockdown one-on-one defender, but lately he has had very active hands. Also, he was outstanding against New Mexico with his pressure in the full-court press.
Booker will never stuff the stats on the box score, but his consistency and effort are cementing him in as a fixture with the Legends.
Kelvin Lewis, G, 22
This Week: MPG-22, FG-53%, FT-58% (4-7), 3FG- 50% (8-16), PPG-11.5, RPG-1.0, APG-1.3, SPG-0.3, BPG-0.0, TO-0.3
Last Week: MPG-17, FG-38%, FT-88% (7-8), 3FG- 20% (2-10), PPG-6.8, RPG-1.5, APG-0.8, SPG-0.8, BPG-0.0, TO-1.0
As we previously mentioned, there weren't a ton of minutes earlier in the week for Kelvin, but he slowly pulled some away from Johnson as the week moved on. After two consecutive games of Kelvin playing 20 minutes or less, the Legends got torched defensively. Enter Kelvin, who is always given the other team's toughest assignment when he steps on the court. Let this be a lesson kids, defense will earn you playing time.
This week's MVP: It was a long road back to the court after an injury, and it was a long road back to the MVP circle, but Antonio Daniels is this week's Texas Legends MVP. When he combines his NBA-level playmaking with a high scoring output like he did this week, he becomes the most valuable Legend.
There are only three games on the slate before the next Down on the Farm update, but let's make sure they're all wins!
Go Legends and Go Mavs.
Texas Legends Quote of the Week:
"I have to prove to teams and GMs that I'm still ready to go." –Legends point guard Antonio Daniels
Upcoming Texas Legends Games (Home Games in Bold):
Friday, Feb 11 @ Bakersfield Jam – 9:00 pm CT
Saturday, Feb 12 @ Bakersfield Jam – 9:00 pm CT
Monday, Feb 14 @ Bakersfield Jam – 9:00 pm CT