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Epic Skyforce First Half Dooms Legends and Sets Up Crucial Finale

Crisp ball movement led to excellent shooting and a Sioux Falls Skyforce triumph 135-121 over the Texas Legends Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon. 

Let’s make it clear that 3,193 in attendance saw both teams perform well on offense. Sioux Falls (30-19) torched the nets to the tune of 62 percent and the Legends’ rate settled at 57 percent.  Also of the 94 combined made baskets 70 had assists attached to them.  Skyforce guard Chris Allen noted that a lot of credit is due to playing under control with a fast tempo.  “Any mistake they had we would push it as fast as we can down court, swing it around and whoever had the best shot take it and make it.”  Skyforce forward Craig Smith was usually the one taking the optimum shot to the tune of 33 points on 12-14 from the floor.  Anthony Mason, Jr. did his part providing 24 and the high dealer was Larry Drew II with 14 assists with 16 counters.  Smith’s repertoire was especially broad and worth a look in the clip.

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A tie game at the end of the first quarter morphed into Skyforce 26-11 run over the first 6 minutes of the second period.  Overall in the second, Sioux Falls torched the nets with 42 points to end the first half at 76 overall.  Texas (23-26) was only able to knock the lead down to single digits during a fourth quarter spurt.  Allen says the Legends are a tough defensive matchup.  “With the caliber of players they have, no one person is going to guard them.  They make moves, get into the lane then make a pass to (someone) wide open because of our team’s help defense.”  P.J. Hairston was the one cashing in for Texas most often with 26 points followed by Dallas Mavericks assignee Ricky Ledo (24 points) and former NBA stud Melvin Ely (23 points).

Saturday night, the final game of the regular season will bring the Tulsa 66ers to Sioux Falls.  Meanwhile the Legends will hop a flight to DFW and play host to the Idaho Stampede.  Then comes the playoffs as the 8 playoff teams are known.  The seedings will be determined by Saturday night’s action with first round matchups announced on Sunday. Sioux Falls could win the Central Division title, but need Iowa to lose to the Los Angeles D-Fenders and Rio Grande Valley to lose to the Austin Toros.



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