Toros Split Two Against Skyforce, Beat Legends
After losing the first two games of the season to our biggest rival, the in-state 6-3 Texas Legends, the good guys of Austin reeled off four straight victories, all against the Idaho Stampede, who currently feel major dejection and some serious humiliation after losing four games in a row to the same team. A four-game sweep, if you can believe it to be true, and you should, because it's legit.
When was the last time somebody swept a four-game series in the D-League? The achievement is so insane and so unbelievebly awesome that the data is just too rare. Our statisticians have been searching for days, but have been unable to find another time when this kind of four-game sweep has occurred, making it possible that the Toros have just done something that has never been done before. Stay tuned for updates as our boys continue to search the record books.
After the winnings streak came a big test for the Toros, back-to-back road games against the squad with the top record in the league, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. The first game was ugly, as the Toros fell 105-115. Austin was hot on offense, but their defense was the culprit of the loss as they gave up 54% shooting to Sioux Falls, a number that almost always results in losing.
The following night they would have to play a better game on defense if they had any hope of escaping South Dakota with a split. Thankfully, the adjustments of Coach Jenkins paid off, and Austin dropped that defensive field-goal percentage down to 46% against the Skyforce on the second night of the two-step. Tyler Wilkerson of the Toros had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and Justin Dentmon remained viable with 15 points and 8 rebounds of his own. Austin escapes Sioux Falls, a flashy city, now at 5-3. We are all aware of the roller-coaster movement of a D-League roster over the course of a season. Last year's opening night Toros roster had a lot of faces that weren't there on Championship Victory Night, when the Toros won their second in a row against the Los Angeles D'Fenders to win the NBDL Championship and forever the hearts of all Austinites. So far this season the roster hasn't had the shake-ups that D-League fans are accustomed to.
Surely player movement will come; with the Spurs making potential trades, sending guys up and down, and with the level of talent that is sitting on the Toros' bench, in a great city like Austin, Texas, we will see our D-League squad managed with the most intense and good-spirited determination by new Head Coach Taylor Jenkins, who takes over for mentor and championship winning Head Coach Brad Jones, a leader among men who is now an assistant with the NBA's Utah Jazz. Please take a moment to wish the great coach some good fortunes as he risks his neck to win games in the cut-throat Western Conference.
The Toros' roster – a strong, athletic, and driven group of ultimate basketball skill and shape – radiates an identity that just might rival that of many of Tom Hanks' most loved characters from his many films. Last year's MVP, Justin "No Mercy" Dentmon, is back for seconds, and he's building on last year's numbers in a big way. Another name of interest is new Toro Luther Head, who was once well known by many for being a sneaky 3-point knock-down shooter on Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming's Houston Rockets teams of the mid to late twenty-aughts.
Now Head is on the Toros, fighting like wild fire to get back to the big leagues. So far this season, Head has been filling the sixth-man role. It's always refreshing to see a guy fight it out in the minor leagues, trying to get back what once was rightfully his. The journey is hard, and it's happening right in front of our eyes at the Cedar Park Center, just up Highway 183 this side of Leander.
After playing the two in Sioux Falls, the Toros will return to Austin for a three-game home stand which began with a 110-97 win over those pesky Texas Legends, Dec. 21 against Darnell Jackson's Reno Bighorns, and the following night, Dec. 22, with good-old Sioux Falls heading to Austin for what is hopefully an unsuccessful shot at revenge. Get your tickets here. See y'all at the CPC! Don't forget to bring some sort of fun-loving attitude and plenty of empty memory slots!