Monday, April 26, 2010

66ers looking to bounce back in Game 2

The Tulsa 66ers are hoping that history repeats itself when Tuesday night’s Game 2 of the NBA Development League championship series tips off in McAllen, Texas.

Last week, the 66ers rallied after losing the first of a three-game series at home against top-seeded Iowa to take the next two games in Des Moines and capture a spot in the finals. This week, Tulsa will have to win two games on Rio Grande Valley’s home court to secure its first-ever D-League championship. The 66ers find themselves down 1-0 in the series after Sunday’s 124-107 home loss to the Vipers.

“This week, we’ll draw upon the experience we gained in Iowa,” said Tulsa head coach Nate Tibbetts. “We just have to keep our heads up and bounce back.”

In order to bounce back Tuesday night, Tulsa will have to overcome the statistically toughest home court in the league. Rio Grande Valley tied the mark for all-time best home court records this season with a 21-4 record at State Farm Arena, including a 3-0 mark against the 66ers.

“They will have a loud atmosphere, but we’ve played in loud places during the postseason,” said Larry Owens, who led the 66ers with 21 points on Sunday. “We have to play our game and stay focused. We’re not going to lay down. We have confidence in ourselves. We just have to play smarter.”

In Game 2, Tibbetts and his team will have to figure out a way to slow down Rio Grande Valley’s Will Conroy and Michael Harris. Conroy posted a triple-double in Sunday’s win with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists, while Harris, the league’s Most Valuable Player, came through with a game-high 24 points despite being plagued by foul trouble.

“Those guys present a tough matchup any time they’re on the floor,” Tibbetts said. “They’re tough to guard and do a good job of making things happen.”

Tulsa is hoping to have Cecil Brown available for Tuesday night’s game. Brown was supposed to be in the starting lineup on Sunday, but was scratched late because of a lingering ankle injury, leaving the 66ers with just eight available players. Latavious Williams started in Brown’s place and finished with 13 points and a team-high 13 rebounds.

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