Trailing after one quarter, the Legends (20-19) dominated the rest of the evening against the Northern Arizona Suns (19-21), D-League affiliate of the Phoenix Suns, outscoring the opposition by 17 points through the next three quarters to win their fourth straight, 127-118. Texas has used their season-long eight game home stand to their advantage, winning five of the first six straight at Dr Pepper Arena. They’ve won a season-high four straight games.
Help came from just about everywhere Coach Bob MacKinnon turned to on Tuesday night. Seven players scored double digit points. Ben Gordon came off the bench to lead the way with 24. The 2005 NBA Sixth Man of the Year treads familiar, successful territory being the first name called off the bench.
Jameel Warney continued his red hot streak with his 10th double-double of the season and fourth in this current stretch of home games. He ended the night’s win with 19 points and 12 rebounds (four offensive).
Stephane Lasme picked up four more blocks and truth be told, a layup may never get past him again. Not to mention 15 points and nine rebounds (four offensive), Lasme’s four blocks tonight give him a grand total of 27 in the last six games (4.5 a night). Warney and Lasme are forming an elite interior duo for the Legends.
The team also welcomed backKyle Collinsworth, who had been out since February 4th with an ankle injury.
“It felt great being out there,” says Collinsworth. “There’s nothing like game action, you can’t simulate that. Just good to get out there, get the rust off a little bit, get the burn in my lungs and get back to 100 percent.”
The swiss army man produced six points, eight rebounds (five offensive), four assists, a steal and a block in 20 minutes. His plus-minus of plus-16 tied Gordon for a team high.
“Just staying efficient and focusing on my energy and effort. When you do that, things tend to take care of themselves. I just came tonight, especially my first game back in a while, I just wanted to focus on bringing energy off the bench and constant energy all the time.”
Collinsworth’s return happened to coincide with Pierre Jackson missing the contest, but the nearly completely healthy Legends are firing on all cylinders right now with a very deep roster.
“We’re confident. We’re using this home stand to our advantage. We’re just taking it one day at a time. We’ll get rest tonight and focus on tomorrow.”
The Legends will look to extend their season-high win streak of four games on Thursday night. The Suns will spend a couple nights in Frisco as the teams square off again at 7 PM CT. Playing the same team in consecutive games presents an interesting but somewhat familiar dynamic to Collinsworth and company.
“We did that with Sioux Falls. It’s interesting. I’ve never done that before. The nice part about it is you can make quick adjustments to the game plan if needed.”