Two weeks to the day after their opening night matchup vs. Maine, the Legends are at last coming back to the friendly confines of Dr. Pepper Arena to square off against the Salt Lake City Stars, D-League affiliate of the Utah Jazz. The clubs met Wednesday night on the eve of Thanksgiving where the Stars netted 19 three pointers to capture a 129-100 win at the Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena on the Salt Lake Community College campus.
The Legends were led by 23 points from Patrick Miller. The 24-year old made 9 of 16 shots from the field and 5 of 9 free throws. Manny Harris continued his electric early season play with 22 points and grabbed 9 rebounds with 3 steals.
Jaleel Cousins and the former Duke Blue Devil Andre Dawkins had 14 and 12 off the bench respectively. Deng Deng had 7 rebounds, 7 points.
Taking things back four days to the beginning of the road trip on Saturday, the Legends were victorious in Chicago as they defeated the Windy City Bulls in the club’s first ever match-up at the Sears Centre. The good guys came out on top, 108-98. Manny Harris had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.
C.J. Williams contributed 18 points and hit 5 of 9 three pointers in a dominant outing from beyond the arc. “I feel that that’s what I’m going to have to do to be successful,” Williams says. “Especially for this team but also for my own personal agenda. I have to be able to shoot better from the three. As long as I do that I think I’ll be fine. I do work on it a lot so when I’m open I’m going to take the shot.”
Williams also tied for a team-high 2 blocks, something he is more than capable of doing from the combo guard-forward position. When you play basketball a while you start to see and you learn more about what’s going on and you learn how to get the timing of things,” answers Williams. “So because of that I was able to get a couple blocks.
“I was put in the right situation for it, so it worked out for me. Really, blocking shots is timing with a little bit of athletic ability so that helps a lot.”
Jameel Warney added a 16 point, 13 rebound double-double with an impressive 6 of those rebounds coming of the offensive end. Kyle Collinsworth had a dynamic 10 rebound, 7 assist performance.
Sandwiched in between the Windy City win and loss at Salt Lake, the Legends played Tuesday night in Reno, Nevada at the Reno Events Center against the Sacramento Kings affiliated Bighorns. Unfortunately, Texas fell at the buzzer in a thriller, 110-108.
Warney had a second straight monstrous game, ending the night with 24 points, 7 rebounds (3 offensive) and 2 blocked shots. Manny Harris went for 19 points and 10 rebounds. C.J. Williams had 16 points, 5 rebounds and was one of three Legends to achieve 4 assists. He made three three-pointers.
Andre Dawkins and Bryson Fonville scored 12 apiece with Patrick Miller picking 4 steals.
“We started off strong. We had a great win in Chicago and played really well,” Legends Head Coach Bob MacKinnon recaps the road trip. “We went to Reno and played really well, just didn’t control our way down the stretch and lost on a buzzer beater in a tough game.
“Then we had to follow that up and play the very next night in Utah and just didn’t have enough left in the tank.”
The leader of the Legends is looking forward to the return to Frisco. “I’m very excited (to return home). It’s always great to play here.
“We think this is the best atmosphere in the D-League, MacKinnon says. “Our players really look forward to playing in front of our fans. I’ve gotten to be apart of this community it’s always good to play in front of familiar faces.”
26-year old C.J Williams says the chemistry with this group is not like anything he has ever experienced before.
“It’s actually rather interesting,” Williams tells me. “I’ve never seen a group of guys, especially in their 20’s, that have gotten along so well off the court. You can see it on the court because guys are unselfish. Nobody is really going out just to get their own.
“We all have the same goal in mind of winning each game and playing at a high level individually and collectively. It’s fun.”
The Legends and the Stars tip off at 7:30. The next game is also a home game, Thursday, December 1st at 7:00 PM vs. the Greensboro Swarm, affiliate of the Charlotte Hornets.