Ten days ago, Justin Dentmon dropped 48 points on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. As the G League’s leading scorer, Dentmon’s main basketball responsibility is to get buckets and so far in 2017-2018, he is not disappointing. At all.
He didn’t quite hit 48 on Saturday night, but he added another 43 to his league-best 28.8 points per game as the Texas Legends (7-7) won handily over the Maine Red Claws (8-7), 127 to 105. Texas held Maine to just 44 percent shooting and 69 points through three quarters.
Defense continues to be a point of emphasis for Texas and has improved steadily since the onset of the season, details swingman Brandon Ashley.
“It’s extremely important. I feel like as long as we play good defense –offense has never really been a problem for us, I want to say we’re one of the more fast-paced, high-scoring teams in the league (Texas’ 96.7 shots per game leads the league)–for us it comes down to just getting stops and getting easy looks off of those stops.”
Coach Bob MacKinnon was forced to work an eight man rotation against the Red Claws, and all five Legends starters scored double digit point totals against the Boston Celtics’ affiliate.
Along with Dentmon’s big 43, Kyle Collinsworth had his trademark game of the season so far. “Air Mormon” stuffed the stat sheet with his usual goodies, scoring 21 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and dishing out nine assists, barely missing his first triple-double of the season with 9-of-14 shooting.
Ashley, who himself has recently battled an ankle injury, added 20 points and seven rebounds and is a big part of the Legends’ attack on both sides of the ball. His aggression paves the way for the offense to flow and the defense to stay active.
“I just think having versatility helps out the team. Kyle is one of those guys as well, same with X (Xavier) and Jameel, we have a lot of those guys who have versatility. I think it’s going to help us out in the long run and help us get to the next level when we’re looking for those call-ups.”
Jameel Warney contributed his usual helping, posting 18 points and six rebounds but of more note are the eight assists the sophomore dished out. Eight dimes easily tops his previous career high of five, which he has recorded on three separate occasions.
Rounding out the starting unit with 11 points is the rapidly rising story of Xavier Johnson, who contributed 11 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Johnson and Dentmon had three steals apiece while Warney and Collinsworth added a pair.
The Legends’ East coast road trip is halfway complete and next heads to Long Island to face the Nets (8-5) on Monday evening at 6 PM CT. This will be the 10th road game for the Legends, twice as many contests as they have played at home.
“It forces you to spend time together whether you want to or not,” Ashley knows all the road games help a team stay close. “We have a great group of guys, we enjoy spending time with each other and bonding and I think that’s another thing that’s helping us out defensively is we have that chemistry. It helps us perform at a higher level together.”