Three Point Record Marks Skyforce Success against OKC Blue
Sustained success from long distance was key for the Sioux Falls Skyforce in downing the Oklahoma City Blue 127-118 on Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
An early lead held strong for Sioux Falls (17-17) as a 9-0 run early in the contest switched momentum to the home crew. From there a double digit cushion was commonplace with Oklahoma City (19-15) unable to draw closer than 8 through the final three quarters.
Despite 20 turnovers, the Skyforce were buoyed by a team record 25 made three pointers surpassing a record that was set on December 20, 2014 at Texas. In fact, Sioux Falls is on pace to break the franchise record for three-point attempts in a season for the second straight year. They are also on pace to make more threes than in any previous season as the franchise record is 554 and the current tally is 496.
Guard Derrick Walton, Jr. had his best night as a pro by stroking 9 of 11 from beyond the arc and finished with a total of 41 points with 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. It’s the highest mark by any Skyforce player so far this season and the most since Scotty Hopson dropped 52 on the Reno Bighorns on February 24, 2015.
"I made my first four shots. "After that I just let the game come to me, not trying to be greedy."
That meant Walton and the rest of the team saw what the Blue were doing and took advantage.
"The NBA is changing toward switching defenses with five guys being able to guard positions one through five. It flattens you out as an offense. (In turn) we were able to read what they were doing and luckily we were able to make some shots."
Skyforce Coach Nevada Smith felt that as a whole the team executed the game plan at a high level.
"They play into our style. We drive and kick (and when we move the ball) it gets us open shots. They switch a lot and double the post. We were able to throw it behind them and make some shots."
Larry Drew II did his best to keep pace with his 22 points and 11 assists upon his return from a 10-day contract with Philadelphia. Ike Nwamu knocked down 5 trifectas on the way to 18 points.
Oklahoma City put 6 players in double figures led by 22 from Javan Felix off the bench. Among the starters, Daniel Hamilton posted 19 points and 8 assists.
The Blue will need to rest up for their next tussle with the Iowa Wolves on Saturday night as only a half-game separates those two teams at the top of the division. Sioux Falls sits two games back of the leaders and will wait until next Friday for a home date with Reno.