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Reno Bighorns No Big Deal for Legends

By Asher Feltman | January 24, 2018

The Texas Legends (18-11) would have entered Tuesday night’s matchup against the Reno Bighorns (17-12) as the hottest team in the G League if not for their very opponent. Texas winners of five straight, Reno entered the bout with an even better streak of six games. One of them would be coming to an unceremonious end at Dr Pepper Arena.

Fortunately, it was the Bighorns’ streak that wouldn’t survive. With that said, the Legends did indeed extend their winning streak to six by defeating the Sacramento Kings affiliate 122-109.

The Legends are still missing Justin Dentmon and Keith Hornsby, but with Jalen Jones (two-way) and Kyle Collinsworth (10-day) both returning from the parent club Dallas Mavericks, Bob MacKinnon made the most of eight players in the victory.

“It was good to get some heavy minutes,” Kyle Collinsworth said after suiting up again with the Legends. “To get up and down and play at a fast pace. I haven’t done that for about five weeks so that was good.”

Seven players played at least 30 minutes, led by Donald Sloan‘s 35 in which he put up 17 points and eight rebounds. Healthy once more, the NBA veteran is averaging 26 points on the season-long five game home stand, which has one more game remaining.

Six double-figure scorers were led by another player who looks to have put his previous injury behind him.Brandon Ashley was the Legends high scorer with 26 points and for the fourth straight game blocked three shots. His eight rebounds is the same total for the third straight game and he has had at least that many four times in a row and at least seven in his last six.

Additionally, Ashley made 10-of-17 shots and connected on half of his eight three-point attempts. Wade Baldwin IV similarly sank 10-of-18 field goals on his way to an equal 26 points. Like Ashley and Sloan, he pulled down eight rebounds and led the team with six assists. The Legends were +22 in his 34 minutes.

Jameel Warney, playing in front of the familiar eyes of Team USA head coach Jeff Van Gundy, posted 16 points and 10 rebounds, five boards on both the offensive and defensive glass. He and Johnathan Motley (12 points, six rebounds) both blocked a pair of shots.

“New old” players Jalen Jones and Kyle Collinsworth both came off the bench but each played plenty, 31 and 33 minutes respectively. Jones notched 19 points and brought in six rebounds while Collinsworth stepped back into his old Legends shoes of stuffing the stat sheet.

Even if it was off the bench, he laughs. “I come off the bench with the Mavs, so it wasn’t too new for me since I’ve been doing that the past five weeks.”

In his first game with the G League affiliate since signing in the NBA, Collinsworth handed out 12 assists and grabbed nine rebounds.

“That’s just how I play. My offensive game was a little out of rhythm. My shots weren’t going in but I feel like I was able to do what I do, get guys shots and rebound.”

Collinsworth, who signed a two-way contract with the Mavs in December, re-upped with the big league team on a 10-day contract and is reportedly closing in on another. Between the two clubs, he’s using every single day to work on his particular set of skills. So what’s on the current agenda?

“Being more decisive. When I’m open, shoot it. Drive, look to score first and then create plays second. I naturally do that first so if I look to score first, everything else will be there.”

The Legends shot 49 percent to Reno’s 38 and also walloped the Bighorns on the glass, 60 to 42.

After 17 of their first 25 games on the road, Texas is making the most of the flux in home games. The season-long five game home stand has gone win, win, win, and win so far with an overall streak of six games dating back to a pair of victories at the G League Showcase.

They will look to finish out a perfect set of games at Dr Pepper Arena on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. against the Sioux Falls Skyforce (15-15), G League affiliate of the Miami Heat.

 

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