A Sunday matinee never hurt anybody. On this December 3rd, it especially didn’t hurt the Texas Legends. The Legends (6-5) started hot and finished even hotter, leading from start to finish and defeating the Iowa Wolves (2-8) by a final score of 125 to 100.
The Legends once again hit the glass hard –outrebounding Iowa 59 to 43– in the franchise’s first matchup against the newly redefined Wolves. Previously the Energy, the name change didn’t change their fortunes against the Legends, who cap off a three game road trip with two wins and a loss.
G League leading scorer Justin Dentmon was up to his usual tricks, finishing the game with 30 points and the club was plus-35 during Dentmon’s 36 minutes. Keith Hornsby and Johnathan Motley sported similar advantages of plus-29 and plus-28 respectively while Brandon Ashley was plus-20 himself. The starting unit –consisting of Dentmon, Hornsby, Motley, Ashley and Kyle Collinsworth –was plus-26 points in the no-doubt victory.
“It was nice (to win big), Collinsworth affirms. “The last few minutes, knowing that you’re going to win, it’s a good feeling. Especially just hanging out on the bench to close the game, it was nice to get a lead, extend it, keep extending it and keep it to close the game.”
Motley recorded double-double number six of the season and has scored at least 13 points in every game this season, clipping the total 20 in all but two. This day, he provided 25 points and 13 rebounds (five offensive).
Hornsby shrugged off a brief drought to accumulate 17 points and a season-high six rebounds, also swiping four steals. Dentmon, too, grabbed six boards with Jameel Warney reaching five along with 14 points.
Collinsworth produced yet another multifaceted outing of 12 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always been a good rebounder. That’s what helped me in college, I can get the rebound and go straight up the floor, get in a pick and roll and make plays. Rebounding is kind of my thing, usually when I rebound really well I’m active on defense and it gets me in a good state. So I always try to focus on rebounding as my main priority.”
With Donald Sloan missing a second consecutive game (hamstring), rookie Xavier Johnson took advantage of an increased workload and scored double figures (11 points) for the first time in his budding career. He has 16 points in the past two games while filling in for Sloan.
Bob MacKinnon’s team has held the Austin Spurs and Wolves to 102 and 100 points in the past two games, which is quite a feat in the fast-paced affairs of the G League. All but four teams in the league score at least 101 points per game and since a recent team meeting, Collinsworth details how the Legends have become a very tough defense.
“A few days ago we had a talk as a team to buckle down a lot more. At the end of the day, we’re taking it a lot more personal when people score on us. I think chemistry is getting better on defense and our communication as a team has been a lot better.”
The latter part of the road trip has seen the Legends take their first two December games and move above .500. They will bring a two game winning streak back home on Wednesday night against the Canton Charge (3-6), G League affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers, tipping off at 7 PM CT.