Sioux Falls Skyforce Vault Back Into Contention With Two Games Left
Choosing the right word to conceptualize how significant the Tuesday night battle between Tulsa and Sioux Falls is an arduous task. Colossal comes to mind. As the fates of 6 teams hang in the balance, the importance cannot be overstated. The resulting Sioux Falls Skyforce victory 97-92 prevented the 66ers from being the 5th team to clinch a NBA Development League playoff spot and tightened the race for spot number 8.
Without a superb 34-point effort from Demetris Nichols, of course none of this would be possible. Add in another 26 points and 9 rebounds from Jarvis Varnado plus 14 points and 17 rebounds from James Mays which neutralized the 32 points put up by Rasual Butler of the 66ers. Mays is certainly benefitting from a NBA assignee with him in the front court. Varnado is so disruptive defensively, Mays can pile up rebounds on the defensive glass on blocked or altered shots. Mays also said their offense execution was much better against Tulsa and the team only committed 12 turnovers as a result.
Neither team could get any measure of separation on the night as Sioux Falls posted the largest lead of 7 points on a handful of occasions, but could not fully subdue the visitors until the final horn blew. The sweet sound catapulted the Skyforce from the number 10 position to the 8th and final playoff spot. Sioux Falls (25-23) still holds their postseason status in their own hands with a game upcoming on Friday night with Ft. Wayne and a Saturday finale at Iowa. Two Skyforce wins will surely send them into the postseason. If there is only one win, assistance will be needed. Tulsa (26-22) can still win either Thursday against Iowa or Saturday against Ft. Wayne and earn a playoff spot. However the other four teams still clawing have some intrigue. Austin still has three games left with a destiny in their hands. Ft. Wayne has just the two games left with Sioux Falls and Tulsa with one win clinching playoff entry for the first time in Mad Ants history. Maine and Erie play each other twice. The only certainty is that the playoff picture will remain murky until Saturday night.