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Venom From The Valley: Frigid shooting dooms Vipers to 1-2 week

With poor outside shooting and no Isaiah Taylor, RGV have dropped two of their last three.

NBA vet Darius Morris has been consistent in the absence of Isaiah Taylor, but doesn’t have the same explosiveness.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers

Rio Grande Valley Vipers: 87

Salt Lake City Stars: 75

In a ridiculously low scoring game by Vipers standards, RGV was able to defeat SLC with a strong defensive performance. Houston Rockets assignee Chinanu Onuaku led the charge with four blocks, to go along with 15 points and 9 rebounds. Jarvis Threatt matched his 15 points coming off the bench. They overcame an abysmal 9 percent shooting from three, going 2/23.

RGV Vipers: 95

SLC Stars: 103

The Stars were able to quickly avenge their loss, topping RGV the very next night. It was another terrible shooting night behind the arc for the Vipers, shooting 19% on 21 attempts. It seems the junior squad suffered from the same cold front that blew through Houston Tuesday night. Jazz assignee Joel Bolomboy was huge, going for 28 points, 19 boards, and 6 blocked shots.

RGV Vipers: 105

Oklahoma City Blue: 112

Another road loss for the Vipers, this time at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder affiliate. Darius Morris led the good guys with 31 points, but they couldn’t outdo a balanced OKC attack. Alex Caruso and Dakari Johnson led the Blue with 23 and 21, respectively.

Carson’s Commentary Trifecta:

  • When the threes aren’t falling, the Vipers are a completely different team. Not in a good way. They don’t need to be on a record-breaking level like their NBA affiliate, but they need to at least be respectable to give themselves a chance to win.
  • Isaiah Taylor, please come back. The explosive rookie guard from Texas has been out with a groin injury, and the pace he provides is sorely missed.
  • Another source of scoring that is missed is Le’Bryan Nash, and he’s been playing! After showcasing his versatile offensive arsenal early, he scored 7, 7, and 4 points in the past three games. He needs to be a spark off the bench for the Vipers.

Rental Rockets Report:

Chinanu Onuaku: Played in both matches against SLC, averaging 11 points and 9 rebounds. He had a season high four blocks in their 12/16 victory.

See two of the blocks in this video:

Kyle Wiltjer: Did not play in any of the three games. He did get dunked on in the waning moments of the Rockets’ win over the Suns Wednesday, which he would tell you is an honor and a privilege. It’s safe to assume that with Clint Capela on the shelf for the Rockets, Wiltjer won’t be seen around these parts until 2017.

What’s Next?

Tonight at Austin Spurs

The first matchup of the Texas rivalry in 2016. Last year, the San Antonio affiliate eliminated RGV from the postseason in a tightly contested first round series.

12/27 at Iowa Energy

The Energy currently hold the worst record in the D-League at 2-13, and as I write this, have lost nine straight. They do possess former NBAer JaKarr Sampson and former Michigan State star Kalin Lucas.