Rio Grande Valley Vipers: 103
Reno Bighorns: 83
It was a well-rounded offensive attack, and a strong defensive performance, that led RGV over Reno in Nevada. Without explosive point guard Isaiah Taylor, Darius Morris and Jarvis Threatt paced the Vipers. Morris, an NBA veteran, finished with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. They also got double-doubles from Houston Rockets assignee Chinanu Onuaku (10 points, 10 rebounds) and Gary Payton II (15 and 10 boards).
RGV Vipers: 140
LA D-Fenders: 125
Gary Payton II exploded offensively. With his Hall of Fame father in the crowd, Glove 2.0 finished with 51 points on 20/29 shooting, hitting seven threes, while adding 11 rebounds. Kyle Wiltjer also knocked down seven threes, scoring 27 points, after a brief stint with the big club. Three Los Angeles players finished with 20+ points, but it didn’t matter, they could not stop the rookie out of Oregon State.
RGV Vipers: 121
Salt Lake City Stars: 116
After surrendering a 17-point lead at home, the Vipers were able to bounce back and hold off a feisty Salt Lake team. UNC alumnus Marcus Paige was a thorn in RGV’s side all night, using his quickness to get to the basket, scoring a game high 21 points. Paige’s college teammate, J.P. Tokoto, and Glove 2.0 each finished with 20 points, and Nanu Onuaku locked down another double-double (15 points & 13 rebounds).
Carson’s Commentary Trifecta:
- Gary Payton II was the well deserved NBA D-League Performer of the Week. He’s been his expected stellar self defensively this season and has consistently rebounded the ball, 8 per game from the backcourt. Add in an improved offensive output, and GP2 could be on his way to the NBA sooner rather than later. If the D-Mo situation falls apart, maybe the Rockets could sign him and keep Bobby Brown off the team.
- The Vipers are the second-leading scoring team in the league. Their fast-paced attack is tops in the league with 92.1 field goals attempts per game.
- Chinanu Onuaku is hugely benefiting from his consistent playing time with RGV. He’s opening up offensively, showing off more of his playmaking abilities as a big man. Nanu has been a handful on the glass all season, and his motor is constantly making opposing centers work.
Rental Rockets Report:
In the last three games, 11 ppg. 9.6 rpg, also a season high 7 assists vs. LA on 12/3
27 points, including seven threes against LA on 12/3
12/7 & 12/9 at Northern Arizona Suns
Elijah Millsap, brother of big man Paul Millsap, leads the 7-1 Suns. Also, all Vipers must beware of “Airplane Mode” Derrick Jones Jr., or they will end up on a poster.
12/11 vs. Reno Bighorns
The Bighorns will look to get their first win against RGV after dropping the first two already in 2016-17. Reno is 20th in the league in scoring, tallying 97 PPG.