The Austin Toros gained their second double-digit win, 94-80, over the Tulsa 66ers at the Cedar Park Center last night. It was the third time these teams had faced off against each other all season, and even more interesting in the past week.
The home team jumped out to an early lead after the first quarter, 23-16, despite losing new player Keith Clark to what looked like a wrist injury and was later pronounced a shoulder injury. After logging 2:41 in his first game of the season Clark left for the locker room and returned to the bench later in the game with an ice pack and what could only be described as a make do ace bandage sling. If the injury is capable of keeping Clark on the bench for several games it could be assumed that Clark could be cut from the team to make room for a new player. However, due to NBA training camp starting tomorrow, and the possibility of five Toros players being invited to training camp (more on that in a minute) it’s in the Toros best interest to hold on to Clark.
Tulsa outscored the Toros in the second quarter and had the opportunity to go in to halftime with a two-point lead. A hard foul committed by Ryan Reid (12 points, 12 rebounds) at the buzzer sent Terrance Woodbury to the line. Woodbury closed the gap with the Toros trailing 45-44.
Back from the half the Toros faced another injury. With 9:15 remaining in the third center Luke Zeller suffered a broken nose. His two points weren’t missed as the Toros began to pull away in the third compliments of their strong defense. The team limited Tulsa to 12 points and stretched their lead to double-digits, 67-57.
During the game the Spurs twitter community was abuzz with news of TJ Ford likely signing with the Spurs. When the Ford news was brought to Coach Jones’ attention by yours truly his facial expressions were similar to an ecstatic deer in headlights. Ford’s signing could be significant to the SSE organization as the Spurs would be able to send Ford down to Austin if they please.
“That would be terrific. I’m not so sure that TJ Ford’s thinking about coming to play for the Toros if that is true. The one thing that we have is a great relationship obviously with the Spurs and when they come here we try to make it as much like the Spurs in professionalism and the same type of comfort level that those guys have. Whether it’s him or Cory Joseph the rookie they drafted we get those guys it would be fun for our fans.”
With training camp kicking off tomorrow and China not agreeing to let NBA players out of their contract until the end of the season, many D-League players will be making appearances at training camp.
“I don’t think anything is official just yet but I could potentially lose five guys as of tomorrow night” Some guys who have had some interest are Squeaky Johnson, Justin Dentmon, Lance Thomas, Luke Zeller, and Leo Lyons all have had conversations back and forth with their agents and different NBA teams.”
Still recovering from an injury, it’s great to hear Leo Lyons, who competed in the Pan-Am games with Lance Thomas this summer, has a chance at being invited to training camp. Lyons was seen sitting on the sidelines with a walking boot
“Leo is close to being back. He’s been cleared to start doing some stuff and the teams that have been talking to him know where he is. So he may or may not go. They know what’s going on and if they still want to bring him in that’s great for Leo.”
It should be interesting to see who is still a Toro tomorrow night as the team takes on the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on the road at 7 pm CST.
Potential Training Camp Notables
- Justin Dentmon- 27 pts, 4 asts
- Lance Thomas- 11 pts, 11 rebs
- Squeaky Johnson- 13 pts, 6 asts
- Luke Zeller- 2 pts, 5 rebs, 1 broken nose
- Leo Lyons- DNP