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Monday, April 19, 2010
Phoenix beat Albirex in scorers' showcase
By ED ODEVEN
Basketball purists want to see players pass the ball and get their teammates involved. They want to watch a game featuring more than one or two primary scorers per team.
Fans were treated to a well-played, entertaining bj-league game on Sunday between the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and the Niigata Albirex BB.
The high-powered Phoenix offense withstood a bold challenge from the visitors, however, in a 107-95 triumph for Kazuo Nakamura's first-place club.
Thirteen players scored in double figures in the series finale, including seven Niigata players.
Wendell White led the Phoenix (37-9) with 28 points, including 15-for-16 at the free-throw line, and added 11 rebounds and five assists for good measure. William Knight scored 20 points, Dzaflo Larkai scored 16 and Wayne Arnold had 11.
Paul Butorac was the top scorer for Niigata (22-24), putting 16 points on the board and Uche Echefu scored 15. Spitfire guard Akitomo Takeno, a key figure in the team's early season turnaround, scored 11 points, reaching double figures for the first time since March 14.
Getting solid production from several players, the visiting Shiga Lakestars completed a weekend sweep by beating the Takamatsu Five Arrows 84-70.
Masashi Joho paced the Lakestars with 22 points and Ray Schafer scored 21 and pulled down eight rebounds. Gary Hamilton added 15 points and 17 boards and Mikey Marshall contributed 11 points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. Luke Zeller finished with 10 points and nine boards off the bench and Takamichi Fujiwara deftly dished out seven assists for Shiga (26-22).
The Lakestars opened the second half with a 14-2 spurt, started by a Joho 3-pointer, to seize control of the game. That gave them a 56-37 advantage.
For the Five Arrows (12-34), Antoine Broxsie had a team-high 17 points, Yu Okada scored 15 and Michael Gardener added 12.
Elsewhere, the host Kyoto Hannaryz, playing the role of spoiler late in the season, handed the defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings a 91-77 defeat.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, 41, scored a game-high 30 points for Kyoto (16-30) and Josh Bostic added 22 points and 12 rebounds. Reda Rhalimi posted a double-double (18 points, 16 boards).
For Ryukyu (29-19), Jeff Newton scored a team-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Anthony McHenry finished with 16 points and Masashi Obuchi had 11.
The Sendai 89ers, meanwhile, coasted to a 98-76 road win over the Toyama Grouses.
Josh Peppers led the 89ers with 25 points and All-Star center Chris Holm had team-high totals in rebounds (17) and assists (four), as well as 16 points. Gyno Pomare also scored 16 and hauled in 15 rebounds. Reserve guard Shinya Sato chipped in with 13 points, matching his season high as the 89ers completed a series sweep.
Sendai (32-14) leads third-place Niigata by 10 games in the Eastern Conference standings.
The fifth-place Grouses (15-31) find themselves four games behind the idle Tokyo Apache in the standings. Both teams have six regular-seasons games to play.
Brian Harper paced Toyama with 18 points and Bilal Abdullah scored 17.
Coming off a four-point loss, a game that snapped their 10-game winning streak, the Osaka Evessa stormed back with an 81-62 triumph over the host Rizing Fukuoka.
Two-time MVP Lynn Washington set the tone for Western Conference-leading Osaka (29-17) with a vintage performance. He had 22 points, 15 rebounds, six assists and two steals. Nile Murry added 18 points on 8-for-13 shooting and collected seven boards, David Palmer scored 13. Ryan Blackwell chipped in with 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and Hirohisa Takada added six points.
For Fukuoka (28-20), Michael Parker scored 28 points.