Feb 20, 2010

Vipers versus Maine... and MORE

What time is it? Game Time...! Only tonight it is a little later than usual. The Vipers have tipped off most of their regular weekend night games at 7:30. Tonight tip-off moves to 8 pm because both the RGV's hockey team and the Vipers play games today on February 20th. It is 3:44 and the hockey game has just ended. The State Farm Arena, (still getting used to the name) has promised us that they will have the arena ready for an 8:00 pm tip-off. The arena crew is busy as we speak hopefully they get it done in time.

Back to the basketball... The Vipers haven't played a game since February 9th. That's a 10-day lay-off which included the All-Star Break and some roster moves as well.

Let's re-cap

February 8th - Garrett Temple earns Gatorade Call-up to Houston Rockets. Will Conroy's 10-Day expires, returns to the Vipers. Vipers acquire guard/forward Russell Carter.

February 9th Vipers beat Ft. Wayne Mad Ants 118-101. Will Conroy posts triple-double

February 10th - Vipers scheduled game versus Springfield Armor is postponed due to weather conditions in the Northeast. Vipers return home to RGV. Mike Harris and Vipers coaching staff travels to Dallas, TX for D-League All-Star Game.

February 13th - Mike Harris scores 14 points to help Western Conference All-Stars beat East All Stars 98-81

February 15th - Vipers release Center Julian Sensley and acquire Forward/Center Kevin Rogers

February 16th - Vipers release Russell Carter before he ever played a game with the club.

February 18th - NBA Trading deadline deal by Rockets. Rockets acquire G - Kevin Martin , F/C- Hilton Armstrong from Kings and G/F Jared Jeffries, and F/C Jodan Hill from Knicks. Rockets send Joey Dorsey and Carl Landry to Kings. Tracy McGrady to Knicks.

February 19th - Rockets re-assign Jermaine Taylor to Rio Grande Valley. Vipers acquire G- Kenny Hasbrouck.

February 20th - Rockets sign Garrett Temple to second 10-Day Contract.

Whew... obviously a lot of activity going into game one of the weekend double-header with the Maine Red Claws who have had their own share of roster turn-over this season. They still sit at the second spot of the Eastern Conference.

One of the more intriguing story-lines is the two former Rice Owls, Mike Harris for RGV and newly acquired Morris Almond for Maine. Although they play different positions they are two of the top scorers in Rice history (Harris 1, Almond 4 all time), and are two of the top scorers in the D-League.

It should be a fun match-up at the Dodge. Looks like the 8pm tipoff is gonna happen. As I am finishing this post. The arena crew is just about done setting up. Oh Happy DAY!

Gotta go for now... I gotta do the pre game interview. For now.. always remember... Rule #76: No Excuses Play like a champion...

Feb 2, 2010

Vipers Win...All Stars and MORE!

I know it has been a long time since I have posted but I will do my best to keep updating much more regularly. Fact of the matter is finding time to blog has been tough. My on-road responsibilities have increased this season, and I find myself with less time to post as I had in our previous two seasons. I will make an effort to post as much as I can moving forward. I told the Doctor Professor I would....and promised the same thing to Scott Schroeder at RU. So here goes nothing...

The Vipers won today 106-88 at Tingley Coliseum in one of the stranger games you will ever see. The Vipers were down by as many as 16 points in the first half only to come back and lead by as many as 20! There was only one tie, and one lead change. Once the Vipers grabbed the lead, they never relinquished it. This game also saw the Vipers score 44 3rd quarter points,, a new franchise record. (I don't know what the D-League record is for this, but it has to be close.) The Vipers scored more points in the the third than the T-Birds scored in the entire second half (39)! Strange game indeed.

Chris Finch told me in the post game interview that he was embarrassed by the play in the first half. Who could blame him?  He hasn't been happy with the effort over the last few games, even if the team is on a six game win streak. He thinks his club should be playing with more of a sense of urgency. The team seems to be a bit lost with Will Conroy up with the big club in Houston. Today they had Garrett run the offense coming out of the intermission and it seemed to energize everyone on the floor. The Vipers played with Temple, Antonio Anderson, Jermaine Taylor, Ernest Scott and Mike Harris to start the second half. Obviously... (Jonah says I say obviously a lot... so I threw it in here for fun)  the adjustment worked.

The Vipers are beating the mediocre teams right now, but will that get it done later against the elite? I feel there are five potentially elite teams right now in the D-League. RGV, Iowa, Austin, Maine, Idaho. Right now these are the only teams I feel have any shot of winning the championship. The Vipers have handled Austin so far this year 4-1 record (when they didn't have Malik Hairston) but Austin is playing much better. The Vipers also swept Iowa at their building(s), but they now have a much more in-shape Jeffers, Cartier Martin back from Golden State and now Courtney Sims. We have yet to play Maine and Idaho added a couple solid pieces the last couple of days in Andre Barrett and Joe Dabbert. They are MUCH better than their 13-11 record would indicate.

Can the Vipers, as they are currently assembled, beat any of these teams in a three game series? If they get Joey back from Houston...which is a big IF, I think we could beat 2 of the four. I do think the Vipers need to make a move to solidify their position as a championship contender.

There are a lot of questions on what to do to improve the roster, because there are a lot of "What-Ifs". What if Will Conroy comes back when Lowry is healthy in Houston. What if Joey doesn't come back from Houston or gets traded in a deal for McGrady. What if Mike gets an offer he can't refuse from overseas? What if Antonio Anderson gets a call-up from an NBA team. A lot of questions that when answered can impact what type of move the Vipers need to make.

There was some good news to pass a long today other than the Vipers win over ABQ. ALL_STARS!!

The Vipers have three players that have been recognized as D-League All-Stars. Mike Harris, Antonio Anderson, and former assignment player Joey Dorsey. Also because the Vipers are in first place Chris Finch and his staff (Paul Mokeski and Jai Steadman) along with trainer Joe Resendez will be in charge of the Western Conference All-Stars.

The Vipers have never had an All-star actually play in the game. CJ Watson was named to the team in year one, but had been called up to Golden State by then.

This is a huge honor for everyone involved and for the entire Vipers organization. This year has been great, and it is only getting better.

By the way don't forget the Watch Party at JACKSONS tomorrow! Also Will Conroy and the Rockets are in action tonight...!

For now.. ADB telling you.. always remember... Rule #76 Play like a Champion!

Jan 9, 2010

Return By Harris Sparks Vipers Win Over Energy

DES MOINES, Iowa – Mike Harris may not have started in his return to the Rio Grande Valley line-up, but he made his return to the squad count. Harris tallied a double-double by scoring 27 points and hauling in 12 rebounds at the Vipers knocked off the Eastern Conference leading Iowa Energy 109-100 Saturday night at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium. The loss was the first at home all season for the Energy.

The Vipers got out a strong first half start by scoring the first eight points of the game. Rio Grande Valley led by nine at the end of the first stanza 30-21. The second quarter was more of the same for Rio Grande Valley. The Vipers pushed the lead to as many as 16 and led by 11 at the end of the first 24 minutes 59-47. Garret Temple scored 16 first half points, including four three pointers to help lead the Viper charge.

Iowa Head Coach Nick Nurse, who is Viper Head Coach Chris Finch’s assistant for the British National team, rallied his troops in the third quarter. After the Vipers began the quarter on a 9-4 lead to push the lead to 17, The Energy rallied by going on a 15-0 run, led by Pat Carroll’s seven points on the charge and trailed 68-64. With 1:34 remaining in the third quarter Sean Barnette’s three pointer gave Iowa their first lead of the game. Iowa lead 79-76 going into the final period.

The Vipers rallied behind Harris who scored 13 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. After falling behind by seven with 9:27 remaining in the game, the Vipers proceeded on a 13-2 run to give the Vipers a 91-87 lead with just over five minutes remaining. It was a lead they did not relinquish. The Vipers outscored Iowa 33-21 in the final frame to earn their fifth road win of the season.

Harris led five double-digit Viper scorers with his 27. His double-double was his third of the season. Temple finished the game with 21, with four assists. Meanwhile reigning D-League Player of the Month Antonio Anderson finished two rebounds shy of a triple double as he scored 14, while dishing out a game-high 11 assists. Will Conroy added 14 points and nine assists, and Houston assignee Joey Dorsey scored only 7 while hauling in 11 boards.

Carroll’s 29 points lead all scorers as he led the Iowa charge. He hit 12 of his 17 shots, including four three pointers. Curtis Stinson finished the game two rebounds, and two assists shy of his second straight triple-double as he scored 16. Former Viper Jeff Trepagnier struggled with his shot as he hit just three of his 12 shots scoring only nine points.

The Vipers and Energy will square off again on Sunday night. The venue will shift however, as they will move to the normal Iowa home building, the Wells Fargo Arena. Tip-off for Sunday’s match-up is scheduled for 6:00pm CST.

Jan 6, 2010


BOISE, Idaho – Houston Rockets assignee Joey Dorsey tied a career high with 27 points and set a new career high in rebounds with 22 as the Rio Grande Valley Vipers knocked off the Bakersfield Jam 115-107 Wednesday afternoon at the NBA Development League Showcase in Boise Idaho. The Vipers are now 11-4 on the season while the Jam fall to 3-13 on the year. The win for RGV is just their second in franchise history at the 2010 NBA D-League Showcase.

In a game with little rhythm the Vipers took a 58-50 lead into half time. The Vipers went on a 9-2 run capped off by a Joey Dorsey tip-in at the 3:31 mark of the second quarter to take a 50-40 lead. They would expand their first half lead to as many as 13 before going into the locker room with an eight point lead.

The Jam would not go quietly, especially in the third quarter. The Jam, after falling behind by nine, proceeded on a 14-5 run, capped off by a Rodney Web jumper to tie the game at 70 with a little over four minutes left to play in the half. The rest of third quarter was mostly Vipers. RGV hit four three-pointers, including three by Ernest Scott on a 16-5 run to end the quarter to go into the final stanza with an 86-75 lead. The Vipers would lead by as many as 16 in the final quarter en route to the eight point victory.

Dorsey was perfect 11-1 from the field o lead all scorers with his 27 points, tying his career high set on 12/21 versus the Reno Bighorns. Five additional Vipers scored in double-figures Antonio Anderson had a strong bounce back game after scoring just four points on Monday, he tallied 17 and dished out seven assists to help the Viper cause. Ernest Scott hit four three-pointers off the bench to tally 12 points, while Will Conroy pitched in with 14 points and seven assists. The Vipers dominated on the boards, out-rebounding the Jam 47-36.

Bakersfield’s Amara Sy finished a rebound shy of a double-double after tallying 24 points. Jeremy Wise and James Jackson each added 19 points in the loss for Bakersfield.

The Vipers will continue their stretch of games away from Dodge Arena on Saturday when they travel to Des Moines, Iowa to face the Iowa Energy. It will be the first of back-to-back games against the Eastern Conference leaders. 

Jan 5, 2010

Showcase Day 1 Re-Cap. Other Stuff

Hello Viper Nation...

Well we are finished with Day 1 of the 2010 D-League Showcase.

Seeing as I am sitting next to the great Scott Schroeder, who is to blogging as this guy is to professional wrestling, I figured I should go ahead and try to put in a thought provoking blog on ITK. So here goes...

The Vipers dropped their first game in five tries today, but you knew that already. The real story is that the Vipers are once again trying to find themselves after making the big trade to bring in the D-League's all-time leading scorer Will Conroy in. Anytime a team makes a move its for a reason and the reason to bring in Conroy was simply this, THE ROCKETS REALLY LIKE WILL CONROY.

Conroy was the last person cut off of the Rockets training camp roster. The Rockets instead with Pops Mensah-Bonsu who of course has since been waived and has subsequently joined the Toronto Raptors... again.  Now let me remind everyone that Houston does not have an open roster spot at the moment.

When Mike Harris was called up to the big-club that ate up the 15th and final spot. But you should also be aware that January 10th, all players with non-guaranteed NBA contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season. So expect Houston or a lot of other NBA teams to be letting some of these players go.

Remember if Harris is waived by Houston, he would have to clear NBA waivers first, then (if he chooses) he can return back to the D-League with RGV. He could also sign a pair of 10-day contracts with Houston, after he returns to the D-League to further prove himself to the Rockets front office brass, and make a little NBA money.

One remote possibility is that the Rockets allow Harris' contract to become guaranteed and send him to the D-League as an assignment player to further enhance his development. I don't see this happening, even though Harris does have assignment eligibility as he is considered a second year NBA player as we speak.

The Vipers will hope to bounce back against Bakersfield, who have struggled since the start of the season. There are rumors floating around that they may be acquiring THIS GUY. But I don't think he will be here in time for tomorrow's game. THANK GOD.

Here are a couple of other notes from the Showcase so far.

  • Frisco Head Coach Nancy Lieberman is in the house. Nice to see her here, they start play next season. Going to try and snag an interview with her later. 
  • There is a Paul Woolpert sighting in the building. It was kind of awkward watching him watch his former team in action.
  • Sundiata Gaines was called up today by the Utah Jazz... hey I guess the showcase served its purpose eh?
More later from Day 2.

Jan 4, 2010


BOISE, Idaho – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers were outscored 56-42 in the second half en-route to a disappointing 101-84 defeat to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds in the opening game of the NBA Development League Showcase Monday afternoon at Qwest Arena in Boise. The Vipers are now 0-3 in their first game of a D-League Showcase.

The Vipers were playing the second half of a back-to-back after winning in Los Angeles on Sunday, the travel seemed to affect them as they scored just 42 points in the first half. The Vipers also committed 13 first half turnovers but trailed only by three at the half. The Vipers kept it close thanks to Garrett Temple’s 13 first half points.

The Vipers (10-4) never saw the lead for the remainder of the game. Albuquerque (5-9) began the third quarter on 13-4 run capped off by a Yaroslov Korolev three-point play to give the Thunderbirds a 58-46 lead with 8:12 remaining in the third quarter. The T-birds would close out the third stanza on a 7-0 run to lead 77-64 at the end of three quarters. Albuquerque would lead by as many as 19 as they cruised to the win.

Temple led all Viper scorers with 18 points. Will Conroy scored 13 and hauled in six rebounds in his first start in a Viper uniform. Craig Winder and Jonathan Wallace scored 11 and 10 points respectively off the bench in the losing effort for Rio Grande Valley. Houston Rockets assignee Joey Dorsey hauled in a team high 11 rebounds for RGV.

Korolev and Carlos Powell each tallied 20 points to shoulder the scoring load for the Thunderbirds. Korolev also added a team-high seven rebounds. Antoine Agudio, starting for the injured Keith McLeod, scored 15, hauled in 5 boards and dished out five assists while Shane Edwards chipped in 14 points off the bench in the win for Albuquerque. It was the Thunderbirds first win versus Rio Grande Valley since January 9th of 2009.

The Vipers will return to action on Wednesday when they round out their 2010 D-League Showcase appearance with a match-up against the Bakersfield Jam. Tip-off is schedule for 2:45 Central time. 

Dec 19, 2009



 The Rio Grande Valley Vipers surrendered an 11 point fourth quarter lead and missed several opportunities late, as they dropped their second straight game 94-89 to the Tulsa 66ers in overtime Saturday night at the Tulsa Convention Center. Saturday gave the Vipers their first pair of consecutive losses during the 2009-10 season.

The Vipers began the game sluggish offensively for the second straight night shooting just 39% at the end of the first period and trailing Tulsa 20-16. Vipers trailed by only one at halftime after outscoring Tulsa 21-18 in the second stanza.

The Vipers began the third quarter hot and looked like they would pull away. They scored 10 of the first 13 points in the third frame and eventually outscored Tulsa 35-23 in the period to take an 11 point lead into the final frame. In the fourth quarter Tulsa exploded on a 20-2 run and led 81-74 with four minutes remaining in regulation. The Vipers would answer back with a 9-2 run of their own to close out the quarter and had a chance to take the lead before Tulsa final fourth quarter possession, but Viper forward Mike Harris missed the first of his two free throws and could only tie the game at 83. Mustafa Shakur missed a jumper on Tulsa’s final possession of regulation, and Garrett Temple missed a fall-away jumper at the buzzer from 18 feet out to send the game into the extra session.

The Vipers once again struggled to find the bucket in overtime. With RGV down 91-89 the Vipers had three consecutive possessions on which they could have tied or taken the lead. The most dramatic of which involved a designed play out of time out for Ernest Scott who missed a three-point attempt from the top of the key with 15 seconds left on the game clock.

 Harris netted a new career high for points with 35 on Saturday night. Harris added 12 rebounds to tally his second double-double of the season. Houston assignee Joey Dorsey added his fifth double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and tying his season high with 18 rebounds. Antonio Anderson scored 17 while Garrett Temple added sixteen to round out the double-digit scorers for RGV. Larry Owens led the scoring output for Tulsa with 19, while Mustafa Shakur added 13 points and six assists in the winning effort.

The Vipers return home Monday for the first of three straight games at Dodge Arena when they host the Reno Bighorns. Former Vipers Desmon Farmer and Marcus Hubbard will make their returns to Dodge Arena in visiting uniforms. Tip-off from Hidalgo is schedule for 7:30 pm

Vipers vs Tulsa 12-19-09 Pre-Game

Tulsa Convention Center - 7:00 PM Tip

Greetings from Tulsa... for the final time this season. Yes the schedule makers in the D-League have given us two trips to Tulsa which happens to be our second closest league opponent, but they are both within the first 9 games of the season.  Very odd, but our trips to Tulsa come to an end tonight.

OK lets talk about last night... but please not for long. The effort by the Vipers last night was non-existent. RGV had an abysmal third quarter. Tulsa began the stanza on a 22-2 run, after they already led by nine at half-time, and ran their lead to 29 which put the game out of reach early in the second half.

The Vipers didn't dominate the boards, they didn't distribute the ball well, and they did NOT shoot the three well either. The Vipers were taking poor shots, contested threes, threes in transition, and were missing lay-ups. Look for the lack of effort to change tonight.

I mentioned to Coach Finch in our pre-game interview that sometimes teams who are winning, but not playing at their best need to get "punched in the mouth" in order to wake up. He agreed and said he got punched in a few other places last night, I agreed.

Once again OKC asignee Byron Mullens is listed as questionable and won't play. I have not seen him in the building. It is likely that he is in OKC getting treatment on his undisclosed injury. I am sure its no where near as gruesome as the one Carl Landry sustained last night in Dallas. OUCH. But hey that's one way to get Dirk out of game... lodge three pieces of your teeth in his elbow.

Pre-game show for tonight begins at 6:50. Tip-off will be somewhere around 7:10. Follow all the action on 104.9 JACK FM. OR don't forget to watch the game, (with the radio up of course) on NBA Futurecast

Vipers starters remain the same

C - Joey Dorsey
F - Mike Harris
F - Antonio Anderson
G - Garrett Temple
G - Jonathan Wallace.

for Tulsa here are their starters

C - Steven Hill
F - Larry Owens...(he was money last night)
F - Cecil Brown .. (two points off his career high last night)
G - Mustafa Shakur.
G - Moses Ehambe.

PS. Don't forget to stop by the Vipers pro-shop at 4500 North 10th Street in McAllen. We have a great holiday package available. Check out the details HERE

Dec 18, 2009


TULSA, Oklahoma – The Tulsa 66ers expanded on their nine point half time lead by starting the third quarter on a 22-2 run to put the game out of reach as they ended the Rio Grande Valley Vipers six-game win streak with a 108 -90 win Friday night at the Tulsa Convention Center. The loss was just the Vipers second of the season with both defeats coming on the road.

Friday’s game looked like it would be a tight game early. The two squads traded the lead 14 times in the first 12 minutes. The 66ers then led by as many as 11 in the first half. The Vipers notched the final basket of the second quarter, a late lay-up by Antonio Anderson hoping it could lead to a momentum boost to start the second half. That boost did not happen as the 66ers outscored RGV 34-21 in the third stanza of hoops to take an 89-67 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We didn’t come to play tonight,” Vipers Head Coach Chris Finch said. “I could kind of smell this one coming, we had a good week of practice but were not ready to play this one tonight.”

Mike Harris, the D-League’s second leading scorer, tallied 17 of his 19 points in the first half while chipping in with six rebounds in the loss for the Vipers. Antonio Anderson scored 17 of his team high 23 points in the second half while also dishing out a team high six assists. Houston Rockets assignee Joey Dorsey finished a rebound shy of a double-double as he added 11 points, scoring all of them in the first half.

Tulsa’s Larry Owens led their scoring output with 27 points, chipping in with seven boards and four assists in the win for the 66ers. Mustafa Shakur dominated the point guard match-up scoring 16 points dishing out eight assists and hauling in six boards with just one turnover. Cecil Brown knocked down four three-point hoops and scored 22 points, just one off of his season high.

The Vipers and 66ers will meet again Saturday night at the Tulsa Convention Center. It will be the final time the Vipers will play a game in Tulsa during the 2009-10 season. Tip-off  for the re-match is schedule for 7:30 pm. Viper fans can follow all the action on the radio by tuning in to104.9 JACK FM.

GAME PREVIEW 12/18/09 - VIPERS (6-1) vs Tulsa 66ers (4-5)

Tulsa Convention Center

Game #8 - Road Game # 5 - RGV record vs. Tulsa in 2009-10: (2-0)

Greetings from Tulsa, OK. The Vipers will try for the their 7th straight if they can get another road win in Tulsa. The last time RGV was in Tulsa they struggled in the first half, mostly due to an early and topsy-turvy travel day on the second half of a back to back. The Vipers rallied in the second two periods to knock off Tulsa 94-89. 

First lets break down the 66ers. They have made a few key changes to personnel in the last few days. Forward Keith Clark was waived due to injury earlier in the week, but just today he was re-acquired only to be shipped off to the L.A. D-Fenders for forward Deron Washington. Washington was the third overall selection in the D-League draft by LA and was averaging 9.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists for the D-Fenders before the deal.Devon Hardin was waived due to injury to make room for Washington on the roster.

Guard Zabian Dowdell was also added. Dowdell was a legit scorer and play maker at Virgina Tech and overseas in Italy. He gives Tulsa much better depth at the guard position.

Tulsa also added center Steven Hill back to their roster. He might be the reason for a new player rights rule in the D-League as well. Last season Hill was an assignment player for Oklahoma City in the 2008-09 season. He was waived by the Thunder and could not go back to the 66ers when he signed a D-League contract. He was claimed off of the waiver pool by the Utah Flash and the 66ers had to trade their best player at the time (Ronald Dupree) to Utah to get Hill back. Not only did this deplete the 66ers (who were awful last year) they didn't get to use Hill much as he ended up missing the rest of the season after January 27th. Now the league allows D-League affiliates to retain rights of players who have played or have been on the active roster of an NBA team for a certain period of time. 

One quick note, OKC assignee Byron Mullens is not expected to play tonight. He is a strong offensive player and rebounder for Tulsa do the Vipers depth in this department should shine through. 

Tulsa should be rested for this one. The Vipers will need to play string out of the gate if they are to win their seventh straight.

For the Vipers. How else can I put it, they are the hottest team in the Western Conference. The Vipers are winning at home and on the road and lately have been winning convincingly and not letting games come down to the final possession. 

Vipers Head Coach Chris Finch said at lunch today that he still doesn't know yet how good his team is. The reason? The Vipers have only played three teams in their first seven games. They will only play three different teams in their first nine. Other than their home game Monday versus Reno, the Vipers will play only Tulsa, Austin, and Albuquerque over their first 12 games. The Vipers won't play a team outside their conference until January 9th when they travel to Iowa. 

As for the game tonight expect the Vipers to try to keep the pace up and let the offense of Mike Harris, Garrett Temple, and Antonio Anderson continue to carry them. The point guard match-up is huge. Tulsa point man Mustafa Shakur must be contained and forced to make uncomfortable decisions with the ball. Expect the Vipers to give him a few different defensive looks.

The Vipers in my opinion have better personnel, however that does not always mean a victory for you especially on the road. 

Here are the Vipers starters

C - Joey Dorsey
F - Mike Harris
F- Antonio Anderson
G - Garrett Temple
G - Jonathan Wallace.


Tulsa brings out this starting line-up

C - Steven Hill
F - Larry Owens
F - Latavious Williams
G - Moses Ehambe
G - Mustafa Shakur

Mullens is not playing and I do not even see him dressed or on the bench yet. Not many other surprises in the starting line-up

Don't forget to follow all the action on 104.9 JACK FM and on NBA Futurecast. Don King is the broadcaster for Tulsa... no... not this Don King. Kinger is one of the Vet broadcasters in the league. He calls a good game and is a heck of a nice guy. He will have the call on Futurecast tonight