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Press ReleaseOREM -- Boston Celtics assignee J.R. Giddens knocked down a game-high 25 points, and Ronald Dupree chipped in his second consecutive double-double of the playoffs with 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Utah Flash earned a trip to the NBA Development League Finals with a 103-93 victory over the visiting Dakota Wizards Monday night at the McKay Events Center.
The Flash, who picked up its first victory in franchise history over Dakota, will host the Colorado 14ers Wednesday in Game 1 of the NBA D-League Finals before heading to Colorado for Games 2 and 3 (if necessary) of the best-of-three series. Tickets for Game 1 are available by calling 801-434-HOOP or at the McKay Events Center box office.
Utah defeated the 14ers both times the two teams met this season—both wins coming on April 10, with the Flash winning the completion of a 25.2 second suspended game as well as the regularly scheduled matchup.
"They (the 14ers) are a very talented and hard team to play." Flash coach Brad Jones said. "We have to be ready, focused, and committed to have a chance at them."
A J.R. Giddens lay-up capped a 15-0 first-quarter Flash run that put the Flash up 17-3 with just under five minutes left in the first quarter. Dakota battled back to cut the Utah lead to 28-24 at the end of the first period, thanks largely to Blake Ahearn's trio of three-pointers in the first 12 minutes.
Ahearn finished with 22 points on 7-of-12(58%) shooting—but knocked down just 1-of-6 (16%) shots in the second half.
"He's (Ahearn) a great player and he got going early," Giddens said. "But we were able to contain him down the stretch, and I think that was the key to us winning the game."
A David Bell three-pointer capped a Dakota 19-6 run with 2:20 left in the first quarter to pull the Wizards to within one point.
Utah took a modest four point lead into the halftime break before Giddens, who knocked down 12 points in the third quarter, connected on a lay-up to extend the Flash lead to 64-54 with 8:06 left in the third.
A Gavin Grant dunk stretched the Utah lead to 93-74 in the fourth quarter. Dakota cut the Flash lead to seven with 3:31 left, but back-to-back three-pointers from Kevin Kruger and Andre Ingram sealed the Flash victory down the stretch.
Morris Almond finished with 18 points and made 7-of-11 from the floor for the Flash. Kruger chipped in 13 points, while Ingram finished with 11. Brian Jackson added 10 points.
Maurice Baker had 16 points for Dakota, while Richard Hendrix chipped in a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards. Renaldo Major and David Monds added 18 and 12 points, respectively.
(Courtesy Utah Flash)