BAKERSFIELD, CA, (Nov. 14, 2014) — The Texas Legends traveled to Bakersfield for the season opener and found themselves in a shootout with the Jam. The two teams combined for 76 points in the first quarter, but the Legends defense overwhelmed the Jam in the second half leading to a 127-125 victory.
The Legends got off to a slow start, going down by as many as 20 in the first quarter. The Jam were outscored 32-35 in the second to cut the deficit to 9 going into the locker room. Halftime proved to be just what the Legends needed as they came out firing, taking their first lead since the early minutes with 21 left to play. Texas used their outside shooting to stifle the Jam, shooting 51% overall and 50% from outside.
The fourth quarter saw the Legends start from behind again, but Renaldo Balkman’s 3-point shot two minutes in grabbed the lead that never vanished. With 1:45 to go the Legends crept up by 5 (their largest lead of the night), but Tyler Ennis answered quickly to make it a one possession game. Bakersfield had a chance to send the game to overtime but missed a last second jumper sending the Legends off with a 1-0 start.
The Legends’ victory was the definition of a team effort as seven of the eight players who saw minutes hit double-digits. The team’s NBA veterans combined for 50 points on the night. Balkman led the team with 26 points going 4-4 from behind the arc, and Mike James followed closely with 24 and a team-high 6 assists. Bernard James led the team in rebounds and blocks with nine boards and six denied shots while adding 13 points. Eric Griffin posted a well-rounded game with 22 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocked shots.
Phoenix Suns’ assignee TJ Warren had a game-high 40 points while fellow assignee Tyler Ennis added 25. Elijah Millsap had the game’s only double-double with 21 points and 11 rebounds.