SANTA CRUZ, California – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers held off the Reno Bighorns for a 160-153 victory to wrap up day four of the 2015 NBA D-League Showcase presented by Samsung.
After trailing by as many as 29 in the game, Reno found themselves down a single point at 154-153 with 31.9 seconds left after Tajuan Porter nailed a 28-foot three-pointer. The Vipers’ Isaiah Canaan dribbled to drain the clock on the next possession and pulled up from beyond the arc to respond with a three of his own and put his team back in front by two possessions. Rio Grande Valley forced a five-second inbound turnover after the ensuing timeout and hit three-of-four free throws down the stretch to withstand the comeback.
Five Vipers players scored at least 20 points, led by Canaan, the Houston Rockets’ assignee, recorded 29 points, 12 assists and five rebounds. Also on assignment from Houston, Clint Capela added 25 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks, while fellow Rocket Nick Johnson scored 24 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. Chris Johnson netted 25 points in the win, while Glen Rice Jr. came off the bench to score 22 points.
Reno’s Jordan Hamilton scored 20 points in each half for his game-high 40 on 15-of-22 shooting with nine rebounds. Porter provided 26 total points on 6-of-13 three-point shooting in 22 minutes of relief. Brady Heslip contributed 25 points, while David Wear posted a double-double of 14 points and 16 rebounds for the Bighorns.
The two teams traded blows in the early stages of the game, with four lead changes and four ties in the first 4:26 of the opening quarter. With the score knotted at 15-15, the Vipers forced 13 Bighorns misses on 17 shots amidst a 25-12 run to close the first and open up a 40-27 lead. Rio Grande Valley held Reno’s top-ranked offense, who came into tonight averaging 140.1 points per game, to 11-of-32 shooting (34%).
The Vipers maintained an advantage throughout the entire second quarter and by as many as 29 thanks in part to a potent offensive attack that posted 48 points on 19-of-34 shooting (.560), with nine different players getting in the scoring column. RGV kept Reno at bay by cleaning the glass in the second for 23 rebounds to the Bighorns’ 11 and led 88-64 at the half.
Reno’s offense came alive out of the break to hit 19-of-31 shots and score 53 points, including 10 points from both Heslip and Wear. Down 106-81 with 7:37 left in the third, Reno nailed 13 of their final 19 shots while forcing six turnovers in a 36-19 run to close the quarter. The Bighorns hit 8-of-13 three-pointers in the third to the Vipers’ 1-of-6 from distance to help close the gap to 125-117 heading into the fourth.
RGV responded with baskets on the six separate occasions that Reno cut the game to one possession in the fourth quarter, maintaining their advantage they established since the 7:10 mark in the first. The Vipers overcame seven fourth quarter turnovers by continuing their offensive consistency with 11-of-21 buckets (.520), as they were over 50-percent shooting in all four frames and 60-of-106 (.570) overall en route to their new franchise record for points in a game.
Reno (9-13) will be back in Santa Cruz for their next game for a matchup against the Warriors on Friday, Jan. 23 at 7 p.m. PT. Rio Grande Valley (11-12) will head home, as they will host the defending D-League Champion Fort Wayne Mad Ants on Friday at 7 p.m. CT.