The Sioux Falls Skyforce (1-0) kicked off their NBA D-League title defense with a dominant win over the Salt Lake City Stars (0-1) Saturday night at the Sanford Pentagon.
For most of Sioux Falls’ 117-100 win, the team looked a lot like the 2015-16 version that won an NBA D-League-record 40 regular season games and the championship. The Skyforce were sharp on both ends of the court, using suffocating defense while spreading the floor and pounding the ball inside on offense.
The four members of the Skyforce’s championship team picked up right where they left off, as Briante Weber, Keith Benson, Bubu Palo and Jabril Trawick combined to score 71 points. Weber’s triple-double led the way (14 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds) while Benson scored 22 points to go with 12 rebounds and five blocks.
The ‘Force broke the game open in the second quarter, outscoring the Stars 38-19 to capture a 25-point halftime lead. Sioux Falls held Salt Lake City to just 24.3 percent shooting and forced 12 turnovers in the half while pounding out 24 points in the paint and connecting on nine-of-12 three-pointers.
Marcus Posley was a catalyst in Sioux Falls’ second-quarter onslaught, scoring all 11 of his points in the frame on 4-of-5 shooting.
Sioux Falls led by as many as 31 in the third quarter, but a 16-4 run late in the frame by the Stars cut their deficit to 14. A Trawick three-pointer in the closing seconds pushed the lead back to 17, and the Skyforce cruised to the win in the fourth quarter.
Seven Skyforce players scored in double digits. Okaro White had a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Henry Sims led the way for Salt Lake City with a game-high 30 points while adding eight rebounds. JJ O’Brien added 20 points and six boards for the Stars.
The Skyforce were also tough on the glass, outrebounding the Stars 63-40.
Sioux Falls hosts the Delaware 87ers Friday at 7 p.m. at the Sanford Pentagon.