Stars, Hustle Stand in the Way of Skyforce Playoff Hopes

By Matt Dykstra | March 14, 2019

This weekend’s two-game home stand at the Sanford Pentagon will likely decide the post-season fate of the Sioux Falls Skyforce as the NBA G League’s regular season nears its end. With just five games left, the Force are currently sitting with a 23-22 record, and are just 1.5 games out of the final two playoff spots held by the Memphis Hustle and the Salt Lake City Stars (25-21).

It’s fitting, then, that Sioux Falls’ last two home games come against the two team’s it has an opportunity to unseat in the 2019 NBA G League Playoff race. The first matchup of the weekend comes on Friday night against the Stars, who appear to have brought an army with them in an attempt to put the Force’s playoff hopes to rest.

Salt Lake City, now winners of four-straight contests, will be led by Utah Jazz assignees Grayson Allen and Tony Bradley. In addition, the Stars will be helped by both Utah Jazz two-way players in Tyler Cavanaugh and Naz Mitrou-Long.

In eight total games on assignment with the Stars, Allen has averaged 15.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per contest. More importantly, Salt Lake City is 7-1 in games in which Allen has played so far this season.

Though there are no elimination implications on the line just yet, a loss to the Stars on Friday or to the Memphis Hustle on Sunday would almost certainly seal Sioux Falls fate in missing the playoffs again this season.

To help matters for the Force, Miami HEAT two-way player Yante Maten has returned to Sioux Falls as part of his two-way contract and will be in uniform this weekend. After dominating the G League over the first two months of the season, Maten has slowly worked his way back up to speed after an ankle injury sidelined him for nearly a month and a half. In his most recent outing, Maten put up a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds against the Texas Legends before rejoining the NBA club.