The Springfield Armor entered the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase and found themselves scheduled to play an opponent that historically has not treated them well. Springfield has never beaten the Reno Bighorns, as the all-time series stood and 5-0 in favor of host Reno.
It looked as if that streak was in danger of ending in the first-half. Jolted by early hot shooting from Christian Polk the Armor raced out to 61-50 halftime lead at the 2013 NBA D-League Showcase. Polk connected on 4-of-5 three point attempts in the first half and finished with a team-high 21 points.
One of Reno's greatest strengths is the experience and poise possessed by many of their core players. Marcus Landry, formerly an NBA D-League All-Star and Honorable Mention player back in 2011, returned to the Bighorns this season following a campaign overseas. Landry was at the helm of a third quarter comeback, going on a personal 9-0 run after connecting on three consecutive three-pointers, the first of which recaptured the lead for Reno at 68-66. He finished with a game-high 27 points on 7-of-13 shooting from behind the arc.
Combined with the effort from Landry was the collective defensive effort of Reno, which held the Armor to only 11 points in the third quarter.
Jerome Jordan, recently acquired through a trade with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, appeared in 21 games with the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 season. Jordan, who had a game-winning lay-up in Saturday evening's victory over the Iowa Energy, followed that up with an effort that included 22 points and six rebounds.
In the fourth-quarter Springfield began chipping away, taking advantage of costly turnovers and Reno shooting that cooled off from their hot third-quarter. They tied the game at 89 before Utah Jazz assignee, Kevin Murphy cashed in on a traditional three-point-play that returned the lead to Reno at 92-89. Jordan then hit two free-throws which helped seal an eventual 97-91 victory for Reno in front of its home crowd.
In addition to the solid outing by Polk, James Mays collected a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Armor.
Springfield and Reno both return to action on Wednesday, squaring off against Sioux Falls and Erie respectively.