The Jam entered the D-League showcase looking to prove to the D-League as a whole that they were a force to be reckoned with, even after the departure of Elijah Millsap and Chris Wright.
Archie Goodwin entered the showcase looking to prove to scouts and doubters across the basketball world that he was too good to be playing in the D-League regularly.
Both proved their point.
Through 2 games in the D-League showcase, the Jam have looked rock solid. After dispatching the Texas Legends relatively easily despite a late scare in their first game, the Jam put into into overdrive against the Sioux Falls Skyforce, opening up a 20 point lead by the end of the 3rd quarter that was never surmounted.
In both games, Archie Goodwin looked like a man on a mission.
Against the Legends, Archie had 24 points, 3 rebounds and an assist. He attacked the hoop with at times reckless abandon, and while this led to 12 free throw attempts (he hit 8 - not great conversion), it also led to some wild shooting. Archie would finish the night 7/18, and also had 3 turnovers.
Archie was assisted by the continued strong play of Earl Barron, who had 30 points and 23 rebounds, as well as surprisingly strong play off the bench by Joe Jackson, Jerel McNeal, and Jamil Wilson.
Unlike in previous games against the Legends, when NBA veteran Renaldo Balkman devastated the team with his shot-blocking, Balkman was block-less, though he did contribute a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, including 9 offensive rebounds. The Jam managed to hold off a fourth quarter rally by the Legends to win by 7, 109-102.
The second game would prove to be an even more dominant showing by the Jam.
Archie started this game off much the same way, attacking the basket constantly and with force. By halftime, he would have 18 points. However, the second half wasn't as strong, as Archie went cold and would accumulate only 4 more points over the course of the game to finish with 22 points, 5 rebounds and an assist. Ball handling was particularly troubling in the second half for Archie, as 2 of his 3 turnovers came during the 3rd and 4th quarters.
Archie's second half shooting woes were partly offset by a second half surge by Barron, who started the game quietly but would finish with 15 points. Also strong for the Jam was Wilson, who contributed not just offensively, with 13 points on 5/9 shooting, including 3/5 from beyond the arc; but also on defense, where he continued his season-long trend of stifling coverage.
Generally speaking the team played well on the defensive end, holding the Skyforce to just 39% shooting overall. Particularly impressive was the wing defense played on Andre Dawkins, who was held to just 1/10 shooting despite being one of the more impressive scoring wings in the D-League at the moment.
With their victory over the Skyforce, the Jam advance to the Showcase Championship game, where they will square off against the winner of tonight's game between the Santa Cruz Warriors and the Grand Rapids Drive. The official game time is 11am MST, and will be televised on NBA-TV.