Utah Flash face Jam in playoffs

Winner of this 'scary' first-round showdown moves to next round

By Chris Peterson

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, April 15 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

OREM — Even though over the course of 50 regular season games, the Utah Flash have earned a spot in the playoffs as the No. 2 seed, head coach Brad Jones knows it could be over with just one bad showing.

So that's why he hopes his team is ready going into tonight's single-game elimination matchup with the 8th-seeded Bakersfield Jam at 7 p.m. at the McKay Events Center in Orem.

"If our practices the last couple of days are any indication, then this (the playoffs) is very important to them," Jones said.

The Flash finished with a 32-18 record, good for 1st in the West Division of the NBA Development League. The top-seeded Colorado 14ers chose to play the 7th-seeded Erie Bayhawks.

Utah's opponent, the Jam, were 26-24, and finished 3rd in the West Division.

While Jones is in agreement with the thinking of a single-game elimination format for the first two rounds of the postseason, he also says it would be disappointing to have one bad game and be out.

"I understand why the D-League does it, because they want the focus on developing players and not necessarily winning championships," he said. "But from a coach's point of view, it's a little scary, and anytime you're playing for a championship, you want to win."

The Flash is led by Morris Almond, who is averaging 23.9 points per game, and Kosta Koufos, who is grabbing 8.4 rebounds a contest.

The Jam's Trey Johnson leads his team in scoring with 20.7 points per game, while teammate Richard Hendrix is pulling down 10.9 rebounds per outing.

Jones knows that his team can't overlook their first round opponent.

"We have to be able to go out and compete for a full 48 minutes," he said.

While falling to the Jam would be disappointing, Jones said the season has been an overall success.

"Our first two goals were to make the playoffs and win our division, and we've done both of those," he said. "Then we wanted to have some guys called up, and I think we did well in that. And lastly, we wanted to win a championship, and I think the guys are ready and really excited."

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