The Hamamatsu Highashimikawa Phoenix looked unstoppable on Saturday night against the Toyama Grouses.
Well, truth be told, the hosts’ 26-for-78 shooting effort had something to do with it, too.
Wayne Arnold scored 21 points, including 6-for-9 from 3-point range, and William Knight added 20 in Hamamatsu’s resounding 107-65 road win over Toyama.
Five Phoenix players scored in double figures, while five more also put points on the board.
Hamamatsu (31-8) outscored Toyama in each of the four quarters, including 31-12 in the second stanza to take a 59-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Coach Kazuo Nakamura’s first-place club, which has already clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot, had 24 assists to the Grouses’ six. What’s more, the Phoenix collected 14 steals, including four apiece by Masahiro Oguchi and Wendell White.
Brandon Thomas and Brian Harper paced Toyama (14-25) with 14 points apiece in the series opener.
In addition to their atrocious shooting performance from the field, the Grouses missed 18 of 27 free-throw attempts.
Elsewhere Saturday, Michael Parker’s 29-point, 16-rebound, eight-assist, four-steal effort sparked the Rizing Fukuoka to a 93-66 home victory over the Kyoto Hannaryz.
Marlyn Bryant added 18 points, Thiago Cordeiro scored 13 and Masahiro Kano matched a season-high output with 10 points.
The Rizing (25-16), the Western Conference’s No. 2 team, collected 15 steals.
Kyoto, a first-year expansion team, fell to 14-25.
John Clifford scored a team-high 17 points for the Hannaryz and Reda Rhalimi added 16 points on 8-for-11 shooting and 15 rebounds, while J.R. Inman scored nine. Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was 4-for-16 from the field and finished with eight points, and the former NBA guard had six assists and four steals.
Making substitutions early and often, Niigata Albirex BB coach Masaya Hirose’s team earned an 82-70 victory over the host Saitama Broncos.
Forward Tyrone Levett, who scored 16 points, was the only Albirex player to be on the court for 30 or more minutes. Six Niigata players had between 10 and 20 minutes of court time.
Paul Butorac scored a team-high 18 points for Niigata (19-20) and Uche Echefu added 11, while Calvin Chitwood and Antonio Burks scored nine apiece. Burks, a skilled perimeter marksman, buried 3 of 4 3-point shots.
Terrence Woodyard led Saitama (13-26) with 23 points and Terrence Roberts finished with 14.
The Broncos’ free-throw shooting woes (12-for-22) ruined their chances of beating their Eastern Conference rival.
Kevin Steenberge, a member of the Ryukyu Golden Kings’ original team in 2007-08 who rejoined the club this season, enjoyed a one-man dunk fest against the Oita HeatDevils, leading the hosts to a well-rounded 82-73 win.
Steenberge had six slam dunks, 27 points and 17 rebounds for Ryukyu, which improved to 27-14.
Masashi Obuchi and Anthony McHenry each scored 17 points for the defending champions and George Leach poured in 10.
Despite an 0-for-6 shooting night, guard Yosuke Sugawara contributed seven points, four rebounds and a blocked shot.
For Oita (20-23), Mike Bell had a 33-point, 10-board effort and Ricky Woods had a 21-point, 11-rebound outing, as well as five assists and five steals.
The Golden Kings held the HeatDevils to 19 points or less in three of the four quarters.
The Osaka Evessa, meanwhile, picked up their fifth straight victory, defeating the host Takamatsu Five Arrows 110-101.
David Palmer topped the scoring charts with 25 points, including 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, and seven boards for Osaka (23-16), Ryan Blackwell added 17 points and 10 boards, Nile Murry scored 16 and Jason Klotz had 14. Lynn Washington and Hirohisa Takada added 13 points apiece.
For the Five Arrows (11-30), Michael Gardener scored 27 points and dished out 11 assists and Yu Okada had a 22-point game. Jeffrey Price added a double-double (17 points, 11 rebounds) and Satoshi Takeda scored 17.