The Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix haven’t skipped a beat since winning the bj-league championship for the first time in May.
Three weeks into the 2010-11 season, the Phoenix remain one of the league’s elite teams despite a cast of several new players.
Wayne Arnold scored 25 and Ray Nixon added 14 as Hamamatsu beat the Tokyo Apache 98-76 on Saturday, recording its fourth victory in five games.
The game was played in Saku, Nagano Prefecture cities, giving the league a showcase for itself a year before a Nagano expansion team joins the league. The series shifts to Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, for Sunday’s rematch.
For the Phoenix, Jeffrey Parmer added 15 points, Jermaine Dixon scored 13 points in his Hamamatsu debut and Atsuya Ota chipped in with 11 points.
Byron Eaton paced Tokyo with 18 points, followed by Kendall Dartez’s 15-point, nine-rebound effort and Robert Swift’s 12-point, seven-board effort.
The Apache fell to 1-2, both losses by double digits.
Lakestars 102, Hannaryz 99
In Kyoto, Shiga’s Yu Okada sank two free throws with 4 seconds remaining to account for the game’s final margin.
The Lakestars’ Gary Hamilton, who had 20 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three steals, made a foul shot with 22 seconds left to break a 99-99 tie after Hannaryz standout Wendell White’s basket knotted the score.
Mikey Marshall scored a team-high 24 points for Shiga (3-2), while Lamar Rice added 18 on his 28th birthday and Masashi Joho and Okada each scored 16.
Okada, who joined his hometown team in the offseason, had struggled offensively in the first four games, scoring 19 points in that span. But he played a season-high 26 minutes on Saturday and capitalized on the opportunity.
For Kyoto (3-2), White had 29 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Kibwe Trim added 20 points, Reggie Warren scored 14 and Sunao Murakami had 12.
Albirex 78, Broncos 59
In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, Willie Veasley scored a team-high 19 points, Julius Ashby had 18 points and Zach Andrews added 17 points, 18 rebounds, four steals and three blocked shots in the hosts’ one-sided win over Saitama.
Yuichi Ikeda chipped in with 10 points as the Albirex improved to 2-1.
Niigata outscored the visitors 18-4 in the second quarter.
For Saitama (1-4), Kazuya Hatano had a team-high 17 points on 7-for-11 shooting, while Bruce Brown scored 11 and Kenny Satterfield had 10 points and eight assists. Gordon Klaiber grabbed 17 rebounds in the loss.
The Broncos shot 1-for-16 from 3-point range.
Grouses 73, 89ers 72
In Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, Brian Harper scored 23 points and hauled in nine rebounds and the hosts escaped with a one-point win over Sendai.
Newcomers Matthew Kyle and John Davis added 12 and 10 points, respectively, for Toyama (2-3).
Mike Bell led the 89ers (3-2) with 23 points. Teammates Mac Hopson scored 11 and Kenichi Takahashi and Chris Holm each scored nine. Holm also grabbed 13 rebounds.
Toyama overcame a nine-point deficit entering the fourth quarter.
Evessa 92, Susanoo Magic 83
In Kadoma, Osaka Prefecture, Lynn Washington had a 25-point performance, Billy Knight chipped in with 23 points and seven boards and the Evessa defeated feisty Shimane.
Wayne Marshall added 17 points and Lawrence Blackledge had 13 as Osaka improved to 4-1 under first-year coach Ryan Blackwell. Masashi Obuchi, one of the league’s top newcomers last season, had nine points and six assists in the win.
Washington, a two-time MVP, was 13-for-17 from the charity stripe.
Point guard Takumi Ishizaki led the expansion Susanoo Magic (3-2) with 21 points and added six rebounds and six assists for good measure. Center Will Caudle had 19 points, Tatsuhiro Yokoo added 13 and Jeral Davis had 12.
Shining Suns 84, Northern Happinets 83
In Akita, Miyazaki’s Jackie Manuel scored 25 points, including the game-winning basket with 5 seconds to play, in the season’s first contest between expansion teams.
Elijah Palmer added 20 points and eight rebounds, Taishiro Shimizu scored 16 points and Brandon Cole had a 10-point, nine-rebound outing for the Shining Suns (2-3).
Sek Henry was the Happinets’ leading scorer, finishing with 25 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Paul Butorac had a double-double (20 points, 13 rebounds), Makoto Sawaguchi scored 11 and Ryosuke Mizumachi contributed nine points and four assists for Akita (1-4).