Perfection is almost impossible to attain. But the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix are doing their best to reach that level.
The Phoenix outlasted the host Niigata Albirex BB in overtime on Saturday, winning 84-81 and improving to 27-2. They have won 10 straight 10 games.
The bj-league’s defending champions are 14-1 on the road this season.
Jermaine Dixon’s free throw with 1 minute remaining in the fourth quarter made it 72-72. That was the final point of regulation.
In overtime, Kazuo Nakamura’s club finished strong and collected another victory.
Dixon led the Phoenix with 21 points, Wayne Arnold poured in 17, Ray Nixon had 13, Jeffrey Parmer added 11 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Kazutoshi Ota scored seven.
For Niigata (14-13), newcomer Nick DeWitz had 24 points and seven rebounds and Julius Ashby, who had given the Albirex a 72-71 lead on a basket with 1:19 left in the fourth, had 23 points and 12 rebounds. All-Star guard Naoto Takushi chipped in with 12 points, four assists and two assists.
The Albirex trailed 65-53 early in the fourth, but mounted a comeback and took a brief lead on Ashby’s aforementioned field goal.
Apache 115, Hannaryz 102
In Kyoto, Tokyo scored 42 third-quarter points to turn a one-point halftime lead into a sizable advantage.
With coach Bob Hill utilizing a smaller, quicker lineup, Apache starters Jumpei Nakama (a season-high 32 points, 7-for-12 from 3-point range), Cohey Aoki (20 points) and Kensuke Tanaka (10) scored 62 combined points, more than half of the team’s output.
Guard Bryan Eaton, who came off the bench, and forward Michael Chappell, who earned a spot in the starting lineup, had 15 points each in Tokyo’s first game since power forward Kendall Dartez’s release. Big man Robert Swift chipped in with 13, while Jeremy Tyler scored 12 on 5-for-5 shooting,
Tokyo improved to 14-9.
For Kyoto (14-15), which trailed 90-74 after three quarters, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was the leading scorer with 23 points and five assists. Wendell White had a 21-point, 14-rebound, six-assist, two-steal game, Reggie Warren poured in 16 points, Taizo Kawabe scored 12 and Kyosuke Setoyama added eight assists.
Lakestars 78, Magic 56
In Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Ray Schafer had 21 points and nine rebounds and Gary Hamilton raked in 26 rebounds as the hosts trounced Shimane.
Lamar Rice scored 12 points, Yu Okada added 10, while Josh Peppers, making his 2010-11 debut, and Masashi Joho each scored nine for Shiga (19-10). All-Star guard/forward Mikey Marshall missed his first game with a left foot injury, and he’s expected to be out of action for up to six weeks.
For the Susanoo Magic (11-18), who shot 3-for-18 from beyond the 3-point arc, Jeral Davis scored 11 and Will Caudle had 10.
Happinets 80, Five Arrows 54
In Akita, veteran guard/acting coach Makoto Hasegawa, filling as the bench boss while Bob Pierce served a one-game suspension for criticizing game officials, guided the hosts to a runaway victory over Takamatsu.
Paul Butorac scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, frontcourt mate Dokun Akingbade notched a double-double (10 points, 21 boards), Sek Henry scored 14 along with six rebounds and six assists, Makoto Sawaguchi had a 10-point afternoon and Antonio Burks and Yuki Nobuhira each had seven points. Hasegawa scored six points, draining a pair of 3-pointers in the first half.
Akita improved to 10-19.
Rasheed Sparks paced the woeful Five Arrows (7-22) with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Jeffrey Price and Terrance Farley scored 11 apiece.
89ers 91, Golden Kings 90
In Sendai, Mike Bell sank a pair of free throws with 6 seconds left to lift the hosts to a narrow victory over Ryukyu.
Bell had a 26-point, 11-rebound effort and Mac Hopson added 22 points and seven assists as the 89ers improved to 16-10. Chris Holm and Hikaru Kusaka each scored 13 points for Sendai, which outscored Ryukyu 32-21 in the third quarter.
Five 89ers players had three or more assists, including Holm and Kenichi Takahashi (four apiece).
For the Golden Kings (17-12), Jeff Newton had a team-high 23 points, five rebounds, five blocks and and five assists. Carlos Dixon added 20 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, but missed two potential game-winning shots after Bell’s free throws. Dillion Sneed scored 15 points in his Ryukyu debut, while Shigeyuki Kinjo chipped in with 12 points and Naoto Kosuge had nine.
It was a frustrating evening for Ryukyu’s Anthony McHenry, who fouled out after playing 20:57. He finished with six assists, four rebounds, three blocks and two points.
Grouses 95, Broncos 89
In Tokorozawa, Saitama Prefecture, Brian Harper scored a game-best 30 points and hauled in 10 rebounds and John Davis scored 17 points as Toyama triumphed under new coach Kazuaki Shimoji, who picked up a win in his first game at the helm.
Shimoji replaced Kohei Eto, who was fired earlier this week.
Takeshi Mito added 16 points for the Grouses (9-18) and Matthew Kyle had 10 points and 14 boards.
Kenny Satterfield paced the Broncos (11-18) with 25 points, as well as nine rebounds and five assists. George Leach scored 20 points and pulled down nine boards, while Yuki Kitamuki scored 10 and Daiki Terashita had eight.
HeatDevils 84, Shining Suns 82 (OT)
In Saiki, Oita Prefecture, balanced scoring carried the HeatDevils to an overtime triumph over Miyazaki.
Kimitake Sato, Taj Finger and Damian Johnson each had 18 points and newcomer Cyrus Tate added 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting and nine rebounds for the HeatDevils (14-17).
Oita’s Kohei Mitomo, who finished with four points, hit a game-tying shot with 24 seconds left in the fourth quarter. That made it 78-78. Neither team scored again before the quarter ended, forcing overtime.
Taishiro Shimizu led the Shining Suns (8-21) with 17 points. Teammate Elijah Palmer scored 16, Brandon Cole had 15 and 11 boards and Jackie Manuel and Takuro Ito scored 13 apiece.
Rizing 65, Evessa 61
In Fukuoka, Michael Parker’s 21 points, 11 rebounds and six steals and Jartavious Henderson’s 15 points carried the hosts past Osaka.
Masahiro Kano added nine points for the Rizing (18-13), who won despite shooting 1-for-14 from 3-point range.
For the Evessa (18-11), Wayne Marshall scored 20 points, Lawrence Blackledge had 11 points and 15 points and Billy Knight scored 15.
Osaka was equally dreadful on long-range shots, missing 12 of 14 3-pointers.