Taishiro Shimizu played for several forgettable Saitama Broncos teams in the first five years of his bj-league career. But since joining his hometown Miyazaki Shining Suns for their inaugural 2010-11 season, the veteran guard has been reinvigorated.
In Shimizu’s own words, he told The Japan Times in January that being a captain and team leader is a never-ending job that he looks forward to each day. “My role has changed (playing for Miyazaki), and there’s a lot more things that I have to do for this team,” he said at the time.
On Sunday, Shimizu showed why he’s a vital part of the Shining Suns in their 74-67 win over the host Osaka Evessa, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, two steals and one blocked shot.
Miyazaki (6-8) has won six of its last eight games, including two over the Evessa (11-3) by a combined nine points.
Osaka star Lynn Washington, the league’s only two-time MVP, didn’t play on Sunday. He tore his pectoral muscle in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game and is expected to miss a month of games.
Big man Darryl Dora had a 23-point outing for the Shining Suns, Dexter Lyons scored 16 points, grabbed 10 boards and amassed five steals and Takuro Ito scored 13.
Cohey Aoki led the Evessa with 20 points, Satoshi Takeda scored 12 and Wayne Marshall had 11.
Phoenix 88, Happinets 77 (OT)
In Akita, Jermaine Dixon had 23 points and five assists and Wayne Arnold scored 19 points and added six steals as Hamamatsu Higashimikawa handed the short-handed hosts a defeat for the second time in two days.
Jeffrey Parmer, finished with 17 points for the two-time reigning champion Phoenix (9-5), winners of nine straight games.
Ricky Woods scored 34 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Stanely Ocitti had 13 points and 17 boards for Akita (10-4), which played the series without standout guard Michael Gardener.
Golden Kings 91, HeatDevils 80
In Okinawa City, Okinawa Prefecture, sharpshooter David Palmer scored 23 points and Anthony McHenry poured in 16 as Ryukyu sent Oita to its eighth consecutive loss.
Narito Namizato had 13 points and five assists and Jeff Newton chipped in with nine points, six boards and six assists for the Golden Kings (11-3), who are now tied with Osaka for the best record in the Western Conference.
Wendell White paced the HeatDevils (3-11) with 22 points and 12 rebounds.
Lakestars 95, Five Arrows 69
In Yasu, Shiga Prefecture, balanced scoring carried the hosts to a triumph over hapless Takamatsu.
Ray Nixon put a team-high 19 points on the board, Josh Peppers scored 18 and Yu Okada and Julius Ashby had 12 apiece as the Lakestars improved to 9-5.
Paul Butorac paced the Five Arrows (0-14) with 21 points.
Grouses 100, Jets 61
In Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, the hosts bounced back from a loss in the series opener to rout the Jets in their rematch.
Toyama (6-8) made 25 of 37 shots from 2-point range and scored 56 second-half points against Chiba, a first-year franchise.
Haakim Johnson and Takeshi Mito scored 19 points apiece for the Grouses and Masashi Joho poured in 16 points.
The Jets’ Jamel Staten was the team’s top scorer with 15 points and Maurice Hargrow had 12.
“There are two sides to every story and today we all witnessed the other side,” Jets coach Eric Gardow said after the game.
“It motivates me to compare the stat sheets from yesterday and today when the same two teams played. Games like today illustrate that once in a while the game is out of your control and makes no sense.
“Anyway, we will learn more from today’s loss than we did from yesterday’s win and our focus now shifts to Osaka.”
The Jets play host to Osaka, now in the midst of its first losing streak of the season, on Thursday and Friday in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture.
89ers 85, Rizing 78
In Sendai, Dan Fitzgerald and Johnny Dukes each scored 24 points and the hosts earned a series split against Fukuoka.
The 89ers (9-5) made 15 of 19 free throws in the victory. Sendai’s O’Neal Mims added 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks and Takehiko Shimura had seven points and nine assists. Fitzgerald made 6 of 11 3s and Dukes also blocked four shots.
“Our guys came to battle today,” Sendai coach Bob Pierce said. “We changed some defensive matchups in the second quarter that helped us take the lead, and made another change at halftime that helped extend it.
“Of course Fukuoka came storming back, but we held on to win, making big shots and free throws.”
For the Rizing (8-6), Carlos Dixon had a team-best 23 points, Kevin Palmer scored 17 and J.R. Inman had 14.
Albirex BB 72, Big Bulls 62
In Niigata, center Chris Holm had 14 points and 22 rebounds on his 27th birthday and the hosts completed a two-game sweep over Iwate.
Erron Maxey notched a double-double (16 points, 13 boards) and teammates Nile Murry and Yuichi Ikeda added 14 points apiece for the Albirex (6-6).
Shawn Malloy led the Big Bulls (1-13) with 13 points and Makoto Sawaguchi scored 12.
Hannaryz 89, Magic 86 (2OT)
In Kyoto, Honoo Hamaguchi’s club outlasted Shimane in a physical duel between Western Conference foes to win its sixth successive game.
Three Hannaryz players had double-doubles — Rick Rickert (22 points, 14 rebounds), Jermaine Boyette (19 points 12 boards) and Lance Allred (15 points, 17 rebounds) — as Kyoto improved to 9-5. Taizo Kawabe and Sunao Murakami each scored 10 points for the hosts.
B.J. Puckett paced the Susanoo Magic (7-7) with 25 points and Michael Parker scored 23. Tatsuhiro Yokoo added 19.