Pawns and kings can both make key moves in chess. Similarly, centers and guards can be just as important for a basketball team.
The Tokyo Cinq Reves provided a classic example in their 88-81 victory over the Shiga Lakestars on Sunday.
Guard Yuji Ide buried 7 of 12 3-point shots en route to a game-high 30 points and 208-cm big man Anthony Stover, a UCLA product, used his size and strength to put his stamp on the game, finishing with nine points, 12 rebounds (matching his season high) and a season-best eight blocked shots in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture.
In addition, Ricky Woods was a game-changing force for the Cinq Reves (5-9) with 25 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Edward Morris chipped in with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
With Stover protecting the basket, the Lakestars (7-7) also had limited success from the perimeter. They shot 6-for-27 on 3s.
Marshall Brown had 23 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for Shiga and Dioniso Gomez finished with 12 points and 14 boards. Brandon Fields scored also had 12 points and Yutaka Yokoe added nine.
Golden Kings 77, Phoenix 64
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Draelon Burns is one of the most difficult players in the league to defend when the ball is in play, and when he’s at the free-thrown line, the opponent has no chance to faze him, as Hamamatsu Higashimikawa was reminded in its second loss in as many days.
Burns sank all 11 of his free-throw attempts as part of a game-high 26 points for red-hot Ryukyu (12-2), which has won eight consecutive games. He dished out six assists as the Kings improved to 4-0 since he made his debut with the team.
Kibwe Trim scored 13 points and Jeff Newton had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Ryukyu. Anthony McHenry added eight points, seven assists, three steals and a pair of blocks. Morihisa Yamauchi and Naoto Kosuge each scored six points.
The Kings outscored the Phoenix 29-10 in the second quarter to take a 13-point advantage into halftime.
Shinnosuke Oishi had 19 points and four steals for Hamamatsu (8-6) and Aki Chambers scored 10. Atsuya Ota and Ray Nixon had eight points apiece.
Albirex BB, 91, Northern Happinets 77
In Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, led by Nile Murry’s 27 points and 10-for-11 shooting from inside the arc and Patrick Sullivan’s 25 points, the Albirex offense clicked against foul-plagued Akita.
Murry added six rebounds, five assists and three steals in a well-rounded performance for Niigata (11-5). Teammate Takamichi Fujiwara scored 15 points, knocking down 4 of 6 3s. Rodney Webb had nine points and eight boards for the hosts, Shuhei Komatsu scored eight points and Kimitake Sato handed out five assists.
For the Happinets (14-2), Chas McFarland (six points), Richard Roby (22 points) and Ruben Boykin (12 rebounds) all fouled out. Yuki Togashi finished with 20 points, but was held to two assists (he had nine in each of the past two games).
Yuto Otsuka contributed 13 points in the loss.
B-Corsairs 70, Grouses 65
In Nyuzen, Toyama Prefecture, defending champion Yokohama collected 50 rebounds, or 12 more than the hosts, and bounced back from a series-opening loss.
Omar Reed led the B-Corsairs (7-7) with 22 points and 17 rebounds and Marquise Gray had a 21-point outing. Masayuki Kabaya added 12 points and four assists and Kenji Yamada chipped in with eight points. Center Wayne Marshall provided five rebounds, four assists and two blocks off the bench.
For Toyama (12-2), Ira Brown was the high scorer with 22 points and Sam Willard had 12 points and 18 rebounds. Masashi Joho was held to nine points and Tatsunori Fujie and Josh Gross each scored eight points.
Bambitious 62, Susanoo Magic 61
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, the Susanoo Magic stormed back from a 25-point deficit after three quarters but fell short in their comeback attempt against Nara.
The Bambitious, a first-year team, improved to 3-11. Shimane fell to 2-12.
Joe Chapman, who made four 3-pointers, led Nara with 19 points and Anthony Brown added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Taishi Kasahara scored 12 points and Adrian Moss chipped in with five points, 14 rebounds and three steals.
Adrian Thomas canned five 3s in a 22-point afternoon and Jeral Davis had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Magic. Shawn Malloy supplied 11 points, 12 boards and five assists in the loss.
Hannaryz 73, HeatDevils 69
In Oita, Kyoto rebounded from a Saturday defeat to salvage a series split.
David Palmer paced the Hannaryz (9-5) with 15 points and seven rebounds and Joe Warner added 12 points and seven rebounds.
Hayato Kantake scored 11 points for Kyoto and Edwin Ubiles contributed 10 points, four assists and three steals.
For the HeatDevils (8-6), Verdell Jones III had 26 points and six assists. Teammates Taishiro Shimizu and Manabu Umemiya had 12 and eight points, respectively.
Rizing 81, Crane Thunders 62
In Oizumi, Gunma Prefecture, Reggie Warren scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds and Cohey Aoki finished with 14 points and three steals to lead Fukuoka to a series sweep over the Crane Thunders.
Jun Nakanishi had a 13-point afternoon, Seth Tarver poured in nine points and Julius Ashby had seven points and seven boards for the Rizing (7-7), while Akitomo Takeno dished out six assists.
Shooting guard Tatsuhiko Toshino scored a season-high 14 points for Gunma (2-12) and Masashi Obuchi had 12. Marvell Waithe hauled in 12 rebounds for the hosts.
“Tough loss after yesterday’s disappointment,” Crane Thunders coach Ryan Blackwell told The Japan Times. “Fukuoka came out with more intensity and effort. They attacked us on both ends and we crumbled under pressure. They pressured us into 18 turnovers and a number of bad offensive possessions.”