August 18, 2017
Slam begins Seattle Pro-am playoffs on Saturday
Now in their second season as a member of the prestigious summer league, the Slam will be looking to improve on last year's finish in which they advanced to the semi-finals, just two wins shy of what would have been the team's fifth overall league championship.
Bellingham will open postseason play on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. against Team N.F.A., a squad led by Milwaukee Bucks center Spencer Hawes and other former Washington Husky talent. The Slam defeated Team N.F.A. 131-102 in their only regular season meeting, but while Bellingham won easily, Hawes torched the Slam's defense for 48 points.
The Slam enters the 2017 Seattle Pro-Am playoffs as the number three seed after posting a 5-3 regular season record. After starting off with three lopsided victories to start the season, Bellingham struggled during a two-week stretch in July and went 1-3, before getting back in the win column in the team's final regular season game, a 110-103 overtime victory over Team Worldwide, the league's number two ranked team. Jamal Crawford's Team Adidas finished the Pro-Am regular season as the top seed with a perfect 9-0 record.
If Bellingham is victorious in Saturday's loser-out quarterfinal match-up, they will advance to the semifinals set for Sunday at 5:30 p.m. The winners of Sunday's two semifinal games will advance to the Pro-Am championship set for August 26 at 2 p.m.
The Slam is no stranger to postseason success, having captured three consecutive International Basketball League titles from 2012 until 2014, when the league folded. Bellingham won its first IBL championship in 2008.
Bellingham has been led this season by former WWU Vikings guard Taylor Stafford, who has been using this summer's Pro-Am as a tune up before he heads to Iceland next month to compete professionally for the first time. Stafford leads the Slam in scoring with 33 points per game, and also ranked in the top three on the team in rebounding, assists and steals. Veteran guard Paul Hafford and forward Tyler Amaya finished second and third on the team in scoring, with 16 and 15 points per game scoring averages, respectively. Amaya also finished as the team's top rebounder, something he hasn't done since the 2008 IBL season, pulling down an average of 10 boards per game.
The Slam's playoff game on Saturday will be one of four quarterfinal pairings which get underway at Noon at Royal Brougham Pavilion in Seattle, with Bellingham's match-up with Team N.F.A. scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. tip-off. Sunday's semifinal action will get started at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free to all games.