The Daily Grind: Vipers Clip Vultures But Are Forked By Devils In 1-1 Homestand (2026 Day 33-36 Recap)
- By Michael Miller, Day 37, 2026
PITTSBURGH - Having lost three straight games, the Vipers were hoping to turn it around on this two-game homestand. After losing to the Atlanta Devils, Pittsburgh finally get back in the win column against the Phoenix Vultures.
Day 33 Atlanta over Pittsburgh, 110-95
After starting the season 3-10, the Devils were placed atop the league “panic index” by select JBL media and columnists. The negative commentary seemed to wake Atlanta, as they won big games against Detroit and Oakland heading into this matchup.
Taquan Slattery and the Devils showed the Vipers no mercy, as they led for 41:56 on their way to a double-digit victory. Atlanta beat Pittsburgh at their own game, dominating around the rim to a 70 to 56 points in the paint advantage while also generating 14 points off of turnovers.
Slattery was easily the player of the game, as he scored 33 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists from the power forward position. His frontcourt teammate, Connor Maitland, had 24 points, 9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in the win. Kendrick Hill, formerly drafted by the Vipers, had a solid game off the bench against his old squad with 15 points on 6 of 8 shooting.
The key turning point in the game came in the third quarter. After the Devils built up a double-digit lead in the first half, Matt Mueller keyed a 17-8 run early in then second half, scoring 8 points in that stretch, to put the Vipers ahead 55-52 with 6:26 left in the quarter.
Slattery and Maitland then started a 27-13 to close the third quarter run that would effectively put the game away, with Slattery contributing eight points and four rebounds and Maitland contributing six points and one rebound in that stretch. Pittsburgh could cut the deficit to no fewer than nine points and the Devils pulled away late in the 4th to ice the game.
The best player for the Vipers was Eric Greely, who had 27 points (11 of 21), 8 rebounds and 3 assists. Triston Lane has 13 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds in the losing effort. Bo Anderson and Mueller struggled with each averaging below .300 from the field, though Anderson provided 12 rebounds in the effort.
Day 35: Pittsburgh over Phoenix, 100-81
Like the Devils, the Vultures also came to The Pit on a bit of a winning streak, having gone 8-4 after a 1-4 start. Also like the Devils, the Vultures posed a formidable frontcourt opponent in 4-time All Star Drayton Banks. Unlike Day 33, however, the Vipers were able to stop their rolling adversary with front-court talent and put forth a strong defensive performance.
The Vipers won the rebounding battle 50-to-45 and capitalized to a 16-to-6 advantage in second chance points. The Triston Lane-Eric Greely tandem bewildered the Vultures wings, holding Sasha Vidmar and Demetrius Stith to a combined 2 from 17 from the field. Consequently, Phoenix made only 2 three-pointers the entire game.
Nevertheless, Pittsburgh did not have a great start to their game as Phoenix jumped out to an 8-0 start on their way to a 20-15 first quarter advantage.
The teams traded leads in the second quarter with neither team pulling ahead by more than a few points, and the Vipers held a slim 46-44 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
Pittsburgh opened the game up after Drayton Banks got into deep foul trouble when called for his 4th early in the 3rd quarter. With Banks out for the entire quarter, the Vipers expanded a 49-46 lead to 80-58 by the end of the period. As the game was in blowout mode at that point, Phoenix decided not to put Banks back in the rest of the game and the Vipers coasted to an easy fourth quarter.
Banks scored 22 points in only 23:18 of game action, so Pittsburgh was fortunate the Vultures decided to call the game early and not send him back in. Rookie Adonis Gatling had an efficient game for the Vultures, scoring 14 points on 7 of 10 shooting with 8 rebounds.
For the Vipers, Leon Bowen was clearly the hero, not only for getting Banks out of the game with foul trouble but also for converting on his free throw attempts. Though Bowen attempted only 7 shots in the entire game, he scored 23 points on the strength of 13 free throws. Eric Greely also had a strong shooting game and might be finding his touch from beyond the arc, scoring 20 points which included converting six of his 12 attempts from beyond the arc.
The Leather Jacket: Without Leon Bowen, the Vipers could have well been looking at their losing streak being extended to 5 games. Bowen’s efforts in outsmarting Banks and getting easy points was easily the difference and he gets the award.
Up Next: The Vipers have back to back games on the road against the surprisingly struggling Charlotte Drones (9-7) then at home against the rebuilding Kansas City Knights (3-13).