WHITE PLAINS, NY – Despite finishing the 2017-18 regular season with a 100-96 loss to the Erie BayHawks (27-22), the official NBA G League affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, the Westchester Knicks (32-18), the New York Knicks’ affiliate, head into the 2018 NBA G League Playoffs as the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. Erie will look to tomorrow, the last day of the regular season, for a chance to clinch the Southeast Division.
On assignment from the New York Knicks, Damyean Dotson scored a game-high 25 points to go with six rebounds and two steals. Knicks Two-Way player Isaiah Hicks knocked in 21 points with eight rebounds and three blocked shots, while Wizards Two-Way player Devin Robinson provided 18 points from the bench. Billy Garrett supplied 11 points with four each of rebounds and assists, while Knicks affiliate Xavier Rathan-Mayes finished with 10 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.
BayHawks guard John Gillon paced Erie with 24 points, five assists, and four steals. Raphiael Putney notched a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds with four steals while Chris McCullough had one off the bench of 18 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Jeremy Evans provided 14 points and seven rebounds and guard Craig Sword supplied 11 points with four assists and three rebounds.
The Knicks kept its opponent scoreless through the first two minutes, going on an 11-5 run before Erie started to catch back up. Though the BayHawks pulled within one for a moment, Westchester held a four-point advantage after one. Erie started to find its legs in the second quarter, tying it up two minutes in and again midway through. Westchester found itself in the hole for the first time with 4:13 left in the half, Erie subsequently outscoring the Knicks 12-6 to take a seven-point lead. Not to be shown up at home, Westchester went 6-0 to close the half, the BayHawks up by one.
The teams kept within four points of each other in the third, trading leads six times with three ties, until Erie finished the quarter with an 8-2 run to go up by seven. Coming out strong to start the fourth, the BayHawks twice ran up a 12-point lead. The second time, the Knicks had had enough and used a 10-1 run to pull back within one possession with four minutes left in the game. When there was just 41.3 seconds left on the clock, Damyean Dotson sank a timely shot from beyond the arc to make it a two-point game. Westchester was ultimately unable to turn the tides though, falling 100-96.
For the first time in its franchise history, the Westchester Knicks, the official NBA G League affiliate of the New York Knicks, are NBA G League Eastern Conference champions. Westchester clinched the number one overall seed in the Eastern Conference, earning a bye into the second round, with the Raptor 905’s loss last night to the Agua Caliente Clippers, the Los Angeles Clippers’ affiliate. The playoffs will begin with three single-elimination rounds before culminating with a best-of-three NBA G League Finals, which will be played in a one-one-one format. This marks Westchester’s second-ever playoffs appearance after clinching its first-ever berth in the 2015-16 season.