Meet the No. 2 Fort Wayne Mad Ants
NBA Affiliate: Indiana Pacers
Regular Season Record: 29-21
Key Stat: 47.6 field goal percentage (4th in NBA G League)
Meet the No.3 Erie BayHawks
NBA Affiliate: Atlanta Hawks
Regular Season Record: 28-22
Key Stat: 6.7 blocks per game (2nd in NBA G League)
Season Series: Erie Wins 2-1
Game 1: Erie 111, Fort Wayne 104
Jeremy Evans (ERI): 19 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks
Jarrod Utthoff (FTW): 24 points, 5 rebounds
Game 2: Fort Wayne 115, Erie 96
DeQuan Jones (FTW): 23 points, 6 rebounds
Jordan Mathews (ERI): 20 points, 3 rebounds
Game 3: Erie 113 – Fort Wayne 99
John Gillon (ERI): 40 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists
Trey McKinney Jones (FTW): 28 points, 3 rebounds
How They Got Here:
Fort Wayne Mad Ants: The Indiana Pacers affiliate, winners of the Central Division in the Eastern Conference, finished 29-21 to earn the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Along with the Westchester Knicks (now eliminated), Fort Wayne was the other team to receive a first-round bye and home-court advantage until at least the conference semifinals. After the Knicks’ loss to Raptors 905, Fort Wayne now has a chance to host the rest of the way in the Eastern Conference playoff race. This may pay dividends in the long run, as the Mad Ants were the best team in the NBA G League playing at home (19-6).
The Mad Ants found a spark plug in DeQuan Jones around the midpoint of the year and now are in a groove offensively. Their 111.2 points per game ranks ninth among NBA G League teams, and their field goal percentage (47.6 percent) ranks fourth in the league, proving that they are a high-scoring and consistent offensive team to go against.
Erie BayHawks: The BayHawks may have started the season slow, dropping their first four games and starting the first 15 games at 5-10, but the Atlanta Hawks’ affiliate heated up in January, going on an 11-3 run from Dec. 28-Feb. 2.
Hawks two-way player Josh Magette has become a big leader in the locker room when with Erie, having experienced four seasons in the NBA G League, including a run to the NBA G League Finals with the then-Los Angeles D-Fenders in 2016. Erie ranks fifth in assists per game (23.9) this season, in large part due to Magette’s league-leading 10.2 dimes per contest.
Players To Watch
Fort Wayne Mad Ants