GAME 2: SKYFORCE 112, KNICKS 105
Player of the Game: Skyforce F Rodney McGruder — 33 points, 11/18 FG, 5 3-pointers made
Plays of the Game:
GAME 1: SKYFORCE 109, KNICKS 95
Player of the Game: Skyforce F/C Jarnell Stokes — 28 points, 12/16 FG, 11 rebounds
Play of the Game: Jabril Trawick’s third-quarter block
— NBA D-League (@nbadleague) April 6, 2016
The NBA D-League’s biggest name goes up against its best regular-season team ever in this first-round matchup.
All eyes will be on Westchester star Jimmer Fredette, who finished as a top 10 scorer (21 PPG) with near 50-40-90 shooting percentages. But Fredette has his hands full with defensive pest Briante Weber, the NCAA’s second all-time steals leader (a knee injury suffered last January prevented him from breaking the record and likely landing an NBA roster spot).
But this series may be won down low for two of the top three defensive teams in the league. The Skyforce’s frontcourt carried them to the best record in league history, with burly scorer Jarnell Stokes joining forces with veteran center Keith Benson. But Westchester’s duo of 7-2 shot-blocker Jordan Bachynski and glue guy Darion Atkins — plus hyper-energetic combo forward Thanasis “the other Greek Freek” Antetokounmpo — can match up.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MEET THE SKYFORCE
NBA Affiliate: Miami Heat
Regular Season Record: 40-10
Key Stat(s): In a league where roster turnover makes gelling as a team a daily challenge, the Skyforce went 40-10 thanks to a league-best 98.5 Defensive Rating.
MEET THE KNICKS
NBA Affiliate: New York Knicks
Regular Season Record: 28-22
Key Stat(s): Opponents shot a league-low 57% in the restricted area against the Knicks, as Bachynski (2.4 BPG, 2nd) and Atkins (1.3 BPG, T-11th) finished among the league block leaders.