Leading up to the NBA D-League Showcase, the Westchester Knicks faced off against three of the Top 4 teams in the Eastern Conference. How did they look?
After finishing with a 10-10 record after the first 20 games, the Westchester Knicks concluded the first half of the season by playing two of three games at home. The Knicks looked to string together a few wins before the NBA D-League Showcase.
Prior to their meeting with the Maine Red Claws, Westchester had lost five of its previous six games. In addition to that, they were on a four-game losing streak at home.
The Knicks’ last home win before Jan. 10 was against the Santa Cruz Warriors on Nov. 30, 2016.
On the other side, the Red Claws were riding a five-game winning streak and had possession of first place in the Atlantic Division. Maine is one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the NBA D-League—first in 3-pointers made with 12.4 per game—and are in the middle of the league in scoring—10th with 108.3 point per game.
In their meeting against Maine, the Knicks’ defense stepped up. They gave up an average of 110.0 points in their previous five games, which included a tough 28-point loss to the Delaware 87ers.
Westchester didn’t let Maine get going from 3-point range.
The Red Claws shot 21.2 percent (7-of-33) from beyond the arc and totaled 36 points in the first half. Prior to this game, the Red Claws’ lowest scoring game of the season was on Dec. 29, 2016, during which they scored 80 points against one of the top defenses in the NBA D-League in the Raptors 905.
Maine scored a season-low 78 points against Westchester.
Along with Westchester’s defense, their bench stepped up and almost mirrored the production of the starters. When the New York Knicks assign Maurice Ndour and Marshall Plumlee to Westchester, it adds more depth to the team.
Out of the seven Knicks that scored in double figures, four of those were off the bench. Doron Lamb sparked the bench by totaling 13 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Jaylen Bond finished with 12 points and five rebounds in 15 minutes of action.
Kevin Capers (14 points) and Von Wafer (11 points) rounded out the main scoring contributors off the bench.
The Knicks remained at home for their next game against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. In their previous meeting, the two teams battled for 48 minutes before the game was decided in the final seconds.
Marshall Plumlee sunk two free throws to ice their first meeting of the season. Trey McKinney-Jones drained a 3-pointer after, but that was the closest the Mad Ants got.
In their next meeting, it was another hard-fought battle between the two teams. The one thing that plagued the Knicks was foul trouble. There was a huge disparity in free throws attempted between the Knicks and Mad Ants. Fort Wayne went 40-of-49 from the charity line.
If the Knicks cut their fouls down a tad bit, they could have picked up their second win in a row.
The Knick had issues stopping Alex Poythress. Poythress was being aggressive on both sides of the floor. He recorded a season-high 35 points and it was the second time where he hit multiple 3-pointers in a game.
Also, it marked the seventh time this season where he posted at least three blocks in a game.
In their game against Fort Wayne, Keith Wright finished with a career-high in points (23) and 3-pointers made (2-of-2). Along with that, his three steals almost tied his career-high (4).
While the Knicks’ offense has looked average for most of the season, the team’s defense has been lacking over the past couple of games.
The Knicks posted 111 points against Fort Wayne and 102 point against the Delaware 87ers. Six players scored in double figures against the Mad Ants and five players did the same against the 87ers.
The Knicks came out of the game with solid production on the offensive end against the 87ers. Doron Lamb, Courtney Fells, and Damien Inglis helped lead the team’s offense during the opening frame, as the three Knicks totaled half of the team’s first quarter points.
In both of those games, Westchester struggled closing out those games. The Mad Ants scored 39 points in the fourth quarter to get the win that night. Two nights later, the 87ers totaled 31 points in the final frame, as Delaware inched closer to the top spot in the division.
Despite being outscored in the fourth quarter 31-19, the Knicks had an opportunity to seal the game in the final 30 seconds. But that didn’t happen.
Off a missed shot, James Webb III got the put back and iced the game for the Sevens.