After losing four of their last five games, the Westchester Knicks battled the Grand Rapids Drive. Did the Knicks pick up their third win in 2017?
It’s been a tough 2017 for the Westchester Knicks. The Knicks ended 2016 with a two-point victory over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. The team entered 2017 with a 10-7 record and were in second place in the Atlantic Division behind the Maine Red Claws.
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Since then, Westchester went 2-7 in their first nine games of 2017 and have fallen to third place in the division. The Dub Knicks welcomed the Grand Rapids Drive into town—a team which is No. 2 in 3-point shots made.
The Knicks had a tough obstacle in terms of containing the Drive’s shooters and it all started in the opening quarter of the game.
On assignment from the Detroit Pistons, Henry Ellenson drained his first four 3-pointers of the game and recorded 14 of Grand Rapids’ 21 points in the first half of the opening quarter. The Drive came out of the gate with a 15-point lead.
In the remaining half of the quarter, the Knicks tightened their defense and gave up four points to the Drive. In the process, Westchester went on a run of its own, as it totaled the next 13 points.
After falling behind in the early stages of the quarter, the Knicks cut the deficit to three points after the first quarter.
Not only were the Knicks able to match their intensity from the first quarter, but the Knicks went on another run in the beginning part of the second quarter. The Knicks’ 11-0 run was powered by five points from Keith Wright.
During the run, Jaylen Bond blocked a shot from Nikola Jovanovic. On the next possession, Bond picked up two huge offensive rebounds then followed it up with a tip-in. Along with Wright and Bond, Damien Inglis was almost unstoppable in the second quarter.
After going scoreless in the first quarter, Damien Inglis scored 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field. The second quarter was huge for the Dub Knicks, as they ended the half with a seven-point lead.
Westchester managed to increase its lead in the third quarter. While the Knicks performed well on the offensive end, their defense came out strong in that quarter. The Drive totaled five points in the first half of the third quarter and shot a cold 2-of-9 from the field and 0-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Grand Rapids totaled 16 points in the quarter and found themselves down by 20 points after three quarters of play.
The Knicks’ defense looked good up to that point. After allowing four points in six minutes in the first quarter, Westchester held the Drive to 16 points in the third quarter.
After a low offensive output, the Drive managed to score 42 points in the final quarter and almost picked up a huge road win. That wasn’t the case. Westchester made several big stops at the end, which included a steal by Kevin Capers in the final 35 seconds of the game, and walked away with the victory.
“We just trying to get better every time we go out on defense. We know it’s not going to be perfect and we got to give them a lot of credit,” Courtney Fells said following Westchester’s win over the Grand Rapids Drive.
“They do a good job of playing downhill and they have some great players, so we just try to make every opportunity that we can get on defense hard for the opposing team and that we was able to do. We was able to put together a couple of stops and we extended the lead. But we got to get better, watch film, and learn from the mistakes that we had.”
Damien Inglis led the Knicks in scoring with 28 points, along with eight rebounds and two assists. Von Wafer totaled 25 points on 10-of-21 shooting from the field.
Keith Wright scored 13 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting from the field, along with five rebounds. Jordon Crawford scored 11 points and dished out five assists. Kevin Capers finished with 15 points off the bench.
Courtney Fells continued his recent stretch of success, as he’s had more of an opportunity to showcase his overall game. Coming off a solid performance at the NBA D-League Showcase, Fells totaled 16 points on 7-of-16 shooting from the field.
He added nine rebounds, five assists, two blocks and one steal.
“Me and [Coach] Mike [Miller] have a history together— three years ago in Austin— and he felt this system was a better system for me. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out in Dallas,” Fells said. “It was a lot of dominant players there was dominating the ball. Over here, we have a good flow. We play more of a team game. And it’s allowing me to showcase what I can do.”
With a minimum of 10 games played, Fells is No. 6 in steals per game (2.1).
After Henry Ellenson totaled 29 points on 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, the Knicks will need to contain his 3-point game in their next match-up.
“We knew he was going to come out shooting. That’s what he did the first time we played him. He just didn’t make them, but this time he did,” Fells said. “And we just got to be up close on him next time and make him uncomfortable. Make him do something that he doesn’t want to do and that’s put the ball on the floor, so anybody can catch and shoot in this league, obviously. We just got to do a better job at making him being uncomfortable.”