Fort Wayne Mad Ants Return to D-League Finals
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants will be returning to the NBA D-League Finals after sweeping the Canton Charge in Game 2 by a final score of 103-85. Jordan Crawford played like a man possessed, making shots from everywhere on the court. He finished the game with 28 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. C.J. Fair was very consistent and had a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Trey McKinney-Jones reemerged as an impact player in this game, scoring 12 points and adding four rebounds.
The Canton Charge made a few changes in this game, allowing Joe Harris and Stephen Holt to both be in the starting lineup. Joe Harris played very well, scoring 26 points on 10 for 13 shooting and made three of his four three pointers. He also grabbed eight rebounds and added three assists. Stephen Holt had a quieter game, scoring 12 points on 4 for 12 shooting and grabbed six rebounds. James Singleton had a double-double for his team, with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Once again though, he had a high number of turnovers with six.
The turnover ratio in Game 2 was almost identical to Game 1. The Charge had 22 turnovers opposed to the Mad Ants 12 turnovers. The Mad Ants were more accurate than the Charge in all facets of the game. They shot 47 percent from the field, 33 percent from beyond the arc, and an impressive 83 percent from the free throw line as a team. That helped them pull away especially in the third quarter, when the Mad Ants outscored the Charge 37 to 14.
The fact that the Mad Ants are returning to the NBA D-League Finals is an amazing feat. Star scorer Andre Emmett left the team with less than a month left in the season looking to find a better opportunity to succeed. This should have been a major blow to the team’s offense, but Fair and others have stepped up and picked up the slack.
Fort Wayne looked like a new team down the stretch, and has dominated in the playoffs. The Mad Ants swept the Maine Red Claws, winning Game 1 in overtime before winning the series with a 10-point Game 2 win. They then dominated Canton, winning Game 1 by a 14-point margin before winning Game 2 by 18. They are hot at the right time and are a force that may not be stopped.
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants will play Game 1 of the NBA D-League Finals on April 23 against the winner of the Austin Spurs and Santa Cruz Warriors. Those two teams are tied at one game a piece in their best of three series.
By Joshua Hamer