The NBA Development League Playoffs start tonight!
While your local Grand Rapids Drive barely missed the playoffs this year after winning their final four games of the season, hoops fans in Beer City, USA shouldn’t give up on the D-League for the summer.
Tonight’s matchup to kick off the 2017 edition sees the Fort Wayne Mad Ants host the Maine Red Claws in a best-of-3 first round series. It’s destined to be a big league battle under the boards as Boston Celtics’ assignee Jordan Mickey faces off with “Psycho T”, Tyler Hansbrough. Fort Wayne hosts game one with the final two games tipping off later this week in Maine, on April 10 and April 12 (if necessary).
The Mad Ants won the first head-to-head matchup on November 22 with a 120-102 margin on the road when six players scored in double figures. Stephan Hicks led the way with 24 points.
The Red Claws got their revenge in a thrilling 124-121 overtime win on December 8 in Fort Wayne. Jalen Jones led the Red Claws with 29 points and 11 rebounds.
Maine would win the next two in the series as well. Jalen Jones had another big game, with 25 points and 10 rebounds, in a 111-103 victory at home on January 8.
Maine took the season series 3-1 as they won 112-107 on the road on January 21 at the D-League Showcase in Ontario, Canada. Jones was once again a dominant force for Maine with 29 points at the home of the Raptors 905.
BeerCityHoops Prediction: Red Claws in 3.
Fort Wayne wins game one as Maine has lost four of their las five coming into the playoffs. Maine will win both games back at home and move on to the Eastern Conference Finals.