Drive try to keep on playoff push against Bayhawks

Tonight at 7:00pm EST I might suggest that you deviate from the eternal sadness of the Detroit Pistons and focus instead on a team still very much in the thick of the playoff race. The Grand Rapids Drive (24-21) will be hosting the Erie Bayhawks (26-20) for their second straight at home against a team above them in the standings.

The game will be another important one for the Drive as they look to cement their playoff positioning. They currently sit one game ahead of the Windy City Bulls and Lakeland Magic (both 23-22) for the sixth and final playoff spot but are now only two games behind the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (26-19) in their division after defeating them on Tuesday in an overtime thriller. The winner of each of the six divisions gets an automatic playoff birth.

The Drive are expected to have two-way player Kay Felder available barring a last-second call-up.  I am also fairly certain Reggie Hearn is still in Grand Rapids and did not make the trip to Utah with the Pistons although I admit that I am not totally sure about that. Felder has put together two straight solid games by scoring 28 and 24 points and will look to continue his high level of play. Landry Nnoko will also look to have a repeat performance of Tuesday where he put up 19 points, 18 rebounds, four assists, and eight blocks.

This game is rivalry night at the DeltaPlex, as Grand Rapids will be wearing special uniforms with both the Michigan State and University of Michigan logos on them. Game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the game with proceeds going to kids food basket.

Grand Rapids also just added big man Nnanna Egwu to the roster yesterday. The big man out of Illinois will be suited up although it is not clear if he will contribute right away or not.

Keys to the game:

  1. Grand Rapids must take care of the ball. Erie creates lots of turnovers and scores a higher percentage of their points off of turnovers than any other team in the G-League. Considering how little Felder and Hearn have played with the Drive this may be a challenging outing for them.
  2. Erie is tied (with Grand Rapids) for seventh in the G-League in three-point attempt rate, but only barely shoot over 33% from deep. The Drive must find a balance of not overreacting to several bad but willing shooters without giving them enough space to start hitting.
  3. Erie is a mediocre offensive team and a very good defensive one. Neither team plays at an especially fast pace (by G-League standards) which means this should be a hard-fought game. Grand Rapids must be ready to fight for every bucket.

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