Drive Earn First Playoff Appearance With 101-99 Victory Over Long Island
The Grand Rapids Drive (29-21) won a close game over the Long Island Nets (27-23) 101-99 to secure their first-ever playoff appearance.
— Grand Rapids Drive (@grdrive) March 25, 2018
Two-way player Kay Felder was out once again with back spasms, but the Drive were once again in good hands with Speedy Smith. Smith picked apart the Net defense the entire night on his way to a 20 point, 13 assist, 7 rebound performance.
Smith’s passing and ball-sharing abilities were perhaps best shown by the way the scoring was divided among the rest of the team, however, as the Drive finished the game with eight players in double-figures. In fact, Bronson Koenig was the only Drive player who did not score at least ten.
Jon Horford was especially impactful off the bench in a game where Landry Nnoko was slightly limited by foul trouble. Horford finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds in just 18 minutes of work.
The Nets were led by two-way player Isaiah Whitehead who put up a valiant 39 point performance in the loss. The Drive regularly had no answer for Whitehead throughout the game but did manage a few big stops on him in crunch-time to secure the game.
The victory came as a secondary worry, however, as with under a minute remaining, Drive player Zeke Upshaw collapsed on the court and was rushed to the hospital. It is being reported that he was in cardiac arrest. The situation is hanging over the win and we all hope for good news today.
The Drive will be heading north of the border to take on the Raptors 905 in a single-elimination playoff game this coming Wednesday at 7:30pm EST.
- Kay Felder went through warmups before the game despite not playing which would suggest that he is close to being ready to play.
- The balanced scoring effort has been a theme for the Drive of late. They have had at least five players in double-figures in each one of their six straight wins, with six players in four of them.
- In an interesting twist, had the Drive lost this game they would’ve missed the playoffs due to tie-breakers, but with the win, they vault up to second in the Eastern Conference.