The Fort Report: Leaf Shines in First G League Action
The Pacers' G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, went 1-2 in three games decided by three points or less last week, but they're still 11-6 on the season, tied with the Wisconsin Herd (Milwaukee's affiliate) for first place in the Central Division.
Last Thursday, the Mad Ants fell on the road, dropping a 110-107 heartbreaker to the Maine Red Claws (Boston's affiliate). Fort Wayne led 107-103 after Walter Lemon Jr.'s layup with 35 seconds to play, but Abdel Nader made a 3-pointer on the other end, the Mad Ants turned the ball over, and Guerschon Yabusele's putback layup with 15.5 seconds left gave Maine the lead for good.
Jarrod Uthoff, who spent training camp with the Pacers, led the Mad Ants with 25 points (going 4-for-6 from 3-point range) and eight rebounds. Lemon added 19 points and six assists, while Pacers two-way forward Alex Poythress chipped in 18 points and five rebounds.
After that contest, the Pacers made a series of moves, recalling Poythress and assigning rookies TJ Leaf and Ike Anigbogu to Fort Wayne. Anigbogu, the Pacers' second-round pick, had already spent time with the Mad Ants, but it was the first G League assignment for Leaf, Indiana's first-round selection.
Fort Wayne dropped another nail-biter on Saturday, falling 103-101 to the Grand Rapids Drive (Detroit's affiliate). Leaf was solid in his first G League action, racking up 20 points on 9-of-19 shooting (2-of-4 from 3-point range) to go along with nine rebounds.
Lemon flirted with a triple-double, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists. Uthoff added 16 points, while Anigbogu had four points on 2-of-7 shooting and 11 rebounds.
The Mad Ants got back in the win column on Monday night, holding off a late rally to beat the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte's affiliate), 127-124. Leaf was brilliant offensively, scoring a game-high 33 points on 14-of-21 shooting (4-of-5 from 3-point range) and pulling down nine rebounds.
Lemon added 26 points and 11 assists, while Trey McKinney-Jones chipped in 18 points, six boards, and eight assists off the bench. Anigbogu finished with two points, six rebounds, three assists, and four blocks.
Lemon remains among the league leaders in several stat categories. He's tied for seventh in scoring (23.2 points per game), tied for 15th in assists (6.6 per contest), and sixth in steals (2.3 per game). Uthoff is tied for 16th in rebounding (8.5 per game) and tied for 19th in blocks (1.3 per contest).
The Mad Ants play twice this week, hosting the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn's affiliate) on Thursday and visiting Raptors 905 (Toronto's affiliate) on Saturday afternoon.
Stay tuned to Pacers.com for continued updates on the Mad Ants, and make sure to check out Pacers.com/MadAntsTV » to watch Mad Ants games free online.