The Fort Report: Mad Ants are Playoff Bound
Niang Has Monster Game on Assignment in Fort Wayne's Regular Season Finale
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers' D-League affiliate, are back in the postseason. The Mad Ants won their final two regular season games last week to finish the season 30-20, the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.
Because they are in the Central Division alongside the East's best team, Raptors 905, the Mad Ants are the third seed in the D-League playoffs and will meet the second-seeded Maine Red Claws, the Atlantic Division champions, in a best-of-three first round series.
Fort Wayne will host Maine, Boston's D-League affiliate, for Game 1 on Tuesday, April 4 at 7:00 PM ET. Game 2 will be at Maine on Monday, April 10 at 8:00 PM ET. Game 3 (if necessary) will also be at Maine on Wednesday, April 12 at 7:00 PM ET.
The Mad Ants opened last week with a 116-100 road win over the Long Island Nets on Tuesday, March 28 to officially clinch a playoff berth. Former Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough had a monster game in the clincher, torching Brooklyn's affiliate to the tune of 34 points and 14 rebounds. Hansbrough went 11-for-19 from the field and 12-for-14 from the free throw line and collected seven of his boards on the offensive glass.
Marquis Teague, the younger brother of Pacers point guard Jeff Teague, added 18 points and five assists of the bench for Fort Wayne. D-League All-Star Alex Poythress contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, while former UIndy guard Jordan Loyd recorded a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards.
A lot happened in between Tuesday's game and Saturday's regular season finale against the Canton Charge. Poythress left the team, signing a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, a well-earned promotion to the NBA. The Pacers, meanwhile, assigned rookie forward Georges Niang to Fort Wayne to get the youngster some extra playing time.
With a playoff spot secure, head coach Steve Gansey elected to rest several of his key players against Canton. Hansbrough, Loyd, Stephan Hicks, and Travis Leslie all did not play against the Charge, but the Mad Ants still managed to come away with a 111-108 victory.
Niang was the unquestioned star, logging 44 minutes and tallying 32 points, 16 rebounds, and five assists. The former Iowa State star went 14-for-29 from the field and 3-for-11 from 3-point range.
Teague added 19 points and seven assists, while Adam Woodbury had a double-double off the bench with 11 points and 17 rebounds.
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.