The Santa Cruz Warriors were crowned NBA D-League Champions for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in Game 2 of the NBA D-League Finals by a score of 109-96.
The victory wraps up a 2-0 sweep for Santa Cruz as they rebounded from their previous two trips to the NBA D-League Finals, where they were swept in 2013 and 2014 by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and these very same Fort Wayne Mad Ants, respectively.
Elliot Williams was named the NBA D-League Finals MVP and scored a game-high 23 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including 17 points in the first half. Darington Hobson (22 points and 11 rebounds), Taylor Griffin (15 points and 11 rebounds) and Golden State Warriors assignee Ognjen Kuzmic (10 points and 10 rebounds), all notched double-doubles in the clinching victory.
James Michael McAdoo, on assignment from the Golden State Warriors, came off the bench to record 21 points on 10-for-16 shooting, to go along with seven rebounds.
Behind the support of a sold-out Kaiser Permanente Arena, Santa Cruz opened up an early lead that was maintained through the opening quarter. Fort Wayne’s Marcus Simmons nailed a three-pointer as time expired in the first to cut the deficit to one, but Santa Cruz still held a 28-27 lead after the first frame.
Fort Wayne captured their first lead of the game at 31-30 early in the second quarter, but the Warriors would take control, outscoring the Mad Ants 31-25 in the quarter, capped by a Williams three-pointer to put Santa Cruz up nine at 61-52 going into the half.
The Warriors took advantage of Fort Wayne’s early struggles from the free-throw line. The Mad Ants only converted 6-of-12 attempts in the first half, before bouncing back to finish the game at 73 percent from the line (22-for-30).
Santa Cruz’s success from downtown helped them maintain a strong lead for the remainder of the game as the Warriors would respond to every run strung together by the Mad Ants. They nailed 10-of-23 of their three-point attempts, including four from Hobson (four-of-six) and three from Williams (three-for-four). The two combined went 7-for-10 for the game.
All five Fort Wayne starters scored in double-figures, as NBA veteran Jordan Crawford led the way for Fort Wayne with 17 points in the loss.