MISSISSAUGA, ON, January 10, 2018 – The Westchester Knicks (18-10), the official NBA G League affiliate of the New York Knickerbockers, fell 127-114 to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (18-9), the Houston Rockets’ affiliate in the teams’ first game at the 2018 NBA G League Showcase. With the win, Rio Grande Valley bumped Westchester to second in the league as the Vipers now hold the best record.
Seven Knicks ended with double-digit scores, led by Knicks Two-Way player Luke Kornet who finished with 23 points, just shy of a double-double with nine rebounds on top of two each of blocks and steals. Guard Billy Garrett notched a new career-high with 20 points off the bench to go with five assists and three rebounds. Two-Way player Isaiah Hicks had 17 with six rebounds and two blocked shots while New York Knicks assignee Damyean Dotson supplied 13 points and six rebounds. Paul Watson also contributed 13 points in the loss, and Nigel Hayes finished with 12 points, seven rebounds, and three steals.
Rockets Two-Way player Demetrius Jackson led all scorers in the game with a 34-point performance from the bench to go with five assists and four rebounds. Isaiah Hartenstein contributed 23 points and eight rebounds from the pine, while starter RJ Hunter supplied another 25 points. Two-Way player Monte Morris finished his night with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Rio Grande Valley was the first to put points on the board, but it was Westchester that had control of the majority of the first twelve minutes. Taking advantage of its opponents’ 25 percent shooting from the arc, the Knicks held a seven-point advantage five times in the first. Westchester ran up a 16-point lead in the second by using a 16-4 run to start the quarter but the Vipers quickly retaliated with its own run of 18-2 to power back to within two points. Rio Grande Valley even briefly held a one-point advantage, but the Knicks piled on a quick seven points to ultimately end the half with a five-point lead.
The second half belonged to the Vipers, most notably with a powerful 40-point fourth quarter performance behind 13 points from Demetrius Jackson. The shift in leaders began at the end of the third, sparked by a Jackson jumper, and grew wider as the game went on. Rio Grande Valley held Westchester to just four points in the first four minutes of the final quarter, securing a double-digit advantage. After the Knicks answered back with two needed shots, the Vipers went on another tear of 12-2 of which Westchester could not match, as Rio Grande Valley ultimately took a 127-114 win.
The Westchester Knicks will play its second 2018 NBA G League Showcase game on Friday, Jan. 12 at 6:00 p.m. against the Agua Caliente Clippers, the Los Angeles Clippers’ affiliate. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers will also play its next game on Friday; an 8:30 p.m. matchup against the Erie BayHawks. That game will also be broadcast on EPSNU.