The Grand Rapids Drive (11-10) defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors (10-9) in an exciting seesaw battle on ESPNU on Friday night, 126-124. The Drive recorded their third win in a row and improve to 5-3 on the road this season.
There were 14 ties and the lead changed hands 21 times over the course of the night, but Kevin Murphy’s pull-up jumper with 50 seconds remaining gave the Drive a 125-121 lead that they secured by forcing the Warriors to foul.
Jordan Crawford led a third-quarter surge by the Drive where they outscored Santa Cruz 39-29 and erased the double-digit deficit they faced early in the quarter. The 39 points were a season high for the Drive in the third quarter this season.
Crawford finished with a game-high 31 points off the bench playing against his former team’s D-League affiliate. He had 16 points in the third quarter.
Murphy had 30 points for Grand Rapids and Ray McCallum had 14 points, six rebounds and six assists. The Drive shot 48 percent from the field and turned the ball over just 11 times, backing up their status as the league’s lowest-turnover team.
All the Santa Cruz starters scored in double figures, led by 26 points from LaDontae Henton on his 25th birthday. Phil Pressey, Crawford’s former teammate with the Boston Celtics in 2013-14, stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, seven rebounds and 12 assists and Scott “Sky” Wood scored 18 points. Damian Jones, a first-round pick on assignment from the Golden State Warriors, had 13 points and 12 rebounds to go with four blocks.
Grand Rapids was able to hold on for the win despite surrendering the most points they have all year. Like the Drive, the Warriors were very efficient, shooting 48 percent from the field and 43 percent from three-point range. They also out-rebounded the Drive 54-46, but failed to cash in on some easy points by missing 13 free throws.
The Drive will not get much of a break, taking on the Los Angeles D-Fenders at 9:30 p.m Eastern on Jan. 7. Tonight’s game kicks off a month of road games for the Drive, next home game isn’t until Feb 1. The Warriors will head to Austin to play the Spurs on Jan. 8.
- Nikola Jovanovic scored 14 pints for the Drive on his 23rd birthday.
- Kevin Murphy leads the entire NBA D-League with 68 three-pointers made.
- Phil Pressey’s first NBA start was on January 15, 2014, the day after the Celtics traded Jordan Crawford.
- Grand Rapids has scored the least amount of fast-break points in the D-League.