Season three is off and running!
Crowds packed the DeltaPlex Arena on Friday as Grand Rapids Drive opened up their third season in the NBA D-League with some hot shooting in an impressive win over the Canton Charge, 134-111, while celebrating Veterans’ Day.
The Drive, the NBA D-League affiliate of the Detroit Pistons, started off the 2016-17 season by scoring 39 points in the first quarter and shooting 53% from the field and 44% from behind the 3-point arc throughout the game.
New coach Rex Walters put the ball in the hands of the Pistons’ 2016 1st-round draft pick, Henry Ellenson, early and often on the offensive end. Throughout the first half, Ellenson attacked the basket, both off the dribble and on the offensive boards, while knocking down some outside shots and showing the crowd he’s NBA-ready right now.
Newcomers Ellenson, Ray McCallum, Nikola Jovanovic and returning player Bruce Massey all had scored in double figures by halftime, with GR leading by only 12 points, 71-59, after Canton charged back with 38 points of their own in the second quarter behind Kevin Olekaibe and 2015-16 NBADL All-Rookie winner, Quinn Cook.
But, it was the Drive who would take over after the break, starting out on a 22-10 scoring run and reaching the 100-pont mark with 2:19 left in the third quarter. In the fourth, the club from Beer City, USA grew their lead to a massive 30 points with just over four minutes to go in the game.
McCallum (10 assists) and Jovanovic (15 rebounds) led the Drive with 21 points each and Ellenson (9 rebounds) added 19 points. Newcomer and former-NBA player Jordan Crawford also finished with 19 points in his first game with the Drive. Canton’s Cook scored 27 points to lead all scorers.
The Drive next game is Friday, November 18 when they head to Canton to face off against the Charge again.