Despite coming out of the gates early on with a strong defensive effort, the NBA D-League Select Team fell behind the Knicks as their Thursday night matchup continued. Unfortunately for the NBADL, they couldn't recover until it was too late.
The D-League Select Team shot of the cannon and looked to have a handle on the Knicks' triangle offense. They were alert defensively, kept their hands up, asserted themselves down low, and managed to get in the passing lanes quite effectively. The minor league's Summer League representative jumped out to a double-digit early in the first, but after recuperating, the Knicks came soaring back, recapturing a lead of their own and never looking back.
The D-League put up a last ditch effort fight, gaining an eight point advantage in the fourth, but it simply wasn't enough. New York won by a score of 80-73. As the Knicks improved to a 4-0 on the week, the NBADL fell to 2-3, ending their hopes at a a tournament championship victory.
Following the game, RidiculousUpside.com caught up with SB Nation alum and current Fort Wayne Mad Ants' video coordinator turned Select Team assistant coach Dylan Murphy. Despite being prepared for the triangle offense, such an effort simply wasn't good enough to slow down New York.
"I thought our half-court defense was good," Murphy said. "I thought we [had trouble] getting back in transition. We fouled jump-shooters, which is obviously a big problem. That's an issue, especially when you're trying to get back."
The execution may have been lacking down the stretch, but what exactly was the plan? How did the D-League Select Team hope to take down the triangle?
"The key is trying to dictate where the ball games. Certain cuts dictate certain passes and certain screens. You can deny different entries passes and sort of push the ball into an area where you want it to be," the coach added. "We wanted to keep the ball out of certain players' hands. We wanted to keep it away from certain areas of the floor. That was our plan, but obviously it didn't work all the time."
Nevertheless, competing against such a world-reknown offense was surely an unique experience for the D-League Select squad. While such a team, is generally speaking, an older one than in seasons' past, many of the team's players likely still grew up watching Phil Jackson's Bulls teams run the triangle.
Tony Mitchell attempted to keep his team afloat as he led the way with 20 points. A key to the NBADL's early run, Tre Kelley was able to pour in the points by getting to the charity stripe with ease. He added 18 in the loss, sinking 11 of 12 free-throws along the way.