On Sunday night, the Santa Cruz Warriors won their first NBA D-League championship. Such an accomplishment was an especially memorable one, not only because they were able to extract revenge on the Fort Wayne Mad Ants for last season's defeat, but also the fact that this was the team's first successful run after making The Finals in each of the last three seasons.
Ultimately falling by a score of 109-96, the defending champion Mad Ants remained in the game and kept Santa Cruz on their heels through. Though they stayed within striking distance, down just ten or so points over the course of the contest, Conner Henry's squad wasn't able to get over the hump when it mattered most. Unable to push the tempo, Fort Wayne couldn't keep up (or catch up) with the Warriors. What's more, Matt Bouldin (4-13), Ramon Harris (4-11), and Co. shot just 38% from the field. The (hot) streaky shooting they displayed in game one was nowhere to be found, giving Santa Cruz the opportunity to lock up the coveted title.
The home team was led by scoring machine Elliot Williams and constant triple-double threat Darington Hobson. They also received a noticeable boost from the likes of returning NBA assignees James Michael McAdoo and Ognjen Kuzmic. The crowd was roaring, the building was rocking, and the likes of Golden State's Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, owner Joe Lacob, General Manager Bob Myers, Assistant General Manager Kirk Lacob, and assistant coaches Alvin Gentry, Luke Walton, and Bruce Fraser all came out to support.
All of this created the perfect recipe for a title victory.
Here's a look at some highlights from Santa Cruz's top performers.