Tag Archives: Ron Howard

Game Preview: Iowa Energy

               Tonight at 7 p.m on their home floor in Allen War Memorial Coliseum, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (1-4) take the floor to face off against the Iowa Energy (4-2) in their first Thursday game of the young season. The two have an extensive history playing against each other as Central Division foes before Fort Wayne was realigned to the Eastern Division this year.  Fort Wayne sports an 8-6 all-time mark against the Iowa Energy at home, and will look to pick up its second win of the year against one of the most potent offensive attacks in the league.

                                                                               Team Matchups

In terms of team statistics, Iowa ranks 3rd in the league in points per game at 115 points per contest, and are 5th in total rebounds per game at 47.5 per game.  When they are on a roll, the team is hard to stop: Iowa has scored at least 120 points four times, and has gone 3-1 in those games, including a 133-123 shootout loss to the league’s best offense, the 8-0 Rio Grande Valley Vipers, in the game leading up to tonight’s matchup. Iowa is 4-1 overall on the road this season.

This game is a great offensive matchup for Fort Wayne, which has started slowly out of the gate due to their struggles beyond the arc (28.2%, 14th in the league on a league low-14.4 attempts per game), the ability to get easy buckets (16th out of 17 teams in team assists per game), and a middle of the pack rating in turnovers per game (18.2, 10th overall). While some of that high figure has to do with the pace they play at and number of extra shot attempts they receive from their rebounding efforts, Iowa is not nearly as good on the defensive end, yielding 112.2 points per contest, 13th in the league. As a result, it should give the Mad Ants the opportunity to get going on offense and crack triple digits in scoring for the second time this season.

Defense is where the Mad Ants have hung their hat on so far, racking up steals (12.8, 2nd in the league) and are in the top five in points surrendered per game with 100.4 per contest. Fort Wayne will need to contain the three point arc and capitalize in defensive rebounding situations given that Iowa is one of the worst teams in the league at generating second chance opportunities on offense. This begins with individuals such as forward Sadiel Rojas for the Mad Ants, who has been on a rebounding tear (3 straight games of 10+ rebounds) and has been pulling down 3 offensive rebounds per game. Besides Rojas, the Mad Ants have put in a collective team effort on the glass, with 6 players grabbing at least 4.8 rebounds per game. Fort Wayne will probably need to win the rebounding battle in order to get the win.

Players to Watch

Iowa Energy

Individually for players to watch on the Energy, it starts with former Miami Heat forward Jarvis Varnado. Acquired before this season in a trade with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Varnado has lived up to the hype: he is 3rd on the team in points (16.3), 4th in the entire D-League in rebounds (11.7), and is an absolutely devastating shot blocker, rejecting 5.3 per game. His 5.3 blocks per game is 1st overall in the league after leading the league with 3.4 last season.

To pair up with him, Iowa has the red hot Othyus Jeffers, a guard-forward who is 3rd in the league in scoring per game (25.5) thanks to his efficiency from the field (51.8%). Jeffers has attributes similar to a blank Scrabble tile: wherever you need help in a particular situation, he gets the job done for you. In addition to his scoring, he also brings rebounding (11.1 per game, 5th overall in the league), passing (4.2 assists), and creates important opportunities in transition thanks to his 2.2 steals per game.

Fort Wayne Mad Ants

For the Mad Ants, the arrival of guard Bennie Lewis is an interesting story line to watch. Lewis, who prior to signing last week spent three seasons playing overseas, brought the ability to shoot beyond the arc in his first game in a Mad Ant uniform, knocking down 3 three point attempts. A critical need for Fort Wayne right now is space to operate on offense, and if Lewis can force defenders to come out to three point arc, it would help open up room on the floor for many of Fort Wayne players who look to drive to the rim to get their buckets such as forward Trey McKinney-Jones and D-League All-Star guard Ron Howard.

After attending training camp on a loaded Indiana Pacers team and just missing out on a NBA roster spot, Howard has returned to Fort Wayne and continued his stellar play from the guard position. He is first on the team in points (23.0) and assists (3.0), and is 4th in rebounding while shooting a solid 44.8% from the field as the Mad Ants number one option on offense. He is assisted in carrying the scoring load by an emerging rookie, Trey McKinney-Jones. The forward is second on the team in points per game (18.0), and is coming off a spectacular performance against the Skyforce, playing 47 of a possible 50 minutes and posting a team season-high 30 points, snagging 6 boards, and coming up with 3 steals without turning the ball over.

Recap of the first two rounds of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament

By Alec Johnson

The first two rounds of the Las Vegas Summer League tournament are in the books, and surprisingly, the D-League Select Team hasn’t lost a game yet. Here’s how all the teams with Mad Ant players did on Wednesday and Thursday:

Wednesday 

  • Minnesota T-Wolves (Demetri McCamey) 92, Sacramento Kings 54

In this contest, the T-Wolves destroyed the Kings by forcing turnovers and getting rebounds, outrebounding the Kings 44-30. They also were led by a 17-pt performance from Shabazz Muhammad and a 15-pt performance from Demetri McCamey, who had 13 of those points in the first half to lead all scorers, according to the NBA.com recap. They moved on to face the NBA D-League Select Team on Thursday.

  • Dallas Mavericks 95, Los Angeles Clippers (Vernon Macklin, JaJuan Johnson) 89

The LA Clippers had a 20-10 lead after the first quarter, but a 19-6 run by the Dallas Mavericks in the second quarter gave the Mavs the lead, and they gained it back for good late in the third quarter with a three from D.J. Stephens. Leading the Mavs was Josh Akognon with 24 points and was a perfect 8 for 8 from the free throw line. Reggie Bullock again led the way for the Clippers with 20 points and 5 rebounds. JaJuan Johnson added 6 points and Vernon Macklin added 9 rebounds. The Clippers will take on the 15th seed New York Knicks this afternoon in the consolation round at 1 PM ET, while Dallas moved on to face the #1 seed Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

  • Denver Nuggets (Luke Harangody) 87, New Orleans Pelicans 82

After almost losing a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Nuggets managed to pull away and hold off the Pelicans. Jordan Hamilton scored 23 points, going 8 of 14 from the floor and 4 of 7 from the perimeter, according to the NBA.com recap. Quincy Miller also chipped in 17 points, 12 of them coming in the third quarter. As for Harangody, he only scored 4 points the entire game, which hasn’t been like the performances he’s put on so far in this tournament. New Orleans was led by Darius Miller’s 23-point effort. The Nuggets advanced to take on the Toronto Raptors on Thursday night.

  • Miami Heat 113, New York Knicks (Tony Mitchell) 66

This game was one to forget for the New York Knicks, as Miami dominated the whole game from start to finish. Miami outscored the Knicks 22-8 in the first quarter while forcing seven turnovers and held the Knicks to just 29% from the field, according to the NBA.com recap. Travis Leslie scored 23 points for the Heat, and Jeremy Tyler scored 18 points for the Knicks and added 8 rebounds and an assist. Mitchell scored no points in this one, and played just under seven minutes. As said before, the Knicks will take on the LA Clippers in the consolation round this afternoon, while the Heat moved on to play the #2 seed Chicago Bulls Thursday.

Thursday 

  • D League Select (Ron Howard) 83, Minnesota Timberwolves (Demetri McCamey) 75

The D League Select Team keeps on rolling, as they won their fourth game of the Summer League, and first game of the tournament round over the T-Wolves. Brian Butch lead the way for the D League, scoring 18 points and adding 11 rebounds, according to the NBA.com recap. Ron Howard was second in scoring with 14 points, 12 of them earned at the free throw line. He also added 3 assists and 2 rebounds. Two other D League players, Elijah Millsap and Stefhon Hannah, were also in double digits, scoring 13 and 10 points respectively. As for the T-Wolves, they were led by Othyus Jeffers and Jeff Holland, who each scored 11 points. Demetri McCamey added 9 points for the T-Wolves. The D League Select advances to take on Cody Zeller and the Charlotte Bobcats in the quarterfinals at 8 PM ET on Saturday night. As for the T Wolves, they move into the consolation round to play the Portland Trail Blazers tonight at 7 PM ET.

  • Golden State Warriors (Cameron Jones) 79, Dallas Mavericks 76

Led by Kent Bazemore and his 25-pt performance, the Golden State Warriors were able to fend off the Dallas Mavericks with a late 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to win by three, according to the NBA.com recap. It was a back and forth game, with the Warriors being down 14 points during one part of the fourth quarter, the recap also said. Also helping the Warriors were the efforts of Cameron Jones, who was second in scoring with 15 points, Ian Clark, who added 13 points, and Draymond Green and Lance Goulbourne, who each added 10 points to the scoring. Dallas was led by Justin Dentmont, who scored 19 points, and was helped by Gal Mekel with 13, and Jackie Carmichael and Ricky Ledo, who each had 10. The Warriors advanced to take on the 8th seeded LA Lakers at 10 PM ET on Saturday, while the Mavericks face the Chicago Bulls in the consolation bracket tonight at 10 PM ET.

  • Toronto Raptors 95, Denver Nuggets (Luke Harangody) 78

Six players scored in double digits for the Raptors as they defeated Luke Harangody and the Denver Nuggets. Leading the way for the Raptors was Dwight Buycks with 18 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds, according to the NBA.com recap. Also scoring in double digits was Terrence Ross with 17 points, Jonas Valenciunas with 15, Coby Karl with 13, Micah Downs with 12, and Quincy Acy with 10. Jordan Hamilton again led the way for the Nuggets with 25 points. Harangody and Quincy Miller added 10 points for the Nuggets. The Raptors move on to face the Phoenix Suns in the quarterfinals on Saturday night at 6 PM ET while the Nuggets fall into the consolation round, where they will play the Memphis Grizzlies tonight at 8:30 PM ET.

Tune into the games this weekend, starting tonight with the consolation round, starting at 4 PM ET with the LA Clippers taking on the New York Knicks. Saturday’s quarterfinal games start at 4 PM ET with the Miami Heat taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers. All games are on NBA TV or online at www.nba.com/summerleague.

A link to the tournament bracket can be found here.