The Westchester Knicks made their D-League debut and shining star Langston Galloway had 17 points and three assists for the Knicks in a loss to the Canton Charge. "I wish that we could've played better," he said. "Other than not winning, I enjoyed playing here. It's a perfect venue for the D-League. The crowd is right there, almost like a college game."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver unfurled a team-logo banner along with Westchester Knicks GM Allan Houston and Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino prior to the opening tip.
The Knicks City Dancers were here to entertain the fans along with the team’s drummers, called the Knicks Sticks. A hot dog is $3.25.
"It's fantastic to be here," said Silver, who grew up in Rye. "My mom was a public high school teacher here in White Plains, and so it is especially gratifying to be back here. I came to events here in the '70s when I was in high school, so it is special." Silver took a seat on the baseline for the game and had a lengthy chat with MSG chairman James Dolan.
Team officials called the game a sellout. A majority of the floor level seats were occupied, but there were some gaps in the balcony. The seating configuration used by the Knicks accommodates 2,100 fans. It wasn't hard to get close to the action. Fans leaned in encouraging the Knicks to put their hands up on defense and share the ball. The referees were easily scrutinized, too.
Artificial noise was plentiful, but there was a bonafide roar of approval in the first quarter when Knicks swingman Thanasis Antetokounmpo raced back on defense and went well above the rim to diffuse a Canton fast-break chance with a replay-worthy block. There was enthusiasm, too, each time a spirit crew launched free t-shirts into the crowd.
Westchester had the defensive momentum at the start, but the Charge did find enough holes to pull in front 42-41 at the half. Canton was up seven when the fourth quarter got under way, but the Knicks fired up the fast break and took a 75-74 lead when Andre Barrett fed Antetokounmpo for a thunderous dunk that forced a timeout.
Alex Kirk, a Cleveland Cavs designee, was a nemesis inside, though. He finished with 24 points made two free throws with 1:08 to play that got Canton on top 82-79. Ben Strong got to the line for the Knicks at the other end, but only made one of two. Justin Johnson blew through a stagnant defense to give the Charge an 84-80 cushion in the final seconds to seal the win.
"At the end of the day it was a great night for our league, it was a great night for our organization," Whitted said. "We felt the energy the moment we walked into the gym."