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Darrun Hilliard shines as Grand Rapids drop a close one against Fort Wayne, 99-96

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Darrun Hilliard shined and Spencer Dinwiddie struggled as the Drive were unable to cap off a comeback in the dying seconds. Both Hilliard and Dinwiddie were recalled to the Pistons after the game.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Darrun Hilliard and Spencer Dinwiddie were unable to lead the Grand Rapids Drive to a win over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in what was the pair's second D-League stint of the season. Sloppy play and unforced errors from both teams led to a tense in finish in Grand Rapids, with the Mad Ants managing to stave off a determined Drive comeback attempt late in the fourth.

Hilliard scored four points in the last seven seconds of play to keep the Drive within striking distance, but cooler heads prevailed, as Fort Wayne's Joe Young knocked down crucial free throws in the dying seconds of the game to seal the Drive's fate. Rakeem Christmas powered the Mad Ants with a solid performance, scoring 18 points and 8 rebounds, with Young chipping in 17 points. Hilliard led both teams in scoring with 23 points (8/16 FG; 3/8 3P; 4/6 FT), adding 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals to his final statline, while Spencer Dinwiddie finished the night with 7 points (2/9 FG; 0/1 3P; 3/4 FT), 3 rebounds and 2 assists (3 TOs). The Drive also got added production from Henry Sims, who notched an impressive double-double with 22 points and 16 rebounds.

Spencer fouled out in the final seconds after intentionally fouling Young twice to stop the clock, but the point guard's game was far from stellar, he showed the same mix of offensive potential and poor decision-making that Piston fans have become used to. While there were times where he seemed in control of the offense, there were others where he tried to force things a bit too much. Mid-way through the second quarter, the Mad Ants missed a layup, Sims grabbed a rebound and passed it to Dinwiddie who pushed the ball up the court, with a couple Fort Wayne players already back on defense, he decided to jack up a three, missing, and then corralling his own missed shot and going back for a contested layup, missing again before Lorenzo Brown swooped in for a putback dunk. Highlights:

Darrun had another good game as a member of the Drive, and put on display some of the skills that got him drafted 38th overall. The Villanova guard showed his ability to put the ball on the floor as he drove to the hoop multiple times over the course of the game, drawing a few fouls, dropping a couple layups and also getting blocked twice. He ran the offense on a couple possessions, although he didn't seem entirely confident at times he was quick to read the defense and adjust accordingly. Highights:

Game Notes:

  • Pistons assistant coach Aaron Gray was sitting behind the bench, had his head in the coaching huddle a couple times and was in Dinwiddie's ear in the fourth quarter
  • Henry Sims had a very quiet double-double, don't be surprised if he gets an NBA callup over the course of the season
  • Dahntay Jones can still play! A lot of veteran savy on display, not to mention a pretty awesome buzzer beating layup to end the third quarter
  • Terran Petteway and Lorenzo Brown showed some potential, but both are still raw
  • Both players were recalled after the game and will be with the Pistons on Monday night.
  • Boxscore