When you drive past a marquee advertising a NBDL game the following night and you’ve got no plans, you can’t not go. My friend Lee agreed, so we went to last night’s game between the Westchester Knicks and Erie BayHawks.
Many others apparently felt the same way, as the Westchester County Center—better known for hosting sports memorabilia shows and reptile exhibits—was packed. We got in line for tickets and were immediately told they were running out and that there were no longer two seats together.* This seemed absurd to us, even in an arena that only seats 2,500 people. It turns out both the employee and we were right: While it was true that we had to buy tickets in different rows, once inside it was clear we’d have scores of seating options. Were the open seats no-show season ticket holders? I have no good answer.
*Don’t ask me how much tickets cost. The team website advertised a 2-for-1 deal. Given TicketMaster’s fees, I called to ask if I could get the promotion at the door and was told I could, without any fees. At the door, however, I was told the deal was only through TicketMaster and ended up spending $43 for the pair. Not exorbitant, but still more than I would have thought for a D-League game.
The Knicks scored 33 points in the first quarter and led 62-48 at half. My halftime conversation with Lee bled into the third quarter and I sort of zoned out. Next thing I realized, the BayHawks—a name unpleasant to the eye and ear both—had taken the lead heading into the fourth.
Earlier that afternoon, I had looked up the rosters. Given my college basketball fanaticism, I was familiar with many of the players, such as: Peyton Siva, Seth Curry, Kadeem Batts, and Lenzelle Smith on Erie; Andre Barrett, Langston Galloway, and Marcus Ginyard on Westchester. I had questions that went beyond the personnel that I hoped would be answered at the game. Most were not.
Among the answers I later found on my own: Pennsylvania; he’s his half-brother; Father Knickerbocker; yes, Presque Isle; at a Louisville game.
The questions, in order: What state are the Erie BayHawks from? Is Westchester’s Todd Mayo related to O.J. Mayo? Who is the Revolutionary War figure in the Knicks’ logo? Is there a bay in Erie, Pennsylvania? Where was Peyton Siva?
Erie’s comeback was mostly due to Curry’s shooting. I thought at least one of his 11 missed field goals would inspire a “You’re brother would have made that!” But I appeared to be the only fan even considering yelling it. As far as being the less talented brother, Curry had company in the County Center. There was also the aforementioned Mayo, as well as the Knicks’ Thanasis Antetokounmpo, brother of Giannis, an All-Rookie Second Teamer with the Bucks last year. (Lee briefly thought Erie’s John Bohannon might be the brother of former Louisville star Chane Behanan, but the only thing they have in common is being D-Leaguers.)
A fan near us booed Curry during a free throw, which made me happy, and the Knicks pulled away late to win 108-102. Much of the crowd acknowledged the home team hitting the century mark, apparently because of a promotional tie-in, possibly with Buffalo Wild Wings. It was hard to hear the PA announcer over the cheering, so all I know for sure is it had nothing to do with the City Limits diner: my attempt to get a discount on my post-game meal there was unsuccessful.
There were enough positives to make it an enjoyable evening: all fans got winter caps; I was briefly on the video board; the security staffer who patted me down didn’t mind that I had a bag of snacks in my jacket. And the Knicks won. Even though they’ve played half as many games as their NBA counterpart, the Westchester squad has two more wins.