Georges Niang and Abdel Nader went against each other as pro basketball playoff adversaries Monday night, and will do so in a deciding game Wednesday.
The two former Iowa State players are in an NBA D-League best-of-three playoff series that is knotted 1-1 after Niang’s Fort Wayne Mad Ants beat Nader’s Maine Red Claws Monday in Portland, Maine, 111-110.
The deciding points were scored when Niang grabbed a defensive rebound with 18 seconds left and whipped a half-court pass to Trey McKinney-Jones, who was fouled and made two free throws for the deciding points.
Fort Wayne had trailed by as much as 13 points in the fourth quarter.
Niang is on assignment to Fort Wayne by the Indiana Pacers. He has spent most of this season with the Pacers, playing sparingly in 23 games. He was Indiana’s second-round draft pick in 2016 and signed a three-year contract with the team with his rookie season guaranteed.
Niang had 16 points and 7 rebounds Monday. Former Iowa center Adam Woodbury, who was picked by Fort Wayne in the 2016 D-League draft, played five minutes in the game for the Mad Ants.
Niang averaged 19.0 points in six regular-season games with Fort Wayne.
Nader was a second-round draft pick of the Boston Celtics last year, and spent the entire 2016-17 season with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate in Maine. He played 40 games, averaging 21.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He had 19 points in Monday’s loss.
“He’s dynamic,” Maine Coach Scott Morrison told the Chicago Tribune a couple weeks ago. “He can shoot off the catch, but if he sees the open man he gives him the shot. He is constantly getting better, improving his defense as well as his shooting.”
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Game 3 is Wednesday night in Portland, with the winning team advancing to the Eastern Conference finals against Raptors 905, the team former Iowa player Jarrod Uthoff began the season with before getting traded to Fort Wayne. Uthoff signed with the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks last month.