In a stunning display of shooting, the BTN CLS Knights Indonesia overwhelmed the visiting Saigon Heat, 84-59, to take Game 1 of their quarterfinals matchup.
The fourth seed Knights played like a well-oiled machine in front of a boisterous crowd at GOR Kertajaya as they shot 14 triples against the fifth seed Heat. They inflicted their brand of basketball, pushing the pace and scoring at will.
Maxie Esho burned his former team with 24 points, anchored by six treys, to go along with six rebounds. He was also a disruptor on the defensive end, collecting four steals.
Esho set the tone early, knocking down three straight buckets from downtown that gave his team a 16-4 lead midway through the first. A booming triple from Douglas Herring capped off the red hot shooting from the Knights as they boasted a 17-point advantage. Herring played brilliantly with 18 points and 10 assists. Locals Wong Wei Long and Brandon Jawato also had significant contributions scoring 14 points and 11 points respectively.
The Heat fought better in the second period but was met by a tidal wave of scoring by the Knights in the third. The Vietnamese squad only scored 14 points while allowing their opponent to drop 26. They also had difficulty getting into their offensive flow because of their 23 turnovers. Despite their best efforts, the Heat never led the entire contest.
Kyle Barone and De Angelo Hamilton combined for 25 points and 14 rebounds for Saigon. Trevon Hughes struggled mightily all-game long, notching only six points on a dismal 3-for-15 shooting.
The Knights enjoyed a lead as high as 34 points in the dominant win. Their 25-point blowout is now the biggest margin of victory since the introduction of the quarterfinals format.
Game 2 is set this Wednesday, April 3, at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City. The Knights look to close out and advance into the semifinals while the Heat hope to extend the series.