The BTN CLS Knights Indonesia drew first blood in their first ever ASEAN Basketball League playoff game, soundly defeating the Saigon Heat at home, 84-59.
The CLS Knights started well in the battle between the 4th and 5th seed teams, leading by double digits with six minutes remaining in the first quarter after a three pointer by former Heat import Maxie Esho.
From that moment on, the Heat were unable to string any decent run, as the Knights fired on all cylinders and hitting their shots while preventing from the Heat from making theirs, allowing CLS to finish the first quarter with a 31-14 lead.
Back-to-back baskets by Febri Utomo quickly increased the Knights lead to 20 at the start of the second quarter, which proved to be an early hole for the Heat.
The rest of the game saw a similar story as the Knights just proved unstoppable on offense while Saigon floundered for the rest of the game, committing 23 turnovers, shooting a dismal 37 percent, and 4/26 from beyond the arc.
CLS were able to build the lead to as high as 34 off a Wong Wei Long jumper late in the third but ultimately settled for the 25-point victory.
The Knight’s stellar performance was led by Maxie Esho’s 24 points, while Doug Herring Jr. contributed a double-double with 18 points and 10 assists.
DeAngelo Hamilton and Kyle Barone were the only two Saigon Heat players in double digits, scoring with 13 and 12 points respectively. This game was Saigon’s lowest scoring game of the season.
Game 2 of the series will take place in Ho Chi Minh City on the 3rd of April, as the Saigon Heat will look to avoid elimination in the first round of playoffs for the fifth successive season.
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