For three quarters, Grand Rapids Drive guard Dwight Buycks terrorized the Lakeland Magic. In the fourth quarter, Magic forward Jamel Artis took over.
LAKELAND — For three quarters, Grand Rapids Drive guard Dwight Buycks terrorized the Lakeland Magic. In the fourth quarter, Magic forward Jamel Artis took over.
The former Pittsburgh standout poured in 14 of his team-high 32 points in the fourth quarter, besting Buycks’ 33 points, to lead Lakeland past Grand Rapids 96-91 at the RP Funding Center in front of a sparse crowd announced at 1,185 fans.
“We want to play off getting stops,” Artis said. “We’ve got a lot of people that can get off the rebound and dribble out and make chaos for the other team. Play defense first, get a stop, get it off the boards and get out in transition.”
Lakeland (4-1) fell behind by 10 points late in the third quarter, but it was Artis’ late barrage and the team’s defense on Buycks that propelled them to outscore the Drive 27-16 in the fourth quarter.
Troy Caupain, who scored 14 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, spent most of the night on Buycks. It was Rodney Purvis who took on the challenge late as Buycks shot just 2-of-7 in the final quarter after pouring in 27 points through three.
“You just make it as tough as you can and you make him take the lowest-percentage shots you can get,” said Lakeland head coach Stan Heath. “Rodney at the end had a little fresher legs, got a steal and made a couple plays that really helped us down the stretch.”
Luis Montero hit a euro-stepping layup and drew a foul, hitting the ensuing free throw, to give Grand Rapids (4-2) its biggest lead of the game at 73-63 with 3:04 to go in the third quarter.
Lakeland responded, opening the fourth with 11 quick points as Purvis cut the lead to just one point with a driving layup. The former Connecticut star scored 17 points to compliment Artis, who also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out five assists.
“Three out of our starting five can get 20 or more (points) on any given night,” Artis said. “It’s just whoever’s hot that night. We want to feed off each other, we don’t want to be selfish.”
Artis scored seven points in the final three minutes but, after Khem Birch (11 points, nine rebounds) split a pair of free throws to make it 94-91 with 17.6 seconds left, the Detroit Pistons affiliate had one last shot at tying the game.
Buycks was unable to get open off a screen, hoisting a long fadeaway 3-pointer that missed everything in the final seconds.
Lakeland will now hit the road for a two-game trip starting Saturday against Raptors 905 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.