On Wednesday night in front of a packed weekday crowd, the Texas Legends (25-18) used a big first quarter to topple the Fort Wayne Mad Ants (25-18). In the only matchup between the two teams for the year, the Indiana Pacers affiliate lost the first 12 minutes to the Legends 31-19 and the 12-point advantage would prove to be the deciding margin, as the Legends prevailed 117-105.
“With the guys that we’ve lost and the fact that we’ve got new guys in, I just try to fill whatever role is needed of me,” Ashley said. “Tonight, it seemed like me being a little more aggressive was one of those things I needed to do, so I tried to be more assertive and make my presence felt.”
Ashley tied a season-high with four 3-point makes –the fifth time this season– on his way to 24 points and six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. For a player that can do so many different things, one night to the next changes the different kinds of ways Ashley can impact the game.
“I think I always just go out there and play my game. I’m always been one of those guys that prefers to play my own game rather than do something based on what my opponent is doing. I feel like that has always worked better for me and truthfully for the teams that I’ve played for. Sticking to our game plan and making the other team adjust to what we do rather than adjust to what they do.”
Motley scored 32 points to lead the team, making a ridiculous 13-of-14 shots. He’s not perfect, after all. The big man was 2-for-3 from downtown, the first time this season he has hit a pair of 3-pointers, indicative of the work being put in on adding the jumper to his arsenal.
Jones got in on the long range act as well, hitting three three’s and joining Motley as a 30-point scorer with his own 30. Jones also had seven rebounds.
44 field goals made and 117 points keeps the Legends first and second in the G League in those respective categories, where they average 44.8 and 119.3. Behind Warney, Motley, Ashley and company, the team is also first in the league in offensive rebounds per game with 14.
“It’s great to play for a coach who doesn’t really say much about anything offensively,” Ashley said of coach MacKinnon. “As long as we’re playing defense and playing the game, he doesn’t really care if you miss a shot or anything like that. It’s fun to play for a guy that isn’t going to get on you for being aggressive.”
After spending the bulk of the first half away from Dr Pepper Arena, five of the final seven games are at home for the Legends. But first, they will make the short trip to Oklahoma City on Friday for a tilt against the Thunder-affiliated Blue (23-21).
Tipoff arrives at 7 p.m. and an extra contingent of Legends faithful will be in the house as part four-of-four of the Smith Thompson Home Security “Love Those Legends” Tour.