And then there were two.
The NBA G-League's Winter Showcase entered into the semifinal stage as it winds toward Wednesday's championship game.
Fresh off quarterfinal upsets, the Oklahoma City Blue and Motor City Cruise faced off Tuesday in the first of two pivotal contests. The top-seeded Delaware Blue Coats and South Bay Lakers were due to clash for the second championship berth.
G-League Winter Showcase Results
No. 6 Oklahoma City Blue 99, No. 7 Motor City Cruise 97 (semifinal)
No. 3 Rio Grande Valley Vipers 105, No. 2 Maine Celtics 98
No. 1 Delaware Blue Coats 122, No. 4 South Bay Lakers 108 (semifinal)
No. 8 Fort Wayne Mad Ants 155, No. 5 Wisconsin Herd 103
Oklahoma City Blue 99, Motor City Cruise 97
Zavier Simpson brought the Blue to within one point, 97-96, on a layup with 1:03 remaining. Cheick Diallo and Deividas Sirvydis both missed opportunities to widen the Cruise's lead before Scotty Hopson put Oklahoma City ahead on a jumper with 12.7 seconds on the clock.
After a made free throw from Simpson, Motor City had one last possession to tie or take the lead. Sirvydis came up short with a three-pointer, and Diallo's put-back opportunity somehow failed to find the bottom of the bucket.
Diallo was the game's standout performer, making his late miss all the more surprising.
The 2016 second-round pick hasn't appeared in an NBA game since the 2019-20 season and looked motivated to play his way back into the Association. Diallo got what he wanted inside, scoring 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and hauling in 17 rebounds.
NBA G League @nbagleague
Cheick Diallo keeps his control for the tough finish! He's got 14 PTS and 8 REB for No. 7 <a href="https://twitter.com/MotorCityCruise?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MotorCityCruise</a>!<br><br>Just over two minutes remaining in the first half on ESPNU! <a href="https://t.co/LT9JYUN3iY">pic.twitter.com/LT9JYUN3iY</a>
Not to be outdone, Jamorko Pickett (11 points, 15 rebounds) and Derrick Walton Jr. (14 points, 11 assists) both posted double-doubles for Motor City.
On the other side, all five Blue starters scored in double figures. D.J. Wilson (20 points) was the team's leading scorer, and Hopson's 17 points off the bench were pivotal toward OKC coming away with the victory.
Rio Grande Valley Vipers 105, Maine Celtics 98
The Rio Grande Valley Vipers held off a late charge by the Maine Celtics to earn a 105-98 victory.
With a pair of made free throws by Chris Clemons, Maine trailed by three points with 48.6 seconds on the clock. The Celtics forced a stop on the other end of the court and Jaysean Paige had an opportunity to tie the game inside the final 20 seconds.
Trhae Mitchell collected the rebound off Paige's miss and a dunk by Marvin Smith was the final nail in the coffin for the Celtics.
Marcus Foster filled up the stat sheet for Rio Grande Valley, finishing with 21 points, 12 rebounds and six assists.
Clemons was electric in a losing effort, pouring in 31 points and winding up just short of a double-double with nine rebounds.
However, his 4-of-14 clip on three-pointers underscored one of Maine's biggest problems as the Celtics shot 37.5 percent from the field and 29.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Delaware Blue Coats 122, South Bay Lakers 108
The Blue Coats cruised past the Lakers to join the Blue in the title game.
Delaware jumped ahead by 11 points midway through the first quarter and didn't look back. The Lakers clawed their way back to make it a four-point game at halftime, only for the Blue Coats to drop 35 points in the third quarter to take control for good.
Haywood Highsmith had a game-high 30 points on 12-of-21 shooting, while teammate Jarron Cumberland had a triple-double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Delaware was plus-22 with Braxton Key on the floor as the 6'8" forward posted 21 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks.
Paris Bass, Cameron Oliver and Nate Pierre-Louis were the engine for South Bay's offense, combining to score 76 points.
Fort Wayne Mad Ants 155, Wisconsin Herd 103
The Fort Wayne Mad Ants blitzed the Wisconsin Herd for 155 points in a dominant victory
The Herd only trailed 31-23 after the first quarter. Fort Wayne proceeded to put up 47 points in the second quarter.
The Mad Ants attempted 109 shots when all was said in done, hitting 55 percent of their field goals and going 20-of-45 on threes.
Gabe York had the hot hand, nailing a team-record nine three-pointers en route to a 36-point showing off the bench.
NBA G League @nbagleague
Gabe York made HISTORY today! 💪<a href="https://twitter.com/TheMadAnts?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheMadAnts</a> sniper dropped 36 points on a franchise record NINE three’s in 26 minutes off the bench. The Ants won by 53. 👀 <a href="https://t.co/VhU7Tf8nLL">pic.twitter.com/VhU7Tf8nLL</a>
Nine players scored for Fort Wayne and only two failed to hit double digits. Keifer Sykes and Terry Taylor paced York with 22 and 20 points apiece.
Jalen Lecque had 26 points in 39 minutes for the Herd. Illustrating Wisconsin's night, the team was nonetheless minus-49 when Lecque was on the floor. Sometimes, there isn't much you can do when you run into a buzzsaw.