GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Dwayne Bacon cradled the ball at the top of the key. There was less than a minute to play and the Greensboro Swarm had a two-point lead over the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Bacon was trying to drain the clock, and as seconds ticked away, a different defender switched onto him. The Florida State product took a few dribbles, pulled the ball back and fired a shot from behind the arc.
As the ball sank through the hoop, the crowd in the Greensboro Fieldhouse roared. Bacon smiled, and waved his arms to prompt additional cheers. He could hardly contain his excitement. He was playing well and having fun, and everyone in the building could see it.
Moments later, Bacon stole a Mad Ants' inbounds pass and darted toward the hoop, throwing down a dunk to seal the win for the Swarm.
Not only did Bacon lead the Swarm to a win and have a blast doing it Wednesday, he scored 51 points. The total is a Swarm franchise record and the most points any player has scored in a G-League game this season. Bacon, a 24-year-old Florida State product, also tallied 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals.
The game was a massive bright spot for Bacon, whose had a bumpy last few months with the Charlotte Hornets.
Bacon began the season as a key player, starting the first 10 games of the season. But then, his playing time began to quickly dwindle. In his last nine games with the Hornets, Bacon only played in four.
Part of this was because of the stellar play of Devonte' Graham, the improvements of Malik Monk and the rise of the Martin twins, but it was also due to Bacon not showing any improvements to his game.
To fix things, Bacon knew he needed playing time. He wasn't going to get any better sitting on the bench. So, a month ago, he asked the Hornets -- as he had done last season -- to send him to the G-League. Charlotte's brass, specifically assistant general manager Buzz Peterson, told Bacon no.
But this past week, Bacon asked again and Peterson relented. He told Bacon to "be careful" and reminded him that he didn't have to go to Greensboro. Bacon felt he needed to.
"I got a great relationship with Buzz. He just said, 'I don't think it will benefit you,'" Bacon said. "But I was like, man, just let me go down there for just a few games, just to get a feel for the game... I just appreciate him for letting me come down. He knows how hard I work and how bad I love the game and how bad I want to play."
Bacon isn't sure how long he'll remain in Greensboro. As of Friday, the Hornets hadn't recalled him. He says he'll talk to Peterson and his agent every day about what's best.
"Buzz is the man. He's the boss. I have a lot of respect for him. He's been great to me," Bacon said. "I trust him."