D-Fenders Drop First Game Of Season

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Here is a closer look at the D-Fenders 133-120 loss win vs. the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, breaking down some of the more important aspects of the game:

GAME SUMMARY
The Vipers’ biggest lead was 17 points, and the D-Fenders managed to cut the deficit to single digits on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter. However, L.A. could not get over the proverbial hump. The coaching staff alluded to the extra possessions RGV was allowed thanks to their dominance on the boards, as well as numerous opportunities at the rim.

“They got a lot of extra possessions from their offensive rebounding,” coach Koby Carl said. “Their their guards did a good job in the fourth – and end of the third – getting to the rim and creating easy baskets.”

PLAYER OF THE GAME
On assignment from the Houston Rockets, Kyle Wiltjer scored 26 points. Even though he made just 10-of-23 field goals (three triples), his ability to stretch the floor opened up a number of scoring chances at the rim for his teammates. His involvement in pick-and-roll situations was key as the 6-foot-10 forward could either float to the three-point line or dive to the hoop.

LAKERS SPOTLIGHT
Ivica Zubac, on assignment from the Lakers, scored 13 points and grabbed three boards in 23 minutes, but fouled out. However, both his teammates and coaches were pleased overall with the rookie’s play.

“He was really good,” Karl said. “Obviously very efficient. He’ll need to pick up a couple more rebounds, especially on a team like we have where he’s one of the biggest guys on the floor. Defensively he was pretty good, communicating with guys and protecting the rim … He finished well, he made some good post moves.”

Ivica Zubac D-Fenders

STAT OF THE GAME
The Vipers grabbed 23 offensive rebounds and outrebounded the D-Fenders 64-36. Chinanu Onuaku pulled down 22 rebounds himself (more defensive rebounds than L.A. corralled), with seven coming on the offensive end.

UP NEXT
The D-Fenders face the Santa Cruz Warriors on Saturday, Nov. 19. Tip-off is at 6:30pm. Just last weekend, L.A. spoiled Santa Cruz’s home season opener in erasing a 17-point deficit to win 116-114.

*Videos courtesy of the NBA D-League’s YouTube channel.

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Trevor Wong was a regular contributor to Lakers.com during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, providing coverage of the Lakers and the D-Fenders. He almost thought he could play in the NBA, but soon found out covering the sport wasn't a bad consolation prize. Follow him on Twitter (@Trevor_Wong) and Instagram (@trevorjwong).

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