D-Fenders Eke Out Win, Force Game 3 in D-League Semifinals


Here is a closer look at the D-Fenders thrilling 126-124 victory vs. the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, breaking down some of the more important aspects of the game:

The D-Fenders never trailed, though they nearly allowed the Vipers to completely erase a 17-point deficit. RGV poured in 42 points in the final frame, including 22 in the quarter alone from Isaiah Taylor. However, timely shots from Justin Harper and Josh Magette, plus timely free throws down the stretch were just enough. A last-second three-point attempt from Kyle Wiltjer was off the mark as L.A. forced a decisive Game 3 at home on Monday.

Justin Harper and Josh Magette. It was Harper’s triple that broke a 116 tie and Magette followed up with a 3-pointer of his own to put the D-Fenders ahead four points at 122-118 with 27 seconds left. Harper finished with 24 points on an efficient 10-of-13 field goals, plus five steals. Meanwhile, Magette directed the D-Fenders offense to the tune of 15 points (eight in the fourth quarter) and 11 dimes.

Lakers assignment player, David Nwaba, recorded 22 points, nine boards and three assists in Game 2. Many of Nwaba’s Lakers teammates, plus members of the coaching staff were also in attendance, including D’Angelo Russell, Tyler Ennis, Thomas Robinson, coach Luke Walton and assistant coach Jesse Mermuys.

After a huge disparity on the glass (-24) in Game 1, the D-Fenders were only outrebounded by five in Game 2. L.A. conceded 14 second-chance points in Game 2 as well, in comparison to 22 in its Game 1 defeat. Part of that was keeping Onuaku off the glass, who grabbed just eight boards (18 boards in Game 1, including six offensive).

The D-Fenders play a decisive Game 3 vs. the same RGV Vipers in El Segundo on Monday at 7:30pm.

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


About Author

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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