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D-Fenders Get Victory, Flash Still Get Playoff Bid

Los Angeles D-Fenders 118, Utah Flash 117

OREM, Utah, April 7, 2009 - Dwayne Mitchell and Mickael Gelabale combined for 54 points as the Los Angeles D-Fenders picked up a 118-117 NBA Development League victory over the Utah Flash Tuesday at the McKay Events Center.

Despite the loss, the Flash still managed to clinch a berth in the 2009 NBA Development League playoffs thanks to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds 129-121 loss at Colorado on Tuesday. Seeding, dates and times for playoff games will not be determined until Sunday.

“It was disappointing to lose this game tonight, but it is satisfying to clinch a spot in the playoffs that is a tribute to our bigger body of work this season,” Flash head coach Brad Jones said. “Now we have to regroup ourselves and pick up some momentum heading into the playoffs.”

Los Angeles, who defeated the Flash 102-91 Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles, shot 55.2-percent (48-of-87) from the floor in the win—including 52.6-percent (10-of-19) from beyond the arc.

Utah (28-18), which dropped back-to-back games for the first time since January 15 and 17, will host Colorado Friday night for the remaining 25.2 seconds of a protested game from earlier this season at 6:30 p.m., and will then host the 14ers for a regularly scheduled matchup immediately following. Los Angeles (18-31) will conclude its season Thursday with a home matchup against the Reno Bighorns.

Los Angeles took an eight point lead into the halftime break before a Brandon Heath jumper extended the D-Fenders lead to 12 points with 4:29 left in the third quarter.

A Ronald Dupree three-pointer capped a Flash 18-6 run that tied the game at 110 apiece with 5:41 remaining. Mitchell knocked down an open lay-up with 1:41 left to put the D-Fenders up 118-117.

J.R. Giddens missed a potential game-winning jump shot with 1.5 seconds remaining to seal the D-Fenders victory.

“We were lucky to sneak out of here with a victory.” D-Fenders coach Dan Panaggio said. “I thought we played well, and that we were fortunate.”

The D-Fenders bench outscored the Flash bench 47-17—including 27 points from Gelebale.

Mitchell also added 27 points for the D-Fenders, while Earl Barron knocked down 12 points. Ryan Forehand-Kelly chipped in 13 points and Darren Cooper knocked down 12 points in a reserve role.

Utah Jazz assignee Morris Almond’s 26 points led the Flash. Ronald Dupree had a double-double for the Flash with 22 points and 12 rebounds, while Boston Celtics assignee Giddens also doubled-up with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Jazz assignee Kosta Koufos chipped in 18 points, and Kevin Kruger added 11.