D-FENDERS FALL TO THE VIPERS ON OPENING NIGHT
EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders were defeated by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 124-114 at Toyota Sports Center on Saturday night.
The D-Fenders (0-1) fell behind 34-28 after the first quarter behind six 3-point field goals from the Vipers (1-0). The scoring continued as the Vipers put up 37 points in the second quarter and extended their lead to 14. In all, the Vipers took 14 more field-goal attempts in the second and entered halftime with a 71-57 lead.
In the third frame, the D-Fenders pulled within five points early before falling behind by 20 points to end the quarter. The D-Fenders made a strong push in the fourth as they forced the Vipers into seven turnovers, but it wasn’t enough in the end.
Four D-Fenders finished in double-figures, led by Malcolm Thomas (36 points, 18 rebounds, three blocks) along with Lakers assignment players Ryan Kelly (24 points, nine rebounds) and Elias Harris (18 points). Josiah Turner (14 points, eight rebounds and six assists) rounded out the D-Fenders players in double-digits.
The Vipers were paced by Chris Johnson (28 points, 10 rebounds), James Johnson (24 points, 10 rebounds), Robert Covington (24 points, 12 rebounds) and Troy Daniels (22 points). Isaiah Canaan also pitched in 12 points to go along with eight assists. The Vipers shot an astounding 50 3-point attempts, knocking down 16.
Overall, the D-Fenders shot 41.9 percent from the field and reached the free-throw line 10 more times than the Vipers. Nonetheless, the D-Fenders were outshot from the 3-point line 32 percent to 28 percent and committed three more turnovers (21 to 18) on the night.