D-FENDERS CLOSE OUT SERIES AGAINST ENERGY
EL SEGUNDO, CA – The Los Angeles D-Fenders edged the Iowa Energy 94-92 on Saturday night at Toyota Sports Center and advanced to the second round of the NBA Development League Playoffs.
Despite trailing 56-51 after the first two quarters of play, the D-Fenders turned their deficit into a two-point lead at the end of the third after holding the Energy to 29.4 percent shooting from the field and forcing seven turnovers. With eight lead changes and four ties occurring in the final quarter, the D-Fenders managed to go up by three points with 56 seconds remaining before closing out the win on a late-game defensive possession.
Malcom Thomas totaled a team-high 20 points (6-9 FG, 8-8 FT), Elijah Millsap recorded 19 points along with six rebounds and two steals, and Orien Greene tallied 14 points, six assists and a game-high five steals for the D-Fenders. Additionally, Mardy Collins finished with 13 points and five assists off the bench in the win.
Iowa (0-2), who was the defending D-League champion, was paced by Curtis Stinson (22 points [10-18 FG], 7 assists), Mike Efevberha (19 points, 7 rebounds) and Ben Strong (14 points, 10 rebounds, 3 blocks). Meanwhile, Andrew Drevo pitched in 10 points along with six assists to round out the Energy players who registered double-digit scoring efforts.
In a game that saw 17 lead changes and 13 ties, the D-Fenders outscored the Energy 22-8 on the fast break and forced 23 turnovers.
The D-Fenders will start the second round on the road versus the winner of the Bakersfield-Dakota series after finishing the regular season as the top team in the league with a D-League all-time best 38-12 record.