D-Fenders - Legends Recap
Game Recap by Trevor Wong | @trevor_wong
Tied at 5-5 early in the first quarter, the D-Fenders turned it up on the defensive end and closed the first quarter on a 27-10 run. L.A. limited Texas to 26.3 percent (5 of 19 field goals) shooting in the opening 12 minutes, while also forcing five turnovers, in jumping out to a 32-15 lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Courtney Fortson. In 45 minutes, L.A.’s floor general posted scored 23 points, to go along with 14 assists, seven rebounds and tied a franchise-record with seven steals. It was his third double-double in the last four games, and he narrowly missed a rare quadruple-double. “He wasn’t shooting the ball great,” coach Reggie Theus said. “But he found a way to continue to play. That’s what you have to do. When your shots not falling, you have to have a secondary game. I thought he drove and found the open guy really well tonight.”
Malcolm Thomas. Reacquired on March 5, Thomas played nearly 41 minutes, while recording 13 points, 17 rebounds, four assists and three steals in his D-Fenders debut. “He played under control and he’s a load down there for anybody,” Theus said. “If you get him the ball in the right place on the floor, he’s going to cause some problems.” Postgame, Fortson also praised Thomas’ presence on the defensive end of the floor and noted his energy on the glass.
KEY STAT OF THE GAME
Texas managed to shoot just 39.7 percent from the floor towards 86 points, a season-low for an opponent this year. The D-Fenders defense in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game, according to Theus. “I thought the defense was really good,” he said. “We put Malcolm (Thomas) on the floor, along with (Jerome) Jordan, we become a very long and big team, and we plug the middle up very well. I thought we made it tough for them to run their sets and we did a great job of not allowing them to get the ball where they wanted.”
PLAY OF THE GAME
Midway through the third quarter, Malcolm Thomas timed his jump perfectly and sent this little flip shot from Texas’ George Odufuwa out of bounds.
WHERE THEY STAND
The D-Fenders defeated Texas, 99-86, their third victory in the last four games. L.A. now stands at 16-20 and sits three-and-a-half games out of the final playoff spot with 14 games to play in the regular season. “Our main focus is to get in the playoffs by any means,” Fortson said. “We’re just trying to (win) every game. It sounds far fetched, but we’re trying to (win) every game from now on.” The D-Fenders are at home on Saturday to face the Austin Toros (22-15) at 6:30 p.m. PT. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this year. The Toros are led by guard Chris Roberts (15.5 points, 4.7 rebounds) and forwards Tyler Wilkerson (12.4 points, 8.2 rebounds) and JaMychal Green (10.9 points, 7.2 rebounds).