D-Fenders Tame Toros for Seventh Straight Home Win
El SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders grabbed a 104-101 victory over the Austin Toros on Monday night, marking their seventh consecutive win at Toyota Sports Center.
Through the first 12 minutes of action, the D-Fenders (18-20) gained a 24-18 advantage after forcing seven turnovers and, despite forcing seven more in the second quarter, were deadlocked at 50 with the Toros at the half. In the third, the D-Fenders went on an 11-4 run early but trailed 71-67 with the Toros, allowing six straight points to close the frame. Falling behind by as many as seven in the fourth quarter, the D-Fenders charged back behind Lazar Hayward’s offensive surge (16 fourth quarter points [6-9 FG; 4-6 3FG) and stretched the streak of home wins to seven (dating back to Jan. 30).
Hayward outdid all scorers with a season-high 31 points to go along with 10 rebounds, Jerome Jordan finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, and Morris Almond dropped in 16 points for the D-Fenders. Elijah Millsap also tallied 14 points, seven rebounds and three steals, and Courtney Fortson once again neared a triple-double with 13 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds, giving the entire D-Fenders starting lineup double-figure point totals.
The Toros (22-17) were guided by Chris Roberts (18 points), Bill Walker (18 points, 2 steals), Rick Jackson (14 points, 8 rebounds) and Tyler Wilkerson (14 points, 6 rebounds). Additionally, JaMychal Green contributed 13 points and three steals.
In a game that featured eight lead changes and 12 ties, both teams made at or near half of their field goal attempts (Los Angeles: 50.0 FG%; Austin: 48.3 FG%), but the D-Fenders forced seven more turnovers (Los Angeles: 14 TO; Austin: 21 TO) and shot 15 more free throws.
The D-Fenders conclude a four-game home stand this Wednesday, Mar. 13 against the Tulsa 66ers (NBA Affiliate: Oklahoma City) at 7pm. The season-series between the clubs is even at one win apiece.