D-Fenders Race Past Armor in Reno
RENO,NV---The roster for the L.A. D-Fenders reads like a who’s who of NBA seasons past. Gerald Green and Mardy Collins are former first-round picks. Orien Greene is a former second-round pick with several years of NBA experience under his belt. Head coach Eric Musselman boasts head coaching stints with the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings.
Brandon Costner is living in the moment. The reigning NBA Development League Player of the Month put on an offensive clinic, scoring 29 points on 8-for-12 shooting, including 4-for-7 from behind the arc, as the D-Fenders defeated Springfield, 97-82 in the second game of the 2012 NBA D-League Showcase.
“I was able to get into a pretty good rhythm early, and my teammates continued to find me in the right spots,” said Costner, who ranks second in the NBA D-League in scoring (24.4 ppg). “I tried to exploit mismatches and be aggressive, and when they started doubling, I started kicking it out and making the right basketball play.”
Costner, who went undrafted out of North Carolina State in 2009, spent last season with the Utah Flash, averaging 15.5 points and 5.9 rebounds. A polished offensive threat with range, Costner needs to improve his all-around game to enhance his chances of making an NBA roster. He finished with only three rebounds and one assist against Springfield.
Costner’s hot shooting was contagious, with the D-Fenders shooting 52 percent for the game. Elijah Millsap, a training camp invite of the L.A. Lakers, added 14 points and nine rebounds. Zach Andrews, also in camp with the Lakers this season, led the D-Fenders with a game-high 12 rebounds.
L.D. Williams and JamesOn Curry each scored 19 points for Springfield (8-9), which shot only 35 percent from the field. Jeff Foote had a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Los Angeles (14-6) returns to action Wednesday against Maine. Springfield takes on Rio Grande Valley Thursday.