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D-Fenders Comeback Falls Short in Year-Ending Loss to Vipers

April 11, 2017 - NBA G League (G League) - Los Angeles D-Fenders News Release

EL SEGUNDO - The Los Angeles D-Fenders were defeated by the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Monday at the Toyota Sports Center, 140-127, bringing an end to L.A.'s season.

The loss comes despite a fiery comeback effort from the home team in the second half. Once trailing by 19 points in the second quarter, guard Josh Magette scored 24 points in the final two periods to lead a D-Fenders team that cut the deficit to just two points with less than three minutes remaining.

Magette led Los Angeles on the day, totaling 30 points, 14 assists and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Vander Blue scored 29 points for the D-Fenders, and Lakers assignee David Nwaba contributed 26 points and 10 rebounds. Justin Harper (15 points, four rebounds) and Troy DeVries (13 points) each scored in double figures. The L.A. starters combined for 100 points.

Rio Grande Valley was led by 33 points, seven rebounds and four assists for Washington assignee Sheldon McClellan. The guard was one of four Vipers players with at least 20 points, as Darius Morris (28 points, eight assists, six rebounds), Chris Johnson (27 points, eight rebounds) and Rockets assignment Kyle Wiltjer (21 points) also hit that mark.

Los Angeles fell behind by double digits early on as the Vipers took an early edge in long range shooting and rebounding. RGV connected on 11-of-27 three-point field goals in the first two quarters while owning a favorable 29-18 advantage on the glass. Each of these areas made a Los Angeles comeback unlikely.

But the home team stormed out of the halftime break, outscoring the Vipers 33-26 in the third quarter thanks to a pesky defensive scheme that forced 11 third-quarter turnovers. The D-Fenders trailed 105-94 through three frames.

Despite the early double-digit deficit, the D-Fenders pulled to within one possession of the lead on multiple occasions in the fourth, but Rio Grande Valley converted on 18 of 21 free throw attempts in the final quarter - and 33 of their 38 in the game - to close out the victory.

Los Angeles finishes the year with a 34-16 regular season record, the second-best mark in team history, while also winning their first Pacific Division championship. The team will become the South Bay Lakers prior to the 2017-18 NBA D-League season.

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