D-Fenders Remain Best In West With Win Over Arsenal 101 - 93
Anaheim, Calif., January 11, 2008 - On NBA Affiliation Night in Anaheim, the Anaheim Arsenal and the Los Angeles D-Fenders met for the second time this season in the Arena at the Anaheim Convention. Both teams donned the jerseys of their NBA affiliates, the Arsenal wearing the red, white, and blue of the Los Angeles Clippers, while the D-Fenders wore the white, gold, and royal purple of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Anaheim looked to seek revenge after losing to Los Angeles in their first meeting, 99-95. Unfortunately for the Arsenal, the D-Fenders had other plans. From the start, Los Angeles controlled the game with help from Center, Darryl Watkins. Watkins scored 8 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the first quarter while consistently contesting Arsenal shots that kept the Arsenal offense out of rhythm. Sean Banks of the D-Fenders added 14 points in the first quarter, which helped Los Angeles to a 32 -11 lead after one period of play.
The story seemed to be the same in the second quarter with the D-Fenders offense remaining consistent. Los Angeles stayed hot on offense shooting 58.8% from the field. The Arsenal offense found some rhythm in the quarter with Ivan Johnson and Steven Smith both scoring 10 points a piece, including a monster dunk by Johnson that brought the score to 27 - 43. Loose defense by both teams resulted in basket trading for most of the second quarter. Forward Stephane Lasme of Los Angeles found his shooting touch, going 5-of-6 on field goals, tallying 11 points overall off the bench.
The first half of the game was not a complete disaster for the Arsenal. With 3:15 left, Anaheim inserted Yuta Tabuse into the game to bring some organization to the offense. Tabuse pushed the ball up the court to create quick points off rebounds. This fast play resulted in a 10 - 0 Arsenal run that brought the Arsenal within 11 points of the D-Fenders, and the score to 54 - 43 at halftime.
Anaheim tried to take its end of the second quarter momentum into the third quarter. The Arsenal came out strong in the paint with a lay-up by Will Blalock and a put back dunk by Ivan Johnson. However, the team could not keep up this offensive pace. Los Angeles remained the better team on both ends of the floor with strong defense and the same offense power they had throughout the game. The D-Fenders lived up to their name by holding the Arsenal to 32.0% shooting while outscoring the Arsenal 23 - 19 in the third quarter, upping their lead to 15 points.
Play in the fourth quarter proved to be the same as the previous 3 quarters, whenever Anaheim cut into the lead Los Angeles would come right back with a run of its own. Late in the fourth the Arsenal made an 18 - 7 run, making the score 83 - 89, with 5:02 left in the game. The six point deficit proved to be the closest Anaheim would come to tying the game. Following the ensuing timeout, the D-Fenders bounced back with a 14 - 8 run of their own that kept the Arsenal at bay and ended the game with a 101 - 93 D-Fender victory.
The story of the game was the dominance of Los Angeles on the glass. Los Angeles nearly doubled Anaheim's rebound output by pulling down 51 rebounds to Anaheim's 29 rebounds. It was an all around team effort by the D-Fenders led by Sean Banks, who scored 7 fourth quarter points and finished the game with 29 points. Banks said about the team effort, "It was a good game. We showed great energy. We had a lot of momentum and played as a team."
Anaheim was led by Ivan Johnson, who accounted for 21 points as well as 8 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots. Johnson said about tonight's game, "[The] D-Fenders showed a strong game. We knew L.A. was going to bring it and we didn't bring it back to them."
Tonight's loss on NBA Affiliation Night ends the Arsenal's home winning streak at 5 games. The team will try to begin another winning streak next week at the NBA D-League showcase when they face the Sioux Falls Skyforce on Monday, January 14th at 3:30 PM in Boise, Idaho.
For more information about the Arsenal, please call (714) 635-BALL or visit www.anaheimarsenal.com.
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