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Thunderbirds Defeat D-Fenders in First Ever Meeting

January 20, 2007 - NBA G League (G League) - New Mexico Thunderbirds News Release

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., January 19, 2007 - The Albuquerque Thunderbirds defended their home court Friday night by defeating the Los Angeles D-Fenders 91 to 81. Brian Chase of the D-Fenders led all scorers with 23 points on 12 of 25 shooting and his teammate, Sean Banks, had 19 points in the loss.

The Thunderbirds were led by Joe Shipp and Chris Rodgers who scored 14 points with 4 assists a piece. The Thunderbirds spread the ball around extremely well finishing with three players in double digits and six more with seven or more points, Duane Erwin pitched in a game high 12 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

"I thought it was a well played game," Thunderbirds head coach Michael Cooper said, "I really liked our new additions, Cedric Bozeman and Greg Clausen, but we need to play better defense in the next one."

As for the Thunderbirds newcomers they had an immediate impact, Cedric Bozeman had a game high 7 assists and 9 points in 37 minutes of playing time. Bozeman was recently picked up by the team after being waived by the Atlanta Hawks. Greg Clausen was acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Arsenal and had 8 points and 4 rebounds in his first game.

The Thunderbirds opened the game on a 5-0 run in a low scoring first quarter. Albuquerque also grabbed 16 boards in the first quarter compared to L.A.'s 9, helping the T-Birds to a 16 - 12 lead after one.

Brandon Robinson had a steal followed by a coast to coast dunk two minutes into the second quarter to ignite the Thunderbirds offense. It was Albuquerque's defense though that was the story in the first half holding L.A. to a dismal 9 of 34 shooting from the floor, and at the end of the half the T-Birds had stretched their lead to 15 (39-24).

L.A. chipped away at the T-Birds lead in the third quarter attempting 19 shots and nearly doubling their point output from the first half. Sean Banks put in 7 of the D-Fenders 23 points in the quarter helping close the gap to 9 after three quarters (56-47).

The Thunderbirds and D-Fenders get back to action tomorrow; Saturday, January 20th, at Tingley Coliseum in Albuquerque, game time is set for 7:00pm. Saturday will be press pass night, present your press pass and receive a buy one, get one free deal on any general admission ticket.

Thunderbirds 2006-07 season tickets are already on sale and can be purchased at or at the Thunderbirds Front Office. For premium or group seating call the Thunderbirds office at (505) 265-DUNK.

The NBA D-League includes the Albuquerque Thunderbirds (N.M.), Anaheim Arsenal (Calif.), Arkansas RimRockers (Little Rock), Austin Toros (Texas), Bakersfield Jam (Calif.), Colorado 14ers (Broomfield), Dakota Wizards (Bismarck, N.D.), Fort Worth Flyers (Texas), Idaho Stampede (Boise), Los Angeles D-Fenders, Sioux Falls Skyforce (S.D.) and Tulsa 66ers (Okla.).

The D-League continues to develop talent from across all disciplines' for the NBA's 30 teams and the entire NBA umbrella. Designed to help grow the sport of basketball both domestically and internationally, the D-League also offers fun, family entertainment at affordable prices. For additional information on the NBA Development League, visit

For additional information about the Albuquerque Thunderbirds call (505) 265-DUNK or log on to

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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