EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders (27-8) used a Vander Blue 27-foot three-pointer with two seconds remaining to knock off the Austin Spurs (15-19) on Sunday at the Toyota Sports Center, 121-118.
The shot capped off a 19-point comeback for Los Angeles on a day in which the home team trailed for all but 100 seconds. Prior to Blue’s hopeful heave, the D-Fenders had only led after the game’s opening basket.
While Blue may have been the hero of the day, it was first-time all-star pick Josh Magette that paced the D-Fenders offense, finishing the game with 26 points, a career-high 11 rebounds and seven assists. Rookie Julian Jacobs had his top performance of the year with a career-high 25 points. Meanwhile, Justin Harper totaled 24 points, three rebounds and three assists while going 10-of-12 from the charity stripe, the top mark of his career. Blue finished with 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.
Patricio Garino led the Spurs with 19 points. Meanwhile, forward Hollis Thompson neared a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds, and guard Jeff Ledbetter also contributed 16 points.
Austin enjoyed its best three-point showing of the season to build up the 19-point advantage at the 9:21 mark of the second quarter. In the first half, the Spurs connected on 10-of-15 (.667) three-point attempts, compared to a dismal 1-of-11 (.091) mark from the D-Fenders. By the day’s end, the Spurs had knocked down a season-best 17-of-26 attempts from long range.
But Los Angeles was able to cut the deficit in the game’s closing moments, most notably by putting together a 15-3 spurt in the final six minutes that tied the contest at 111. Magette combined for eight points in that span, before adding more heroics in the final minute. As the D-Fenders once again trailed by three with 31.9 seconds to play, the point guard converted on a trio of free throw attempts to tie the game for the final time after drawing a foul on the perimeter. It was Magette’s clutch conversions from the charity stripe that set up the eventual go-ahead bucket from Blue.