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2016 NBA D-League Western Conference Finals: D-Fenders Defeat Spurs 2-1

By Brian Kotloff | April 19, 2016

SERIES SCHEDULE

Game 1: D-Fenders 102, Spurs 97 | Thursday 4/14 | Box Score
Game 2: Spurs 91, D-Fenders 83 | Sunday 4/17 | Box Score
Game 3: D-Fenders 117, Spurs 104 | Wednesday 4/20, | Box Score

GAME 3: D-FENDERS 117, SPURS 104

Player of the Game: Ryan Gomes, F, D-Fenders — 35 points, 13/19 FG, 8/8 FT, 12 rebounds

GAME 2: SPURS 91, D-FENDERS 83

Player of the Game: Brandon Fields, G, Spurs — 20 points, 7/13 FG, 6/7 FT

GAME 1: D-FENDERS 102, SPURS 97

Player of the Game: Vander Blue, G, D-Fenders — 33 points, 7/14 FG, 3/5 3FG, 16/18 FT, 13 rebounds

SERIES PREVIEW

Expect the team that dictates the pace in this series to come out on top. The D-Fenders prefer a free-flowing style of play that allows their star, No. 5-ranked prospect Vander Blue, to get going, flanked by versatile vets Justin Harper and Ryan Gomes in the frontcourt. In a league where pace-and-space is the norm, the Spurs play at the league’s slowest pace and rank first in rebounding.

Former Ohio State standout Deshaun Thomas leads Austin, which has gotten a boost in these playoffs from explosive guard Keifer Sykes. The 5-11 Wisconsin-Green Bay product poured in 23.3 points per game in the first round, leading a furious rally in a winner-take-all Game 3 against the Vipers.

Guard Orlando Johnson, returning after two separate Call-Ups to the NBA this season, and 7-foot-3 Hawks assignee Walter Tavares could be X-factors for Austin. Point guard Josh Magette runs the show brilliantly for the L.A., ranking second in the league in assist-to-turnover ratio.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Walter Tavares, C, Spurs

Deshaun Thomas, F, Spurs

Keifer Sykes, G, Spurs

Vander Blue, G, Los Angeles D-Fenders

Ryan Gomes, F, Los Angeles D-Fenders

Justin Harper, F, Los Angeles D-Fenders

 

MEET THE SPURS

NBA Affiliate: San Antonio Spurs

Regular Season Record: 30-20

Key Stat(s): In a league that favors run-and-gun, the Spurs prefer ground and pound, playing at the league’s slowest pace during the regular season (96.1) and tying for first in rebound percentage (53.1%).

MEET THE D-FENDERS

NBA Affiliate: Los Angeles Lakers

Regular Season Record: 27-23

Key Stat(s): The D-Fenders have the lowest turnover percentage in the league (14.3%) thanks to under-the-radar point guard Josh Magette, the league assists (9.2) and steals (2.4) leader.

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