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D-Fenders Win Finals Rematch With Wild Comeback

By Joey Ramirez | January 27, 2017

Summary
The D-Fenders were simply sick of losing to Sioux Falls. Not only had the Skyforce beaten them in last year’s D-League Finals, but they had also taken the first two meetings of the season by slim margins. This time, Los Angeles seized revenge in yet another dramatic showdown between the league’s top teams.

The D-Fenders ended the game on a 20-3 run, as Speedy Smith came up huge by knocking down the go-ahead 3-pointer from well beyond the arc with 46.1 seconds left. It was an enormous shot from the 23-year-old, who went just 3-of-12 from the field but nonetheless pulled through in the biggest moment of the 125-120 victory.

Player of the Game
Vander Blue:
After a rough start to the game, the D-League’s No. 3 prospect unleashed a storm on the Skyforce. Blue shot just 1-of-6 in the first quarter but went 10-of-18 the rest of the way to finish with a game-high 37 points. However, his best play of the night was a pass, as he drew two defenders before whipping it over to Smith for the tide-turning triple.

Prospect Watch
Josh Magette (20):
There aren’t many players who can shoot 1-of-14 from the field and still be a positive contributor for their team, but Magette is just that dangerous with his passing and defense. The D-League’s assists leader handed out 13 more on the night while also tallying three steals.

Key Stat
12: Sioux Falls’ lead with four minutes left. From there, the D-Fenders made their move. L.A. scored seven straight points before their visitors responded with a layup. But Blue turned into clutch mode from there, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers before his assist to Smith turned the dozen-point deficit into a lead in only three minutes.

Looking Ahead
The D-Fenders will now pack up for their longest road trip of the season, which will feature six games across 11 days. It will begin on Sunday with a visit to the Austin, where they will face a Spurs team which has won three straight.

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