With the final game of the regular season on the line, the D-Fenders simply fed the ball to the scorer who had shouldered the offense all year. Los Angeles shot just 1-of-7 in overtime, but it got the lone bucket from Vander Blue, who also drew a key foul with only 8.9 seconds left and his team down by one.
Blue — the D-League’s third-leading scorer — kept his cool and swished both free throws to hand the D-Fenders a 109-108 victory over Salt Lake City heading into the postseason.
D-Fender of the Game
Vander Blue: Also the league’s No. 2 prospect, Blue was steady all game long, leading his team with 25 points while making it a double-double with 11 rebounds. Though he went scoreless in the fourth quarter, he certainly made up for it in the extra period, as he provided all four of his team’s overtime points within the game’s final minute.
Josh Magette (20):
The All-Star had trouble finding his shot, as he went 4-of-13 from the field. However, he was crucial to the D-Fenders’ offensive success, as he handed out six assists while serving as the team’s pilot, opening up opportunities for the likes of Travis Wear (23 points, nine rebounds).
3: Points scored by Salt Lake City in overtime. The Stars struck first in the added frame but never scored from there, as they went just 1-of-4. The D-Fenders made sure to limit their foes’ opportunities by snagging a pair of offensive rebounds and forcing two turnovers. Salt Lake City, meanwhile, could not manage any of either.
The D-Fenders are now set to put their season on the line, as the D-League playoffs begin at Rio Grande Valley on Thursday. Led by former Laker Darius Morris and No. 17 prospect Jaron Johnson, the Vipers are an offensive juggernaut that leads the D-League with 120.2 points per game. As the higher second seed, the D-Fenders will host Game 2 on Saturday and, if necessary, Monday’s winner-take-all Game 3.