With the game on the line, the D-League’s third-leading scorer did what he does best: put the ball in the bucket. Tied with the Grand Rapids Drive, Vander Blue received the ball, attacked the lane and lifted up the game-winning floater to hand the D-Fenders a 123-121 victory.
Player of the Game
Vander Blue: Not only did Blue provide the go-ahead basket, he also led the D-Fenders with 25 points. The Drive did a good job of corralling him late, as Blue missed his first five attempts in the fourth quarter before pulling through with the biggest shot of all.
Justin Harper (17): The last-second drama was a two-parter, and Harper provided the finale. Grand Rapids had one last chance to tie the game on a layup by Chris Horton, but Harper was there to swat it away, sealing victory to go along with 16 points, nine rebounds and four 3-pointers.
Josh Magette (22):
The Alabama native had another night of near-flawless direction of the offense, racking up 17 points and 14 assists with only one turnover. Magette also hit a big and-1 bucket with 50.8 seconds left before Grand Rapids’ Jordan Crawford answered with a tying 3-pointer to set up Blue’s big moment.
The Lakers once again assigned Ivica Zubac to the D-Fenders, whom he gave eight points and 12 rebounds in 32 minutes. It was a frustrating night from the field for the 19-year-old, as he shot just 3-of-10 and only attempted three second-half shots.
15: The D-Fenders’ biggest lead of the night. After a monster opening quarter, Los Angeles led 36-21 heading into the second, but the Drive held tough behind a triple-double from No. 2 prospect Ray McCallum (18 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists). The lead exchanged hands 13 times, but the D-Fenders were the last to take it, pushing their league-best record to 17-5.
The D-Fenders will continue their homestand by hosting Oklahoma City on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Led by No. 6 prospect Dakari Johnson, the Blue are one of the league’s hottest teams, having won seven straight games to better their record to 15-7.