SALT LAKE CITY – The Los Angeles D-Fenders (25-7) knocked off the Salt Lake City Stars (11-21) in an offensive showcase on Monday at the Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena, 138-129.
Trailing by three points at halftime, the visiting D-Fenders outscored the Stars 41-22 in the third quarter, taking a lead that it would not relinquish for the remainder of the contest. The Los Angeles starters combined for a season-high 112 points on the evening.
Vander Blue – just hours removed from being named a D-League all-star for the third consecutive year – totaled a game-high 36 points, seven rebounds and three steals while moving to fifth on the NBA D-League’s all-time scoring chart. Rookie David Nwaba followed closely behind with 27 points, eight rebounds and two assists. First-time all-star selection Josh Magette notched his team-leading 12th double-double of the season with 24 points, 11 assists and six rebounds. Meanwhile, second-time all-star Justin Harper tallied 20 points, four rebounds and two blocks.
The Stars were led by Sundiata Gaines, who tallied a triple-double with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Salt Lake City’s Jermaine Taylor (24 points), Diamond Stone (22 points, four rebounds) and Joel Bolomboy (21 points, nine rebounds) each joined Gaines as 20+ points scorers.
Salt Lake City outscored the D-Fenders in the first, second and fourth quarters, but it was L.A.’s performance out of the halftime break that proved to be the difference-maker. The D-Fenders assisted on 11 of their 15 made field goals in the third period and shot 60 percent, while holding the Stars to a 31.8 percent clip from the field.
Los Angeles will once again face off against the Salt Lake City Stars at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, at the Lifetime Activities Center-Bruin Arena.