D-Fenders’ Comeback Falls Short

By Joey Ramirez | February 22, 2015

Summary
After falling behind by as many as 12 points, the D-Fenders fought back to shrink Austin’s lead down to just one in the fourth quarter. Trailing by two with 2.6 seconds left, L.A. had the chance to steal victory, but Jamaal Franklin’s 3-pointer was way off the mark, resulting in a 118-116 Spurs victory.

“The last shot needed to be a little better,” D-Fenders head coach Phil Hubbard said. “Get a shot that gives us a chance to get an offensive rebound or make something happen — that’s what we’ve got to do. … I thought we’d try to get (Vander) Blue on a drive-and-penetrate and he could get a quick 2 and go from there. We didn’t need a 3, but if (Franklin) makes it, it’s all good.”

Player of the Game
Kyle Anderson: The former UCLA Bruin piled up a team-high 26 points by shooting 11-for-23 from the field. Anderson also led the Spurs on the glass, as he collected 13 rebounds.

Prospect Watch
Vander Blue (12): The all-star stumbled through his worst game in a D-Fenders uniform, finishing with just six points on 3-for-15 shooting. Blue also added five assists and two rebounds in 32 minutes.

Jamaal Franklin (13): The San Diego State product was his usual hot-shooting self, pouring in 18 of his 27 points in the second half. Franklin, who went 10-for-20 on the night, also notched a double-double by hauling in 13 rebounds.

Jabari Brown (24): The Spurs could not keep Brown from drawing contact, as he shot 19 free throws and made 16. Brown also went 7-for-17 from the field to rack up a game-high 32 points.

“I was just trying to be aggressive to the rim,” Brown said. “Guys know I can shoot, so they close out hard. So (I was) just switching up the looks.”

Key Stat
15: Rebounds grabbed by Ater Majok, who set a new season-high. The Sudan native kept the D-Fenders’ hopes — and possessions — alive by bringing down nine offensive boards, and he did work on the defensive end with five of L.A.’s 12 blocks.

“Rebounding hasn’t been my strongest point throughout my career,” Majok said. “But being here, the coaches are helping me make that one of my strongest points. Playing center and power forward, that’s what I need to do to progress in my career. So I’ve just been working every day in the gym, getting stronger and learning techniques and how to rebound in the post.”

Said Hubbard: “We need that every night. We need him to be aggressive on the glass, protect the rim. He did a good job. If he can continue to do that, we’ll be happy.”

Looking Ahead
The D-Fenders return to Ontario, where they will host the Westchester, which is currently on a five-game slide. Though the Knicks have won just once in 15 road games, they do employ the services of No. 15 prospect Thanasis Antetokounmpo, who averages 14.2 points and 6.1 rebounds.

Box Score | Full Game | Video | Ater Majok

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