One night after the D-Fenders their a furious comeback came up just short, Vander Blue made sure it wasn’t about to happen again.
With the game tied in its final moments, the D-League’s top prospect rose up for an in-rhythm, transition 3-pointer that swished through for a 121-118 victory. It was another dramatic victory for Los Angeles — which has proven that no lead is safe multiple times this season — as the Austin Spurs led by as many as 19 points.
Player of the Game
Julian Jacobs: A member of the Lakers’ training camp roster to begin the season, Jacobs showed off his potential by dropping a career-high 25 points off the bench on 10-of-16 shooting. The rookie from USC was key off the bench on a night when a shorthanded D-Fenders squad only had eight players available, as he shattered his previous best outing by a dozen points.
Vander Blue (1): The game was far from perfect for the D-League’s third-leading scorer, as he was held to only 16 points on 6-of-20 shooting. But Blue’s reputation as a slasher set him up for the game-winner, as former 76er Hollis Thompson gave him enough cushion to knock down his only 3-pointer of the night.
Josh Magette (19):
It was another textbook performance for one of the D-League’s most complete players, as Magette racked up 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists while only sitting for six minutes of playing time. The first-time All-Star was clutch late, tying the game on two occasions in the final four minutes.
12: Austin’s lead with seven minutes remaining. The D-Fenders went berserk at the end, closing the game on a 25-10 run. Magette was at the forefront, scoring 11 of the D-Fenders’ points down the stretch, including by hitting three free throws with 22.4 seconds left to tie the game at 118 and set up Blue’s game-winner.
Most of the D-Fenders’ core will now ship off to New Orleans to represent at All-Star Weekend. Blue, Magette and Justin Harper (who scored 24 points) will all participate in the D-League All-Star Game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PT. Meanwhile, head coach Coby Karl and his assistants — Paul Woolpert, Brian Walsh and Isaiah Fox — will be at the reins of the Western Conference thanks to L.A.’s league-best 27-8 record.