Hidalgo, Texas – The Rio Grande Valley Vipers, NBA D-League affiliate of the Houston Rockets, were victorious over the Los Angeles D-Fenders, 124-116 in overtime, in the first game of the first round of playoffs.
Darius Morris led both teams in scoring with 29 points. Chris Johnson got a double-double with 11 rebounds and 28 points. Chinanu Onuaku capped the night with 18 rebounds. Vander Blue and David Nwaba finished the game with 22 points.
Rio Grande Valley started the game shooting well. Kyle Wiltjer, on assignment from the Houston Rockets, scored 10 points in the opening quarter. Wiltjer went three from four in the first quarter and helped the Vipers obtain a 35-29 lead.
Troy Devries got the hot hand in the second half and shifted momentum into the Los Angeles’ side. Devries scored 15 points in the second quarter, including three three-pointers, which led to the D-Fenders finishing the first half on top of the Vipers 56-64.
The Vipers put up a show in the third quarter to steal the lead from Los Angeles. The Vipers outscored LA 32-19 in the third quarter with Darius Morris contributing 11 points. Both teams kept it even to the final seconds of the game.
Los Angeles’ Josh Magette scored a three-pointer to give the away team a one-point lead with 29.9 seconds left. With 13.3 seconds left Vander Blue scored his first from the free throw line, but he then missed his second free throw. Joshua Smith rebounded a missed shot from Darius Morris, and scored with just 1.5 seconds left to send the game to overtime, 110-110.
After LA had gone ahead in overtime, Chris Johnson hit a three-pointer to tie the game and then scored a layup to give the Vipers the lead. Free throws from Morris and Isaiah Taylor established the Vipers win.