EL SEGUNDO – The Los Angeles D-Fenders topped the Sioux Falls Skyforce 122-120 on Friday.
Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 23 points, while grabbing seven rebounds and handing out seven assists for the D-Fenders (4-10). Vander Blue followed suit, tallying 22 points, six rebounds and three assists. Jabari Brown finished with 20 points, five rebounds and three assists, while Manny Harris also reached the 20-point plateau with 20 points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Roscoe Smith recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 19 points and 15 rebounds.
The Skyforce (5-7) were led by Tyler Johnson with 24 points and four rebounds. Khem Birch recorded a double-double with 20 points and 19 rebounds. Larry Drew also recorded a double-double with 10 points and 14 assists. Fuquan Edwin (16 points), Andre Dawkins (16 points, five rebounds) Michael Williams (11 points) and A.J. Davis (10 points) all finished in double-digits for Sioux Falls.
Los Angeles came out firing, leading 35-23 after the first quarter. Blue led the D-Fenders with 11 points, while Brown and Smith added seven points apiece in the quarter. Edwin scored nine points for Sioux Falls in the quarter. The second quarter was a stalemate, with both teams scoring 28 points. Blue finished the half shooting 7-of-8 with 18 points for the D-Fenders, who led 63-51 at the half. Edwin led the Skyforce with 14 points, while Khem Birch recorded a first half double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Clarkson really turned it on in the third quarter, tallying 12 points after finishing with four points in the first half. Dawkins tallied seven points for the Skyforce, who trailed 90-76 after three. Johnson led all scorers with 18 points in the fourth quarter for Sioux Falls, who tallied 44 points on the quarter. Brown recorded nine points for Los Angeles, while Clarkson and Harris added seven points each. The D-Fenders were outscored 44-32 in the fourth, but would hold on to win 122-120.
Los Angeles shot .500 from the field, compared to .436 for Sioux Falls. The D-Fenders recorded 76 points in the paint, while the Skyforce finished with 54. Los Angeles grabbed 59 rebounds compared to 45 for Sioux Falls, but the big first quarter for the D-Fenders proved to be the difference as they would take the lead and not look back.