OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma City Blue came up short in a defensive battle to the Los Angeles D-Fenders, 94-90, on Tuesday at the Cox Convention Center. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Josh Huestis led the game in scoring with 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting to go with five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in 37 minutes.
Dakari Johnson (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Kameron Woods (11 points, 15 rebounds) recorded double-doubles as six Blue players scored in double digits. Marquis Teague tallied 16 points and dished out six assists and Boubacar Moungoro scored a career-high 12 points while picking up three steals. Talib Zanna added 10 points and nine boards.
The Blue and D-Fenders played a closely contested first half where neither team led by more than four points as Los Angeles took a 49-48 advantage into the break. The D-Fenders built their largest lead of the night early in the fourth quarter with a 76-67 advantage before the Blue responded with 14-4 run to go up by one with over eight minutes remaining.
Los Angeles re-took the lead and entered the final minute of play with a 92-88 lead, but the Blue quickly closed the gap to two on a fast-break layup by Teague after a steal from Zanna. The OKC defense then forced the D-Fenders to throw the ball away on an inbounds play, giving the Blue possession with 16.1 seconds remaining. The Blue setup a game-tying shot attempt for Johnson on an open 18-foot jumper, but the ball rolled out and was rebounded by Manny Harris – forcing OKC to foul and send Harris to the foul line where he sealed LA’s road win.
Oklahoma City held the D-Fenders to 19 points on 6-of-21 shooting in the final quarter. Blue Head Coach Mark Daigneault attributes the Blue’s defense to what kept the team fighting in the late minutes.
“One thing I thought was really encouraging tonight was that defensively we kept ourselves in the game,” said Daigneault. “That’s what really good defensive teams do – they scratch, they claw, they keep themselves in the game regardless of what’s going on on offense. I was really encouraged by that.”
The Blue (0-5) outrebounded Los Angeles 49-42 and blocked seven shots.
All five D-Fenders starters scored in double figures as Manny Harris led Los Angeles (5-1) with 17 points and eight boards.