Game 3: VIPERS 140, D-FENDERS 127
Player of the Game: Vipers G Sheldon McClellan — 33 points (9-for-12 FG), 7 rebounds, 4 assists
GAME 2: D-FENDERS 126, VIPERS 124
Player of the Game: D-Fenders G Josh Magette – 15 points, 11 assists
Play of the Game: D-Fenders G David Nwaba gets WAY up for alley-oop
GAME 1: VIPERS 124, D-FENDERS 116 (OT)
Player of the Game: Vipers G Chris Johnson – 28 points, 12/15 FG, 11 rebounds
Play of the Game: Vipers F/C Joshua Smith’s tip-in to force OT
After losing the Finals in a winner-take-all Game 3 last season, the D-Fenders have been on a missing since tip-off. LA retained several key players, including the standout backcourt of Josh Magette and Vander Blue, who have once again been dominant, and All-Star stretch-4 Justin Harper. They’ve added former Knick Travis Wear and NBA vet DeJuan Blair to the mix this season.
The D-Fenders, ironically, once again rose to the top of the standings behind a high-powered offense. But it was the Vipers who owned the league’s top offensive attack. Even before the Rockets became the run-and-gunners of the NBA, they put a similar uptempo system into place in the RGV. The Vipers have finished top-four in Offensive Rating in each of the past eight seasons.
They once again feature a mix of jump-out-of-the-gym athletes and skill players, with point guard Darius Morris being their engine.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
MEET THE D-FENDERS
NBA Affiliate: Los Angeles Lakers
Regular Season Record: 34-16
Key Stat(s): D-Fenders point guard Josh Magette led the league in assists for the second straight season while posting a league-best 3.55 AST/TO ratio.
MEET THE VIPERS
NBA Affiliate: Houston Rockets
Regular Season Record: 32-18
Key Stat(s): Like the Rockets, the Vipers finished top four in Offensive Rating, three-point field goal attempts and effective field goal percentage.