By Jeff Cerda
Each team has won the first two games on their respective home courts. The D-Fenders picked up a 5 point Game 1 win last Thursday in Los Angeles, while the Spurs picked up a 8 point Game 2 victory on Monday night in Austin. Tonight is for a trip to the Finals to face off against the Skyforce. Expect a great, close game from both of these teams, with tons of back and forth action.
The D-Fenders are led by Vander Blue (28.5 ppg in this series), Ryan Gomes (15.5 ppg) and Justin Harper (19.5 ppg) through two games against the Spurs. In Game 1, Blue led all scorers with 33 points, while Gomes and Harper chipped in 18 and 17 points, respectively. Blue also had a game-high 13 rebounds, and teammate Josh Magette chipped in with a game-high 13 assists.
The D-Fenders jumped out to a 31-18 lead after the first quarter and even though the Spurs managed to keep it close late, they were able to hold on for the win. If the D-Fenders can get hot early and make some baskets, it may be a tough night for Austin.
Keys to victory: The sky is Blue; The D-Fenders go as Blue goes, so limiting him will be a big key to victory. Assisting the team; While Blue may be the engine to the whole operation, Magette provides the gas and gets his teammates involved. Playing great defense against both of these men will give the Spurs an edge in the match up. On the flip side, if both men get going, Los Angeles has to like their chances of advancing to the finals to face the Skyforce.
Game 2 was quite an adventure. The game had to be suspended with 6:15 left in the third quarter due to a slippery court. The ice stored underneath the court caused condensation to form all over the court and the referees deemed it too unsafe for the players to play on. At the time of the game being delayed, the Spurs held a five point edge, 58-53.
The Spurs are led by Deshaun Thomas (19 ppg this series), Brandon Fields(19 ppg) and Youssou Ndoye (13.5 ppg) through two games against the D-Fenders. Thomas and Fields each scored 20 points, and Ndoye scored 14 to help Austin secure a Game 2 win. Ndoye also chipped in 12 rebounds, which tied the game high with Ryan Gomes of Los Angeles. Fields helped set the pace for the Spurs once the game resumed after the delay, scoring nine points in the 14-2 run the Spurs went on once the court was dry enough to play on.
In Game 2, it was the Spurs who jumped out to a lead after the first quarter as they held a 31-16 edge. Much like the Spurs did in Game 1, the D-Fenders battled back and kept it close for a lot of the game, but the Spurs seemed to have an answer ever time the D-Fenders went on a run.
Keys to victory: The Spurs used a team balanced attack to come away with a win in Game 2. Although Thomas, Fields and Ndoye have paced them in the first two games overall, they will need more of that balanced attack if they want to advance to the finals. Expect the three mentioned above to be key contributors, but the role players are going to be just as important tonight. Rebounding; every Spur player on the floor must crash the boards. Extra possessions will be valuable tonight as both teams fight to keep thier season alive. Sharing is caring; although no one is putting up crazy assists numbers, each player must share the ball well to help get each other going.