NBA Development League 2016 Western Conference Finals Preview


By Jeff Cerda

The Austin Spurs reached the Western Conference Finals this past Saturday after they rallied back from a 24 point deficit to defeat the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in a thrilling 89-88 victory at home.

In the West Finals, the Spurs find themselves facing the Los Angeles D-Fenders, a team that they have played five times this season. The Spurs are 4-1 against the D-Fenders this year and they are hoping to have much of the same success that they have had up until this point.

The D-Fenders finished the regular season with a 27-23 record and claimed the number 4 seed for the playoffs. They upset the number one seeded Reno Bighorns in three games. The D-Fenders are led by Vander Blue, who is averaging 26.3 points, 5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. Blue scored 43 points in game one of the series that resulted in a 10 point D-Fenders’ victory.

A couple of other contributors to watch for the D-Fenders are Ryan Gomes, Andre Ingram and Josh Magette. On the season, Gomes averaged 18.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Ingram and Magette combined to chip in 21.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 10.6 assists, respectively.

In the playoff series against the Bighorns, Blue averaged 28.3 points per game. The Spurs are going to have their hands full trying to contain him.

The Spurs finished the regular season with a record of 30-20 and won the Southwest Division. They earned the number 2 seed for the playoffs and defeated the number 3 seeded Rio Grande Valley Vipers in three games. The Spurs are led by Deshaun Thomas, who is averaging 14.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Thomas led the Spurs in scoring in games one and two of the series with the Vipers, scoring 35 and 23 points respectively.

Other key contributors for the Spurs this season have been Orlando Johnson, Keifer Sykes and Cady Lalanne. Johnson averaged 16 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 29 games with the Spurs. Sykes helped the Spurs reach the West Finals with a huge Game 3 performance that saw him contribute 31 points. On the season, he averaged 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Lalanne contributed 13.3 points 7.6 rebounds and just under 1 assists per game for the Southwest Division champs.

This series could really go either teams way, considering how well both teams are playing right now. This should be a fun series and one to that all basketball fans will enjoy.


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