The 2015-16 NBA D-League Pacific Division Champion Reno Bighorns fell 127-116 to the Los Angeles D-Fenders during Game 1 in the 1st Round of the 2016 Western Conference Semi-Finals Thursday Night at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, CA.
Erick Green recorded 39 points and four rebounds to lead the Bighorns. David Stockton logged a double-double with 26 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds as Cliff Hammonds had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists. Reggie Hearn followed with 11 points and five rebounds.
Vander Blue led the D-Fenders with 43 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Ryan Gomes totaled 26 points, 16 rebounds and five assists while Josh Magette added 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
The first quarter was a tightly contested battle that saw seven lead changes and nine ties. The Bighorns would open the game notching the first points after a lay-up from Green. The two teams would keep the score tight throughout the quarter keeping the score within four points of each other. The Bighorns went on an 8-4 run, to tie the game at 12 midway through the quarter. The D-Fenders would win the frame 26-25.
The D-Fenders would open the second going on an 11-6 run to have a 39-31 lead over the Bighorns with 9:30 left in the first half. The Bighorns would respond with a 9-4 run to close the deficit to four points midway through the quarter. The D-Fenders would keep their pace closing out the first half with a 73-58 advantage over the Bighorns.
Coming out of the break, the Bighorns went on a 11-4 run behind back-to back threes from Green. The Bighorns would trail the D-Fenders 108-97 at the 9:00 mark. Green would sink a three with 8:24 on the clock closing the deficit to 10. Stockton hit a lay-up with 2:38 left in play to make it a 111-120 game. The D-Fenders would never relinquish the lead, defeating the Bighorns 127-116. The Bighorns won the final frame 30-23.
Green would score 25 of his 39 points in the second half behind a 9-14 shooting effort.
The Bighorns will host the Los Angeles D-Fenders for Game 2 of the 2016 NBA Development League Playoffs on Sunday, Apr. 10 at 7 p.m. at the Reno Events Center. If necessary, the Bighorns will host Game 3 on Tuesday, Apr. 12 at 7 p.m. The winner of the series will advance to the Western Conference Finals to take on either the Austin Spurs or the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.