The Texas Legends (12-15) came storming out of the gates Wednesday night versus the Los Angeles D-Fenders (23-6), D-League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers. Texas ran out to a 44-22 lead before L.A. promptly went on an 8-0 run and Legends Coach Bob MacKinnon called a timeout.
Trying to stop the rally from the D-Fenders, who possess the best record in the entire league, the Legends were able to nurse the wound but not completely stop the bleeding. Their lead was getting smaller and smaller as the game progressed, with a counter-run to Los Angeles’ burst having yet to appear.
Finally, with four minutes left in the third quarter, Texas rebuilt the lead back to 17 points. But again the D-Fenders mounted a furious run. 23 points to just six from the home team tied the game at 97 with 9:10 to go in the game.
A lead maintained since tip-off went away completely as the run capped out at 25-6 and L.A. led 99-97. The remainder of the game was neck and neck. The penultimate possession of the game was a coast-to-coast, eurostep assisted layup for L.A. point guard Josh Magette, only his second field goal of the night.
But it would prove to be the biggest one. 1.5 seconds gave Legends forward Andre Dawkins time to release a three-pointer from the right corner but he was short. Dawkins looked for the foul call that would have given him three free throws and a chance to win the game for Texas.
Alas, the Legends lost their fifth straight game while the D-Fenders won their fourth in a row.
Dawkins was making his second “debut” of the season for the team. The former Duke Blue Devil began the year with the Legends and appeared in five games before being traded to the Windy City Bulls. On January 28th, the team reacquired him as well as big man J.J. Avila.
Avila played a very productive 15 minutes off the bench in his debut with the team. He had 10 points and seven rebounds, similar to his season averages of 10.6 points and 5.9 boards.
“It was fun,” says Avila. “The (Legends) style of play is nice. It was good to get out there and play. It’s a little different than where I was but it was fun. It’s gonna take some getting used to. We have two more games in three more days so I think it’ll be okay.”
A unique situation to be sure as Avila brings a teammate from Chicago with him that has very recent experience with their new destination.
“(Andre) was here before so I can ask him some questions, work with him. I can ask him how things are and how they aren’t and how coach is and how he coaches stuff. That is nice and on the court we play well together.”
Kyle Collinsworth came up a point shy of picking up the Legends’ first triple-double of the season. He notched nine points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He also picked up a team-high three steals. The team played without league-leading scorer Manny Harris (27.2 PPG) once again, who missed his second consecutive game and the team was also without DeJuan Blair.
Jameel Warney celebrated his 23rd birthday Tuesday with a return to the lineup Wednesday. He played 12 minutes in his first game since January 11th.
C.J. Williams’ swift three point stroke continues to find the bottom of the basket. Hitting 6-of-9, he led the team with 24 points. Mavericks assignee A.J. Hammons had 22 points and eight rebounds (three offensive) and Ben Gordon picked up 22 for himself.
The Legends continue their season long five game homestand Friday night vs. the Thunder-affiliated, division leading Oklahoma City Blue (21-9). OKC has won six straight. The game tips at 7 PM CT and will air nationally on ESPNews.