The D-Fenders play at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, on the Lakers practice court. Guard Courtney Fortson is one of their players who is on the verge of being called up to the NBA. Photo by Jason Lewis
The Laker Girls are on hand at every D-Fenders home game to cheer on the team and to entertain the crowd. Photo by Jason Lewis
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
The Lakers and the Clippers are not the only two professional basketball teams that are entertaining hoop fans. The Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA’s D-League are producing highly entertaining basketball games, and they may be the best ticket in town.
Bang for your buck wise, the D-Fenders may have the competition beat, because they have NBA caliber players (some who have played in the NBA), and every seat is courtside. After games fans have an opportunity to meet the players, and the Laker Girls are on hand to cheer on the team and entertain the crowd every home game.
One more perk, they play at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, on the same court that the Lakers practice on. Most fans never get an opportunity to step foot on that court, but at D-Fenders games they let you right in.
Last season the D-Fenders made it to the D-League’s championship series. They came up a little short, but it speaks volumes to the type of product that they put on the court. That team had eight players that were called up to the NBA, which was the most in the D-League.
“There are more than a handful of guys that have absolute NBA talent,” said D-Fenders Head Coach Reggie Theus (Inglewood High School). “It is our job as coaches to find the nuances in their game to get them to the to the next level.”
The D-Fenders have a number of players that the NBA is looking at right now. Scouts have shown a strong interest in guards Courtney Fortson, Gary Flowers and Elijah Millsap. Forward Jamario Moon has played in each of the last six NBA seasons, and guard Oreon Green has played four seasons in the NBA.
With that type of talent, along with opponents with NBA caliber players, D-Fender games are more than worth watching for basketball fans.
“These games have been extremely competitive,” Theus said. “There are a lot of the same elements that you will see in high caliber basketball on any level. Great passing, dunks, guys playing hard, guys that are hungry. Sometimes people enjoy watching lesser talented players work really hard. And our games are really close. Our win/loss differential is only five points.”
Being at the Lakers practice facility, watching NBA talent, along with the Laker Girls, and at a great price makes D-Fenders games the best ticket in town.
The D-Fenders next home game will be on Wednesday, February 13 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling 310-426-6043 or visiting their website at http://www.nba.com/dleague/losangeles/. That game will also be televised on Time Warner Cable SportsNet on February 14 at 8 p.m.