Toros squander late lead, lose to D-Fenders in overtime

By Quixem Ramirez

Jan 6 2010; Boise, ID, USA;Austin Toros guard Carldell Johnson (10) works the perimeter during the second half of against the Sioux Falls Skyforce in the NBA D league show case at Qwest Arena. Austin defeated Sioux Falls 127-94. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-US PRESSWIRE

Carldell Johnson converted on 4-of-5 shots from behind the arc last night, finishing with 12 points.

With 2:17 remaining, the Austin Toros took a four point lead on a couple of free throws from Terrance Woodbury. On the next Toros possession, Woodbury found Cory Joseph behind the arc for a wide open 3-pointer that stretched the lead to five points.

Yet, it was all for naught after Elijah Millsap converted on five consecutive points to end regulation. Millsap finished the night with a game-high 33 points on 8-of-17 shooting and his ability to get to the free throw line consistently (he converted 15-of-16 attempts from the line) played an intricate role in the Los Angeles D-Fender’s eight point overtime victory.

Overall, the game was what you would expect from the two best teams, record-wise, in the entire Developmental League. There were 18 lead changes and 14 ties, indicating that the D-Fenders, still undefeated in the postseason, shouldn’t anticipate anything other than an arduous battle in the potential finale of the D-League season on Thursday.

Much like their NBA counterparts, the Toros and D-Fenders excel in completely different ways. The Toros dominated from the perimeter, converting on 11 3-pointers. The D-Fenders, behind 25 rebounds from former Toro Malcolm Thomas, grabbed 62 rebounds on the night. Not only did they dominate the glass, but Los Angeles careened to the rim with impunity. Their 50 free throw attempts, compared to 21 for the Toros, alleviated their deficit from the perimeter.

Justin Dentmon (18 points, six assists) wasn’t very efficient but he did make two 3-pointers. Woodbury led the team with 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting in 36:02 minutes off the bench.

35 seconds into the game, Eric Dawson exited with an undisclosed injury. The D-League Impact Player of the Year averaged 14.8 points and 10.2 rebounds in six playoffs game this year.

The Toros and D-Fenders will square off tomorrow at 9 p.m. CST at the Toyota Sports Center in Los Angeles. A Toros loss would end their season.