The Westchester Knicks fell to the Los Angeles D-Fenders on February 25 by a final score of 121-118. The game was decided in the final three seconds of the fourth quarter by the two free-throws made by the D-Fender’s Jamaal Franklin. Despite the loss, all five Westchester Knicks starters scored in the double digits. The two best players for the Knicks on the night were Doron Lamb and Darnell Jackson, scoring 30 and 26 points respectively. However, five L.A. D-Fender players also scored in double digits, with Franklin coming off of the bench to score 22 points overall.
The entire game was a track meet, and the first half set the tone for a fast-paced game. Both teams went back and forth scoring in the first quarter. The athletic guard for the D-Fenders, Vander Blue, gave a spark to their fast break offense as well as assisting forward Jabari Brown to some open baskets up the court. The Knicks did not have as many fast breaks in the first quarter, but their half court offense was efficient enough to keep the score even. Darnell Jackson was dominating in the post by backing down defenders and sinking mid range shots. Also in the post, center Ben Strong had a very solid game grabbing 10 rebounds and adding 10 points.
By the second quarter, the Westchester Knicks picked up the pace. Walker Russell began to shoot more, even though his passing had already been a key to that point. Doron Lamb increased his intensity to the level of Jackson, and from a jump shooting standpoint, they were spot on. L.A. was not contesting the Knicks’ jumpers and they took advantage of that. The Knicks also dominated the boards with four of the starters having double-digit rebounds. The only problem is that the Knicks barely defended L.A.’s fast break offense. It was strength versus strength, and the game would be decided by which team would have the last possession.
The second half was just as exciting as the first. D-Fenders forward Jabari Brown and guard Vander Blue picked up right where they left off, making high-flying emphatic dunks in the open court. Jabari Brown was the team’s leading scorer on the night with 26 points. Knicks’ Doron Lamb turned on the flame for the final quarter, and actually scored most of his 30 points in the fourth. He would finish the game with 11 rebounds as well. Unfortunately, the L.A. D-Fenders seemed to have slightly more energy in the tank than the Knicks, and Jamaal Franklin ended the game with a steal.
The Westchester Knicks are 9-27 and remain at the bottom of the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference. The Los Angeles D-Fenders are 11-26 and second to last place in the West Division and the Western Conference.
By Joshua Hamer