The Rio Grande Valley Vipers were able to defeat the L.A. D-Fenders in the opening round of the NBA D-League playoffs earlier this week, with a 140-127 victory in the decisive third game.
The Vipers were led by Washington Wizards assignee Sheldon McClellan and Darius Morris, who went for 33 and 28 points respectively, in Game 3 vs. LA. The timing of the series was interesting, with the Houston Rockets using some players normally with RGV in their final regular season games.
Joshua Smith saved the day in Game 1, tipping in a Darius Morris missed jumper, to send the game into overtime, where the Vipers secured the victory at State Farm Arena.
Game 2 belonged to the D-Fenders, despite Isaiah Taylor going off for 35 points and 10 assists. But, when the season was on the line, it was Rio Grande Valley that moved on, after a first round exit last season.
The Most Venomous Viper of the 1st Round:
Sheldon McClellan: The former Texas Longhorn and Miami Hurricane dazzled after being assigned by the Wizards. His scoring arsenal was a great match for the high pace Vipers offense. He was recalled by the Wizards for their regular season finale, but could still return for the next round with RGV.
Up Next, Round 2 vs. the OKC Blue
Just like their NBA affiliate Rockets, the Vipers’ playoff foe will hail from Oklahoma City. As RGV dispatched the D-Fenders, the OKC Blue were sending home Santa Cruz. While they don’t have Mr. Triple-Double, Russell Westbrook, they do have Dakari Johnson and Daniel Hamilton leading the attack. Hamilton tallied 30 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in their Game 3 clincher.
The season series went 3-1 in favor of Oklahoma City. The start of the series has not been announced yet. The winning team will head to the D-League Finals. The Vipers have won it all twice, while the Blue would be looking for their first ever championship.