D-League Finals: Toros vs. D-Fenders
Tonight's game one is the lone home game for the Toros
By Will Schmidt, 11:45AM, Tue. Apr. 24, 2012
In a city overblown with Austin Toros fever, we continue our ride, our march, our hike, if you will, toward the ultimate in NBDL glory, the NBA D-League trophy, and with it the exclusive honor of being hailed a grand champion of America's second-biggest pro-basketball league.
With Austin returning to the championship series for the first time since 2008 (when we lost to Idaho), we prepare for the showdown against the Los Angeles D-Fenders. What you're feeling, it's called chills, and take it from me, a fella who's been riding this thing all year long, it's only going to get better tonight at game one. The chills will be epic!
Tonight's game one is the lone home contest for the Toros, with the series moving west to sun-flooded Los Angeles for games two and, if necessary, three. It's quite literally the final home game of the season, the final chance to cheer for Austin at the Cedar Park Center. Unless you're anything like my cousin Bernice, who is making the trip out west with me to see this thing through, tonight's championship game will be your last chance to witness the pure energy of Justin Dentmon, Austin's star point guard, who as of a day ago is your 2012 D-League MVP.
That's right, Toros fans, Dentmon's the MVP! It's the highest award of the year, and it goes to a guy who deserves nothing less. His determination to win is second to none, and alongside Flip Murray, Eric Dawson, Cory Joseph, and the other guys, the ingredients are there. With Head Coach Brad Jones, the high basketball IQ is there. Now we watch this effort and drive – which gives Austin a fighting chance at reigning supreme, a chance of out-battling the top-seeded D-Fenders, who, like the Toros, bring a storied roster to the championship series.
Toros fans might recognize L.A.'s Christian Eyenga, who started the season with the Lakers, but the real power pack on the D-Fenders comes from guard Elijah Millsap and power forward Orien Greene. Together, with sixth man Mardy Collins and a handful of talented guys ready to step up, any given night the La La Land D-Fenders are a deep team, and their undefeated postseason is a testament to that fact. It's tough, going up against a team who has yet to feel defeat in the playoffs, but these are the Finals, kiddo. You can't be afraid to lose, you just have to belong out there on the big stage, and you have to believe and give it everything you've got, head to toe, from the more glamorous organs like the brain and the heart, down to the tiniest little skin cell, doing what it can to win games.
Tip-off is performed at 7:30. It was most excellent last game with everyone wearing black. Some of you forgot, but that's OK. Try to remember this time. Cedar Park Center is the place, so kimble your peepers and enjoy one of the biggest game in franchise history. Let's send our basketball players to California with top-shelf cheering, song-singing, and the tough yet tasteful banter that Austin is known for. Let's send our Toros to California with a win!
The games will be webcast live for free at www.nba.com/dleague and will be on NBA TV.
Vs. Los Angeles: Tue., April 24, 7:30pm. Cedar Park Center, 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park, 512/600-5000. $8-99 plus fees.