Perfection in the playoffs continues as Sioux Falls is one win away from a title after holding off the Los Angeles D-Fenders 104-99 on Sunday night.

Good or bad, having the best record in the NBADL this season meant that Sioux Falls (1-0) was going to end their season at home. Each successive series has come with the cushion of winning that first road game and just needing a split at home to advance. Twice before that security blanket was not needed.

Los Angeles (0-1) scored on their first five possessions to lurch ahead 11-0. It took the rest of the first quarter for the lead to dwindle to one with the first Skyforce lead to arrive with the first score of the second frame.

Sioux Falls closed the first half with a three minute 12-2 burst turning a four-point deficit into a six-point lead. That would be the last lead change of the contest though L.A. did fight to a draw at 84 with 7:19 left.

Jarnell Stokes would exert plenty of influence on the final 5 minutes notching 8 of his 22 points as the main option for Sioux Falls. Vander Blue was quite the counter balance by blowing up for 15 points in the fourth quarter of his 31 overall to put his team in position to snatch the win.

Rodney McGruder turned out to be the biggest contributor with 30 points and 11 rebounds which is his third game in the playoffs with 30 or more. He spoke with Sarah Kustok of ESPN after the game and underscored the importance of seizing Game One.

“Getting this first win was critical because it’s tough to win two games. L.A. has been a great team in those third games (in previous series) to come up with a win.”

Additional noteworthy efforts came from L.A.’s Ryan Gomes with 24 points, Justin Harper’s 21 points and 7 rebounds and Josh Magette supplying 14 points, 8 assists and 7 steals. The Skyforce’s Jabril Trawick added 13 points meanwhile from the bench Greg Whittington mustered 10 points with Keith Benson scoring 9 and swatting 4.

Sioux Falls has set themselves up to claim a title with no reason to let it get to that Game Three. Game Two is Tuesday night at the Sanford Pentagon.


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