Two games into the NBA Summer League and Kawhi Leonard had scored a combined 50 points and led the San Antonio Spurs to two straight wins. After the Spurs’ victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday, Leonard had ice on a sore left wrist.
Well it seems Leonard’s stint in Las Vegas has come to an end as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express News reported before Wednesday’s game with the Los Angeles Clippers that Leonard’s run in Vegas was done, though McDonald tweeted it wasn’t due to the injury.
With Leonard done, Cory Joseph became the focal point of the Spurs’ offense Wednesday, along with James Anderson and Eric Dawson. Joseph had an impressive 22-points and six assists to lead the Spurs with Leonard out Wednesday, but Adam Morrison (23 points) and Eric Bledsoe (18 points) were just too much as the Clippers defeated the Spurs 86-80.
Joseph came out playing stellar basketball as he was knocking down jumpers, creating steals and turning them into points, and hitting from the 3-point line consistently as he scored 12 points in the first quarter. His counterpart Bledsoe led the Clippers with seven points as the Clipper took a 25-19 lead after one.
Morrison was scoreless in the first quarter, but he posted nine points in the second, while Bledsoe added six more to his total. As Joseph could only produce two points in the second, the Clippers’ lead grew to 12-points by halftime.
In the third quarter, Morrison may have either gotten himself a training camp invite from the Clippers or another team as he put up 14 points in the quarter alone. Joseph began forcing shots and was held scoreless in the third; the Clippers took a 69-53 lead into the final quarter.
Anderson, who had a chance to showcase himself with Leonard gone struggled as he finished with eight points on 3-of-8 shooting. He might be on highlight videos Thursday as Anderson had a ferocious dunk in the open court midway through the fourth quarter. Joseph did what he could to help the Spurs make a comeback with a 15-2 run that would eventually get the Clippers’ lead down to four, but in the end Bledsoe and Morrison were still too much. Joseph scored eight points in the final quarter; it’s just only going to get tougher with Leonard gone for the young Canadian, but it’s also a time for him to prove he’s worthy of playing backup to Tony Parker.
The Spurs have just two games remaining in Summer League, which continue Friday against the Miami Heat and end Saturday against the Dallas Mavericks.
- Eric Dawson and Luke Zellar both finished the game with 11 points each to help Joseph with the scoring load; Dawson also collected 13 rebounds for his second double-double in the Summer League.
- Rookie Marcus Denmon was a big part of the Spurs’ 15-2 run in the fourth quarter, as he ended up finishing the game with seven points.
- Ryan Richards finally got a good chunk of minutes (16), though he didn’t use them wisely. Richards scored just two points, grabbed three rebounds, committed five personal fouls, and turned the ball over two times. I’ll have more on Richards in the near future on Project Spurs as I continue my Richards scouting reports from the Summer League.
(Photo: Shep McAllister/Spurs.com)