The stars were big and bright in the state capital as the Austin Spurs played host to the Texas Legends to open the teams’ 2022 Showcase Cup season. In the end, the visitors spoiled the night as the Legends (1-0) defeated the Spurs (0-1) 120-113. It wasn’t a clean game from either team by any means, but as the quarters went on, Texas was the one to tighten things up.
Throughout the game, Austin led by as many as 12 points, relying heavily on the starting unit to take care of business. Still, the Legends just kept it close in the cat-and-mouse affair. Ultimately, they took advantage of the Spurs’ relaxed defense in the second half. Most of their damage was done from the three-point and free-throw lines. Texas shot 30 percent from deep, outscoring Austin on the perimeter 30-15. They also connected on 90 percent of their attempts from the charity stripe, hitting 15 of 17, ranging from one to three points in value as is such in the G League based on the foul.
The Austin Spurs Are All About That Bassey
Four of the five players scored in double digits for the Spurs, two with 20 or more points. Center Charles Bassey was unstoppable, totaling 33 points and 15 rebounds (both game-highs). He missed just six shots all night, connecting on 15 of 20 from the floor, including one of his two shot attempts from deep. Bassey also blocked four shots in a strong defensive performance. A late addition to the Spurs organization, he was signed to a two-way contract just before Austin’s training camp opened less than two weeks ago.
Intriguing prospect Jalen Adaway provided a great one-two punch with Bassey, contributing 20 points of his own to the total effort. The former St. Bonaventure guard was the Spurs’ best three-point option, connecting on two of his four attempts. He was active all over the floor, racking up three assists, four rebounds, a steal, and a blocked shot.
Mr. Wright Leads the Legends to Victory
Two-way contract player McKinley Wright IV had a quiet night to start the game, but he really poured it on to help the Legends battle back and steal the win. Of his team-high 29 points, 15 came in the fourth quarter, and he hit his foul shots when called upon. Wright stole Texas’ “Player of the Game” honors from Jaden Hardy who was on assignment from the team’s NBA affiliate Dallas Mavericks. He showed why he is at the next level, scoring 23 points and connecting on 30 percent of his shots from deep. Hardy led both teams with six assists, but Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd would surely like to see him cut back on the five turnovers.
Up Next for the Austin Spurs
Now that the Spurs and the Legends have gotten warmed up, they’ll run it back on Saturday night inside the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park. Austin will look for revenge for the one they let slip away. One thing to watch for is if two-way contract player Dominick Barlow gets an increase in usage. He struggled from the floor at times and didn’t seem to find his flow alongside Bassey, Adaway, and Chaundee Brown Jr. Cutting back on turnovers will surely be a point of emphasis for the Spurs as well. Austin gave the ball away 18 times, many due to just lazy passing.
What is the Showcase Cup?
For fans new to the G League or returning after a year away, the games the teams are playing right now are not part of the regular season. Last year, the G League began starting the season with the Showcase Cup, a “pod” qualifying tournament round of 16 games. The Cup culminates in the Showcase Cup playoffs at the annual Winter Showcase event in Las Vegas during the holiday season. After a couple of days off, the regular season will begin in late December.
All stats in this article are from the box score on NBAGleague.com.