Cross-posted from Project Spurs.
Despite losing six of their last seven games, the Austin Spurs finally managed to stop the bleeding with a win, clinching their eighth playoff birth in franchise history.
The Austin Spurs had a couple days off to regroup, after last Sunday’s 30 point loss to the Bakersfield Jam, where the silver and black put up arguably the worst offensive performance the Development League has seen all season.
Thursday night’s matchup versus the Texas Legends would be the ultimate test of adversity, with the Legends breathing down Austin’s neck for a playoff spot. With the Cedar Park Center nearly sold out, the Spurs and Legends started the game on fire from the field, entertaining the crowd of 6,197 early on. The Legends would use a 10-2 run midway through the quarter, thanks in part to Chris Douglas-Roberts’ 14 points, to gain a 33-31 advantage at the end of the first. Eight lead changes in the second quarter would end with the Legends still holding a two point lead at the half, before the Spurs blew the doors off.
The trio of Nick Johnson, Keifer Sykes and Deshaun Thomas brought their flamethrowers out at halftime, helping the Spurs start the second half on a 15-5 run, which eventually led to a 12-point Spurs advantage after three quarters, with no looking back. After pushing the lead to 18 points in the fourth, Texas would end up falling to a final score of 106-93, officially eliminating them from playoff contention, while the Spurs would clinch a playoff spot and hold on to the division lead.
Friday night would be more of the same, but Austin’s defense failed to contain the Maine Red Claws. The Spurs picked up right where they left off, leading by eight points after the first quarter. Maine eventually tied the game with a 12-2 run to start the quarter that would end with the Red Claws scoring 40 points in the second. Austin’s offense would eventually catch up by scoring 40 in the fourth quarter as well, but the Red Claws’ strong second quarter would be tough to overcome as the Spurs would lose 120-113.
Up next, at the time of this post, the Austin Spurs will be facing the defending champion Santa Cruz Warriors on Sunday night from Kaiser Permanente Arena. The Warriors (18-28) are playing for pride at this point, while the Spurs (26-20) are holding on to the 2nd seed by just half a game over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets’ D-League affiliate.
Deshaun Thomas: 22.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, FG: 21/37 (.567%)
Cady Lalanne: 17.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, FG: 12/21 (.571%)
Keifer Sykes: 16.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, FG: 15/27 (.556%)