By Gareth Gibbins, Spursinthe6.com
The Spurs entered their third Summer League game with the Spurs fans in Vegas out in full force. There was a “San Antonio High Hair” tee in the building and fans who created their own Lonnie Walker IV t-shirt and jersey.
Unfortunately, the fans would not get to see Derrick White (right hamstring strain) or Chimezie Metu (left wrist sprain) take to the court due to injuries.
Despite an uneven game from the Spurs, there were still a number of exciting moments. Walker’s colourful (Canadian spelling eh!) kicks and his thunderous put back dunk were definite highlights.
Players of Note
Lonnie Walker IV and Jaron Blossomgame led the way for the Spurs in the first half, combining for 22 points, with Walker sinking both of his three point attempts.
Things went differently in the second half as Blossomgame did not attempt a field goal, finishing with 12 points after making 2 free throws, and Walker did not score at all.
“Part of his growth will be learning how to stay aggressive over the course of a game and as defences change” Coach Harday said of Walker, “you run off twelve points in the first half, the other team will try to make some adjustments and take things away from you and that’s just going to be part of his maturation as a scorer”.
After the game, Walker seemed more concerned about his defence, “I need to stay more aggressive, more consistent. It’s more about by defence than my offence. I could care less about my offence, as long as I’m giving 110% on the defensive end of the court and that’s what makes you a Spur”.
Amida Brihma had some nice, yet inconsistent, playing time finishing with 9 points in 16 minutes on 3-4 shooting. Brihma also had 9 boards and 2 blocks and was second on the team with a +8 rating.
The Spurs +/- leader was, once again, Jeff Ledbetter with a +13 rating. Despite Ledbetter’s struggles from the field (3-10, 2-8 from three), he made a crucial three as part of a Spurs 10 point run late in the fourth quarter.
As first reported by Spurs in the 6 yesterday, Davis Bertans is currently in Las Vegas and was courtside to watch the Spurs today. Jeff McDonald spoke to Bertans after the game and his new contract appears to be in place.
In the absence of White and Metu, the Spurs starting lineup consisted of Walker, Blossomgame, Oliver Hanlan, Drew Eubanks and Cory Jefferson.
After three quick threes by the Blazers to start the game, the Spurs called timeout and Jefferson was replaced by Trey McKinney-Jones.
The Spurs continued to struggle from the field, shooting 30.4% for the quarter and found themselves down 22-16 after the first 10 minutes of play.
The Spurs had a stronger start to the second quarter, briefly taking a 29-27 lead, before finishing the half down 44-39.
Harking back to their first game in Vegas, the third quarter doomed the Spurs as they struggled on both ends of the floor. The Trail Blazers stretch their lead, to 67-47, before the Spurs went on a run to narrow the deficit to 74-61 heading into the fourth quarter.
“It’s frustrating when we don’t play the whole forty minutes hard, we had a lapse to start the second half for sure that put us in a big hole.” Coach Hardy acknowledged after the game.
The Spurs continued to sputter for the first five minutes of the fourth quarter before going a run, behind of flurry of three points from Hanlan and Ledbetter, to close the gap to five points setting the stage for an exciting finish.
A triple by Putney would close the lead to 2 with 30ish seconds to play and bring the Spurs fans to their feet. Alas, a miscommunication with the bench led to an intentional foul sending the trail Blazers to the line.
Following a couple of missed threes by the Spurs and two more free throws by the Blazers, the Spurs finished the game on the wrong side of the 95-89 score.
The first round playoff games are schedule for Wednesday and Thursday.
At the timing of writing, the Summes Spurs have not be been placed into a time slot.
It is also unclear whether we will see White and Metu again at Summer League.
“I’m not sure, they’re day-to-day”, Coach Hardy said after the game, “I’ll check with the medical team today after they get treatment and we’ll go from there”.
I catch a flight home to Toronto on Thursday morning so here’s hoping the Spurs play on Wednesday so Spurs in the 6 can keep you covered with live Twitter updates and another game recap here on on Project Spurs.