Preview: Spurs-Vipers renew rivalry with trip to Conference Finals at stake

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CEDAR PARK – Monday night provides a new challenge to the Austin Spurs.

A talented roster finished last season with a record of 25-25 and failed to make the playoffs for only the second time since the San Antonio Spurs took over Austin’s operations in 2007.

Now armed with a new coaching staff, and a roster retooled and reloaded with a blend of athleticism and experience, the Austin Spurs begin their quest for a second G League championship.

The rules are a little different this time around.

Instead of four teams from each conference battling it out, there are six teams. Instead of fighting through a “Best of 3” series, each round is now single elimination before the championship. And the best team in each conference gets awarded a first round bye.

That’s where Austin stands today.

After eight full days off with practices, media availability and enjoying the fruits of their labor mixed in between, the Spurs watched their two in-state rivals exchange punches for the right to enter the unfriendly confines of the H-E-B Center.

Now the Rio Grande Valley Vipers will look for some March Madness-esque magic to keep their playoff dreams alive against the dominant Spurs.

#4 Rio Grande Valley Vipers @ #1 Austin Spurs
Monday, April 2nd – 6:00 p.m. | Cedar Park, TX
H-E-B Center at Cedar Park | Stream: Twitch

REGULAR SEASON SERIES

Austin Spurs won the regular season series 3-1.

  • 11/08/17 – AUSTIN SPURS: 111 @ Rio Grande Valley Vipers: 104
  • 12/15/17 – Rio Grande Valley Vipers: 95 @ AUSTIN SPURS: 111
  • 02/10/18 – Austin Spurs: 98 @ RIO GRANDE VALLEY VIPERS: 109
  • 03/02/18 – Rio Grande Valley Vipers: 112 @ AUSTIN SPURS: 123

SEASON STATS

Just like their San Antonio counterparts, the Austin Spurs play at a slow, grinding pace while maximizing their efficiency.

While Austin does attempt and connect on more 3-pointers than San Antonio, they still rank in the bottom third of the league in attempts.

For Rio Grande Valley, they run a similar system to their NBA affiliate, the Houston Rockets, but they don’t shoot as well from beyond the arc.

However, making a mistake against the Vipers will cost you. RGV leads the league in steals and assists per game, staying true to the principles of sharing the ball and defense fueling offense.

Even on the off chance you play a flawless game, the Vipers also make their living by getting to the rim with nearly half of their field goal attempts coming from within five feet. But guarding them without fouling is practically impossible with RGV leading the league in free throw attempts per game as well.

NOTABLE PLAYERS

*denotes two-way player
**denotes player on assignment

RGV
RJ Hunter* (HOU): 20.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 3.2 apg
Chinanu Onuaku**: 10.8 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg
Monte Morris* (DEN): 19.0 ppg, 7.3 apg

ATX
Darrun Hilliard* (SAS): 20.7 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 3.8 apg
Derrick White**: 20.1 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 3.4 apg
Jaron Blossomgame: 16.5 ppg, 8.1 rpg

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