AUSTIN – Even with the San Antonio Spurs assigning rookies Dejounte Murray and Davis Bertans to Austin prior to the game, the D-League Spurs still lacked enough firepower to overcome the Salt Lake City Stars, as they fell 119-113 on Sunday afternoon.
Bryn Forbes, who remains on assignment from San Antonio, scored 30 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field. Bertans used a strong second half to finish with 19 points and four rebounds. And Murray missed a near double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds in 36 minutes.
For Salt Lake City, Jermaine Taylor led all scores with 29 points. Joel Bolomboy had a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while frontcourt teammate JJ O’Brien tallied 16 points. Sundiata Gaines rounded out the starting unit with 15 points, four rebounds and two assists.
Both teams were pretty even in the first quarter, despite the Spurs starting the game on a speedy 9-0 run. Salt Lake City eventually changed gears and secured a 24-21 lead to end the first.
The Stars started the second quarter with a 9-2 run of their own, pushing their lead to as much as 13 points before heading into halftime up 56-48.
Orlando Johnson scored seven points in the third quarter for Austin, but Salt Lake City managed to push their lead to as large as 20, putting the final dagger into the Spurs afternoon.
Or so it seemed.
The duo of Bertans and Charles Garcia scored 20 of Austin’s 39 fourth quarter points, bringing the silver and black to within 11. Back-to-back dunks by Cory Jefferson and layups by Patricio Garino put Austin within eight points with just over four minutes remaining. Forbes followed up the action with seven straight points, putting the Spurs within reach at 112-108 with 90 left.
That was as close as the Spurs could get it.
Salt Lake City clamped down on the defensive end down the stretch, forcing Austin into several contested opportunities, while Bolomboy sealed the game for the Stars at the free throw line, leading to the 119-113 final.
With the crushing loss, the Austin Spurs move to 18-21 on the season and are now eighth in the Western Conference and 5.5 games behind the Sioux Falls Skyforce for the final playoff spot.
Coming up this week for Austin will be several days off before making the trip down I-35 to San Antonio. The D-League Spurs will face the Delaware 87ers at the AT&T Center this Thursday, March 9th at 7 p.m. CST.