Summer Spurs survive late surge by Wizards

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Amidah Brimah. Project Spurs illustration/Spurs

For the second day in a row, the Summer Spurs were the first game at the Thomas and Mack Center. While the temperature outside quickly soared to over 105F, it took until late in the fourth quarter for the Wizards to heat up. Ultimately, the Spurs would have just enough water left in the tank to put out fire and survived, 95-90, to pick up their first Las Vegas NBA Summer League win.

Players of Note

Jaron Blossomgame is an easy choice for star of the game. In his 31 minutes on the court Blossomgame led the Spurs in scoring with 22, going 8-11 from the field, along with a team leading 9 boards and 2 blocks. He was all over both ends of the court, diving into the stands to save the ball in the first quarter and hitting the offensive boards to save the Spurs in the fourth. Perhaps, the most impressive part of his game today was the way he utilized his jumper in a number of different situations – including a jumper off the dribble, a contested spot up jumper and a three pointer. At this point, I would not count out Blossomgame as a dark horse to earn a roster spot this fall. “That’s obviously the goal, but that’s obviously their decision to make and I’m just going to control what I can control. What ever happens, happens”. Said Blossomgame. I, for one, will certainly be pulling for him to make the Spurs roster.

While Lonnie Walker struggled from the field again, there is no denying his talent. He started the game in a more reserved fashion, taking only six shots through the first three quarters, before exploding in the fourth quarter. At one point Walker came up with a steal and drove the ball the length of the court for a thunderous jam which immediately drew comparisons to Kawhi Leonard across the Twitterverse.

“Summer League is hard for rookies”, Coach Hardy remarked after the game. “They feel the pressure to perform and Lonnie’s handling it great”.

Indeed, the Wizards were already rotating an extra man toward Walker during the game. “It is what it is”, Walker said postgame, “I just have to continue playing my game and not be distracted by anything. I know what I am capable of, I know what I can do better so it’s all about progress.”

Jeff Ledbetter had yet another standout Summer League game with perfect 4-4 shooting from the field, including 3-3 from 3. Ledbetter was also a team leading +16 in only 14 minutes of play.

Coach Hardy praised Ledbetter after the game, “Jeff has been solid for us for years, whether its Summer League or the G League team, just a super competitive guy and obviously does not shy away from the big shots.”

Other notables, include Derrick White’s absence from the court during the second half with a hamstring strain.

“Our history is to be careful with these guys, especially at summer league. We’ll let the medical team take a look at him and see how he comes back.” said Coach Hardy.

Chimezie Metu was also very active in his 22 minutes with 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 block and 6 turnovers. Metu fell hard on his wrist at one point, although he did return to the game and said he was fine. “We’ll have an update on Tuesday” said Coach Hardy.

Game Flow

Despite a familiar staring lineup, the Spurs got off to a slow start, quickly falling behind 6-2 and leading to an early timeout. Coach Hardy must have given his best Pop impression as the Spurs came out of the timeout with more focus and determined play. A Blossomgame and-one, along with a lay-up for White’s first basket of the game, helped to right the ship. The Spurs led 17-13 with 2:22 to go before a Ledbetter jumper (as the Washington bench was yelling ”shooter, shooter”) helped spark a 9-2 run. After Ledbetter hit a 3 and London Perrantes nailed a nice step back jumper, the Spurs held a 26-15 lead.

The second quarter started with another Ledbetter 3 and the Spurs quickly pushed their lead to 30-15. Following a jumper by Blossomgame the Spurs had their biggest lead of the game at 38-18. The Spurs then went through a bit of a cold spell, despite a Walker dropping some moves, which allowed Washington to cut into the Spurs lead resulting in a 40-31 halftime score.

With no White to start the third, the Spurs would have to look elsewhere for scoring. Enter Blossomgame who stepped up with 9 points in the quarter. Combined with another 3 and some heady play by Ledbetter (after a missed Wizards free throw he leaked out for a fast break leading to easy basket for Perrantes), the Spurs maintained their nine point advantage with a 71-62 lead.

Walker hit his only three of the game to start the fourth and the Spurs where still cruising. At one point, the Spurs pushed the lead to 85-69 and you could hear a pin drop in the arena. However, that didn’t last as a number of big time dunks by Devin Robinson seemed to get the Wizards going. The Wizards closed with one point with 27.2 seconds to play and the Spurs with the ball. While the Spurs missed their shot coming out of the timeout, Blossomgame saved the day with a thunderous put back. Following a missed Wizard three, two Blossomgame free throws sealed the game for the Spurs.

Next Game

The Summer Spurs have an off day on Monday and will move to the Cox Pavilion on Tuesday to take on the Portland Trailbazers at 1pm PST (2PM central, 3PM eastern). Once again, Spurs in the 6 will have you covered for in game Twitter updates and behind the scenes coverage and don’t forget to check back here on Project Spurs for the game recap.

1 COMMENT

  1. Nice write-up. I feel sorry for guys like Ledbetter, who are never going to make it to the Big Show. Blossomgame and White look really good in Austin and SL. White looks ready for the next step. I hope Blossomgame is, too. I fear SAS will need all the help they can get in this year of great transition and turbulence.

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