Spurs fourth quarter struggles continue as Blue rally to victory

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A 13-point lead for the Austin Spurs evaporated over the span of six minutes in the fourth quarter, as the Oklahoma City Blue would complete the comeback to win, 89-88, handing the Spurs their third straight loss.

Charles Garcia had his best performance of the season for the Spurs with 20 points in 25 minutes. Jarell Eddie had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists, but shot just 6-for-15 from the field. Ryan Arcidiacono had 10 points for Austin.

Five players for the Oklahoma City Blue scored in double figures, led by Development League Player of the Month Dakari Johnson, who had 17 points and eight rebounds. Alex Caruso scored 16 points in 31 minutes, while also tallying five rebounds, five assists and three steals. Former NBA veteran Reggie Williams had 14 points and six rebounds for the Blue. Daniel Hamilton and Josh Huestis both chipped in 10 points each.

The Spurs began the game cold, with Eddie and Demetri McCamey starting the game 0-for-6 from the field. But the trio of Livio Jean-Charles, Garcia and Cheick Diallo combined for 12 of Austin’s 17 first quarter points to keep the Spurs close at the end of the first.

A strong second quarter helped the Spurs fuel a comeback as Arcidiacono nailed a pair of 3-pointers to give Austin an 8-0 run to take the lead. Oklahoma City eventually tied the game at 39, but Garcia’s 8-point second quarter gave Austin a 43-41 lead heading into halftime.

Austin’s offensive momentum carried over into the third quarter, with an 11-0 run pushing the Spurs lead to double digits. Both teams would struggle to close out the quarter strong, but Austin still maintained a 72-59 lead heading into the fourth.

Oklahoma City would score 12 unanswered points to start the fourth quarter, cutting Austin’s lead down to one point. Thankfully a floater by Eddie gave the Spurs their first points of the fourth quarter with 6:30 left in the frame.

The Spurs took a four point lead late into the game, but three straight free throws from the Blue cut Austin’s lead down to one with 58 seconds remaining. Hamilton would nail a pull up jumper and a free throw on consecutive possessions to give Oklahoma City a 88-86, but Eddie managed to draw a foul on the following possession, giving him two free throws to tie the game at 88.

Oklahoma City Blue Head Coach Mark Daigneault drew up a final isolation play for Johnson out of the timeout with 12 seconds left. Johnson drove from the top of the key and into the lane to draw the foul on Jefferson for a pair of free throws. Johnson hit the first free throw, but the second would bounce off the back rim and straight to Caruso’s hands as the Blue held on for the victory.

Up next for the Austin Spurs (4-5), they get a few days off before heading to California for a game against the Santa Cruz Warriors (3-7) on Friday night. Tipoff is at 9 p.m. CST from the Kaiser Permanente Arena with the game being broadcasted simultaneously on Facebook Live.

GAME NOTES

  • Dejounte Murray, on assignment from San Antonio, was inactive for tonight’s game but still with the team. No word on if his absence tonight was injury or assignment related, as Murray could join the San Antonio Spurs on their current road trip with Tony Parker being out.

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