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Looking back at the D-League Showcase

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By Gareth Gibbins

Game 1 vs. Rio Grande Valley Vipers

On Wednesday night I headed out to Hersey Centre in Mississauga, Ontario to watch the Austin Spurs first game in the D-League Showcase.

What is the D-League Showcase you ask? Holly MacKenzie (a highly recommended follow on Twitter) provided a good overview on the Raptors 905 website.

I am not overly familiar with the Spurs roster this year (especially with Murray and Forbes in San Antonio), other than Patricio Garino, so I very much appreciated the insight from Michael DeLeon (another highly recommended follow) on who to keep an eye on. To that end, Cory Jefferson had himself a nice game, including a three and some nice defensive plays on his way to 19 points and 12 boards.

Garino had a quiet first half (I would like to see him be more aggressive) but was more active in this second, including this nice reverse slam:

Garino was also very considerate of the Argentine fans after the game:

 

Some other interesting/random observations:

  • The scouts had tables attached to the stands for their laptops/notes.
  • The MacBook Pro seems to be the laptop of choice if you work as a pro scout.
  • There are ads on the D-League jerseys below the numbers and above the waste.  Ads on NBA series may become inevitable but they really need to find a better location if they do.
  • On that note, the Austin Spurs appear to be sponsored by the  Central Texas Pain Center.
  • The shorts for D-League teams have the D-League team logo on the right and the NBA team logo on the left.  This is a nice touch and looks good!
  • Finally, only in Canada could you go to a basketball game and smell the hockey rink next door…

Game 2 vs. Northern Arizona Suns

Driving to Hersey Centre in Friday rush hour traffic, I was cautiously optimistic. Having connected with Michael DeLeon on Twitter Wednesday night, I was excited to see whether a Project Spurs/Spurs on Sixth press pass would waiting for me. (Spoiler alert, after some last minute emails the pass came through!)

With John Diaz providing a nice recap of the game (good job of working in the Drake references), I am going to focus on some in person observations for my second game of the D-League Showcase in this joint Spursinthe6 and Spurs on Sixth (this could get confusing) post.

My first game with a press pass!

Recap

First Quarter

As Diaz noted, Austin started off slow and finished the first quarter with 15 points on 27.8% shooting. Thankfully, Northern Arizona was not much better with 18 points on 32%.  Jefferson, in particular, got off to a slow start going 1-6 in over 9 minutes of run.

Interesting tidbit: Jefferson seems to take some time to get warmed up in the great white north.

Second Quarter

Things picked up significantly in the second as Ryan Arcidacono led Austin to 37 points on 56.5% shooting, which included the team shooting 6/7 from 3 (2/2 for each of Arcidiacono and Ledbetter).  After the first half, the good guys were up 52-46 behind Arcidiacono’s 16 points of perfect shooting. Jefferson also continued his strong all round play with 8 points, 6 boards, 2 assists and a triple.

Interesting tidbit: Head coach Ken McDonald closed the half with the starters on the bench – wonder if this is a development thing.

 

Third Quarter

The third quarter was Cory Jefferson time – 8 minutes of run, 4/7, 8 points, 2 boards, 2 blocks, +8.  Well done! Austin added two points to the lead and was up 79-71 after 3.

Interesting tidbit: I didn’t notice Garino on the court… maybe that is because he only played 3:41 in the 3Q with no shot attempts.  I didn’t notice if he got banged up or missed an assignment and was pulled, but it was strange.  I will have to go back and watch some tape on this one.

Fourth Quarter

Although they were outscored by 3, Austin held on for the win behind perfect free throw shooting in the 4Q (14-14).

Interesting tidbit: Once he was subbed out, Garino did not re-enter the game until the 4 minute(ish) mark.  Yet, he was the only Spur to finish with a + rating for the quarter.

Post Game with Coach MacDonald

After the game, Ken McDonald was asked about Dejounte Murray – some of direct quotes on Murray:

  • “He’s a lot of fun to be around, watching his growth – you can see it everyday.”
  • “He still makes some mistakes that a 19 year old makes.”
  • “I didn’t get to see the game and then I saw the 24 points so I sent him a text and, you know, just messed with him a little bit.”
  • “It doesn’t surprise me because he is so fast. He is really really fast.”
  • “We’re happy to be a part of him getting better. He’s come in with a good attitude.”
  • “He’s a great kid, he’s got a good sense of humour.”
  • “I’m happy for him, our staff is happy for him.”

I need to read up more on his background, but I have to say that Ken McDonald seems to be another perfect fit in the Spurs organization.  His comments after the game were insightful, honest, intelligent and sprinkled with some humour.  He also shook hands with and introduced himself to all of the reporters (there were three of us). I’m a fan! In particular, his comments on the D-League Showcase and the D-League in general were particularly insightful and I hope to expand on this in a future post.

A Quick Twitter Recap

Austin’s black uni’s are nice!

 

It was close game until the end, Austin’s free throw shooting helped them to the win!

 

Once agin Jefferson led the way with 23 points, 9 boards 3 blocks and 2 assists.

 

https://twitter.com/spursinthe6/status/822613030689275906

For more from Gareth, be sure to read his site, Spurs in the 6 and follow him on Twitter.

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