Less than four minutes into the game, Nick Johnson sunk a three-pointer to boost the Austin Spurs in front of the Oklahoma City Blue, 8-6. Over the course of the next 44 minutes, the Spurs never trailed again.
Behind a balanced offensive attack that featured five Spurs scoring over 15 points, the Austin Spurs defeated the Blue 110-104.
After a season-low 78 points in Saturday’s loss against the same opponent, power forward Cady Lalanne ignited the offense with 25 points of his own.
The Spurs have been great at bouncing back from losses this season. In the second game of back-to-backs, the Spurs have won five straight and are 8-1 overall.
“Coaches told us we had to come out aggressive,” said Lalanne, who also tallied seven rebounds and two blocks in the game. “We came out tonight and showed them that we could compete.”
Lalanne was an instrumental part in stalling a late third quarter run by the Blue that cut the Spurs lead to two points. He converted on a three-pointer to end the quarter and drained two more at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
“You got to slow down their runs a little bit, but at the same time, start building up offense,” Lalanne said. “We had the two Hawks players, [Deshaun Thomas] making shots, and Keifer making plays. It helps a lot to have everyone focused into the game.”
The two players on assignment from the Atlanta Hawks, Walter Tavares and Lamar Patterson, combined for 33 points and added NBA experience to the Spurs roster, which was without small forward Orlando Johnson.
Tavares had a double-double by halftime, recording 14 points and 11 rebounds in 13 minutes of action. As the tallest player on the court, standing at 7 feet 3 inches tall, he easily posted up Blue defenders to shoot an efficient 85.7 percent from the floor.
“Edy was dialed-in and very physical in the game because there are a lot of problems with his length and his size. Lamar is aggressive, can play multiple positions and brings a lot of experience to our team,” coach Ken McDonald said of his two Hawks players.
The Spurs were able to propel in front of Oklahoma City early after the Blue missed their first eight three-point attempts and shot 50 percent from the free throw line in the first half. The Spurs shot 54.4 percent in the game, causing the Blue to fall to 0-6 when their opponent shoots above the 50 percent mark.
“Today, we did a better job. When we had a lead, we extended it. We still have to work on execution down the stretch because we let them back into the game,” said McDonald, as his Spurs improved to 22-14 after the victory.
The Spurs have plenty of time to improve on execution over the course of the week, and will return to action next Sunday at home to play the Idaho Stampede.