The “Love Those Legends” Tour returned to its 2017-2018 roots in Austin on Friday night with the Texas Legends (5-5) prevailing over the Spurs (8-4) 111 to 102. The night ultimately belonged to the Legends’ frontcourt as the team’s big men dominated from start to finish in a nearly wire-to-wire victory.
“It’s always great to play in Austin because you have fans from Frisco make the trip,” acknowledges Jameel Warney. “We appreciate the energy, we appreciate the fans coming out. It’s a good three hour trip so we always appreciate the fans coming.”
Two-way center Johnathan Motley led the charge with 28 points and Warney recorded a 24 point, 11 rebound double-double while the versatile Brandon Ashley also doubled up with 18 points and 13 boards. Controlling the glass is something that’s always attainable given the personnel at hand.
“Rebounding is one of our strengths,” says Warney, who also grabbed six offensive rebounds. “Me, Motley, ‘B Ash’ and Kyle getting on the glass gives us a few extra possessions and changes the momentum of the game. We look forward to that every game and just make that extra pass if we get an offensive rebound.”
On a night where both teams found the three-pointer an elusive target, the battle of the bigs tilted in Texas’ favor and resulted in win number five as well as toppling the in-state foe Spurs for the second of two times this year.
The division rivals will face twice more on the season, both in Frisco, giving the Legends an opportune scenario to pull off a season sweep. The Legends also improved to 3-1 in the division and though division matchups are always intense, all 50 games bring motivation in spades for Warney and his teammates.
“At the end of the day you just want to try to win every game on the schedule. You keep on doing things at the end of the day to get the job done and rack up wins.”
Motley, Warney and Ashley combined for a decisive 70 points and 30 rebounds, triple-handedly giving the road team a serious edge over Austin.
“I feel like we have a lot of talent in the frontcourt,” continues Warney. “When there’s a tandem of me, ‘Mot’ and ‘B Ash,’ we bring good offensive skill to the team and rebounding. I love playing with those two guys and you can see that it really works for us.”
Kyle Collinsworth also continues to crash the glass from the guard position, grabbing eight. He is fourth in the league in guard rebounding and also dished out a team-high six assists.
Coming off his historic 48-point outburst, Justin Dentmon “settled” for 19 points, hitting all seven of his free throws along the way.. At 29.8 PPG, Dentmon takes over as the G League’s leading scorer. By grabbing four more steals, his 2.8 average is second in the league.
The team as a whole continues to dazzle, scoring 119.8 points per contest, good for third in the G League while Bob MacKinnon’s fast-paced offense doesn’t miss a beat. So far, they’re putting up a whopping 97.6 shots per game, far and away tops in the league. Even with a heavy possession load, the Legends are averaging another second best with just 15.6 turnovers a night.
The three game roadie concludes on Sunday afternoon at 4 PM CT against the repurposed Iowa Wolves (2-7), formerly known as the Energy, now under the Minnesota Timberwolves’ employ.
Next Wednesday, Texas returns to Dr Pepper Arena for a brief homestay against Canton at 7 PM CT.