On Tuesday night at Dr Pepper Arena, the Texas Legends (14-16) jumped out to an early first quarter lead and held off the Santa Cruz Warriors (17-14), D-League affiliate of Golden State. The Legends led by as many as 21 on the evening before the Warriors staged a furious fourth quarter comeback and had a chance to send the game to overtime on the final possession.
Jameel Warney came off the bench and made an immediate, large impact. He had a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds by halftime and finished the night with a monstrous 16 and 16.
“I really didn’t even know I had a double-double,” Warney says. “I don’t count all my rebounds or assists. I just know to get on the glass, box out and get some rebounds. Having a double-double by halftime is pretty cool.”
Inconceivable All-Star snub Manny Harris –who leads the league in scoring with 27 points per game– didn’t let the surprising decision slow down his tremendous season. Harris had 25 more points and also added 13 rebounds, including four on the offensive glass. Warney added five offensive rebounds as the team was +13 (38 to 25) on the boards in the first half.
“We learned a lot today,” Warney adds. “We beat a good team in Santa Cruz. It was a good, close, gut-out win. We’re just happy to get a win and find some momentum going into the All-Star break.”
Both teams shot under 40 percent (Santa Cruz 38, Texas 34) and the Warriors were an unappealing 10-of-37 for three, “good” for just 27 percent. The Legends fared far better making 14-of-36 (39 percent). Andre Dawkins made 6-of-11 and ended the night with 20 points. The former Duke Blue Devil is shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc this season.
Santa Cruz struggled following the opening tip to score just 18 points in the first quarter. The basket shrunk on the opposite end for the Legends as they scored a measly 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“I think sometimes you let your guard down a little bit. Some games we just stop flowing, it hurts our defensive style. You gotta keep playing basketball. Everyone’s good around here (in the D-League) and can score in bunches. Just know a set play you can go to to stop the momentum of the other team.”
Each team had five players in double-figures.
The Legends will hit the road for the first time in February (since January 25th; 15 days) to face the Austin Spurs, D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, in a Thursday matinee. The teams will tip-off at 11 AM CT and will air on Facebook Live @NBA Development League.