Legends Put Agua Caliente in Hot Water

By Asher Feltman | March 19, 2018

An earlier tip, Sunday’s game began at 5 p.m., did no harm to the Texas Legends (27-20). A 54-percent shooting evening helped Texas get up early and win a wire-to-wire contest against the Agua Caliente Clippers (20-27). The Los Angeles G League affiliate shot just 43 percent and 25 from three, while the Legends added a 48 percent clip from downtown to win 122-111.

After achieving a franchise record 26 wins in Tuesday’s 111-95 win over Santa Cruz, the Legends did one better, moving to 27 wins and dwindling their playoff magic number to a single game. The Legends have not been to the postseason since their expansion season in 2010-2011.

Before getting ahead of ourselves, Sunday was a star-studded win for Texas. Rocking the signature orange colors of Home Depot on annual Operation Homefront Night, big performances from Brandon Ashley and Keith Hornsby paved the way.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been the number one option, maybe since high school,” Ashley said after scoring a game-high 29 points. “It’s definitely fun to come out and essentially have that ultimate green light. At the same time, we’re out here trying to get wins and I want to improve as best as I possibly can.”

The offense right now essentially runs through the multi-dimensional Ashley. “It’s given me an opportunity to have the ball in my hands a little bit more and showcase my skill set.”

Leading a well-rounded team display, especially in the shooting column, Ashley made 11-of-21 shots and also knocked down 5-of-9 3-pointers. Ever the self-critic, an extremely efficient night from downtown still leaves room for improvement.

“I’m definitely getting in a better groove (from three), but I’m still not really pleased where I’m at just yet. I still want to improve and really make my shot more consistent.”

Ashley also tied a season-high with three blocks, a total he has hit eight times this season.

A red-hot, 15-point first half from Ashley was accompanied by a just as good 14-point showing from Hornsby, who ended up with a season-best 27 points. If not for an untimely injury that cost the second-year pro from LSU most of December and January, there would have been a whole lot more of these nights.

With three games to go, a strong, momentous finish seems to be in store for Hornsby, who made 10-of-17 shots and 5-of-8 from downtown. The same goes for Ashley as well as the entire Legends roster.

A roster that has seen some serious turnover in recent weeks. Two-way players Johnathan Motley and Jalen Jones are currently with the parent club Dallas Mavericks, Kyle Collinsworth and Jameel Warney are with the Mavs as well, and Bob MacKinnon’s team has welcomed in an incredible six new players in just the last month.

The continuing winning ways from the team have certainly disguised the changes of personnel, and whoever seems to walk through the door has fit right in with the Legends.

“I feel like it just all factors into people buying in,” Ashley said. “I feel like we have a great group of guys out here in Frisco and everybody has bought into the system. Everybody wants the same thing. We all want to win.”

After his triple-double Tuesday, J.J. Avila started again and was brilliant again, scoring 19 points with eight rebounds and four assists. Cory Jefferson posted 14 points and six rebounds

One final regular season road game awaits the Legends. They will travel to Prescott Valley, Arizona to take on the Phoenix-affiliated Northern Arizona Suns (21-25) on Wednesday night. Tipoff arrives at 8:30 p.m. CT.

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