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Game Preview: No. 6 South Bay Lakers at No. 1 Austin Spurs

By Alex Busch | April 5, 2018

Meet the No. 1 Austin Spurs

NBA Affiliate: San Antonio Spurs
Regular Season Record: 32-18
Key Stat: 6.6 blocks per game (1st in NBA G League)

Meet the No. 6 South Bay Lakers

NBA Affiliate: Los Angeles Lakers
Regular Season Record: 28-22
Key Stat: 38.7 3-point percentage (3rd in NBA G League)

SEASON SERIES: South Bay wins 2-1

Game 1: South Bay 110, Austin 82

Top scorers

Travis Wear (SBL): 12 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals

Jaron Blossomgame (AUS): 13 points, 11 rebounds

Game 2: South Bay 113, Austin 96

Top scorers

Alex Caruso (SBL): 18 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 steals

Jaron Blossomgame (AUS): 18 points, 12 rebounds

Game 3: Austin 140, South Bay 128

Top scorers

Derrick White (AUS): 31 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks

Gary Payton II (SBL): 30 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists, 2 steals, 2 blocks

 

How They Got Here

Austin Spurs: The Western Conference’s top seed stayed afloat to begin the season before making a run in January, when they won 16 of 20 games and started to take control of the conference’s top spot. The Spurs, who have laid a foundation of success on stifling defense, led the NBA G League in blocked shots, with 6.6 per game in 2017-18.

Led by two-way player Darrun Hilliard (20.7 points per game), the Spurs have also seen the dynamic play coming from Clemson product and former San Antonio draftee Jaron Blossomgame, who has put up 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds per game in 50 appearances this season.

After a first-round bye in the playoffs, the Spurs put together a dominant 117-91 second-round victory over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to advance to the Western Conference Finals. San Antonio assignee Derrick White led the way with 20 points, four boards and six assists.

South Bay Lakers: Led by dynamic play from two-way player Alex Caruso (19.0 points per game, 7.8 assists per game), the South Bay Lakers found themselves making the NBA G League Playoffs as the final team in the Western Conference.

Although two-way players Caruso and Gary Payton II have led the Lakers throughout the season, assignee Thomas Bryant has displayed his abilities game in and game out when assigned to South Bay, throwing down thunderous jams throughout the year. At point guard, Scott Machado has become a reliable option for South Bay as well, finishing fourth in the league with 8.6 assists per game.

As the last team in the Western Conference, the Lakers had to win two games as the underdogs to advance to the Conference Finals. In the first round, the Lakers dominated the No. 3 Oklahoma City Blue, 125-105. Four players scored 20-plus points, while Machado led the offense with 27 points and 14 assists. In the second round, the Lakers came out firing against the No. 2 Reno Bighorns, taking a 126-109 victory on the road. Payton II led with a dynamic line of 30 points, 13 boards, six assists and six steals, while Bryant dropped 33 points.

 

Players To Watch

Austin Spurs

Darrun Hilliard

Jaron Blossomgame

Jeff Ledbetter

South Bay Lakers

Alex Caruso

Gary Payton II

Scott Machado

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