ORLANDO, Fla. — The Salt Lake City Stars, the official NBA G League affiliate of the Utah Jazz, fell to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 97-88 on Sunday afternoon. The loss eliminated the Stars from playoff contention for the 2021 NBA G League Season.
The Stars and Vipers played a tight first half that featured six lead changes and seven ties. Rio Grande Valley led 23-21 after the first quarter thanks to 16 points from Kevin Porter Jr. The Stars took the lead back going into the half 44-42, thanks to a balanced scoring effort that saw nine players score between three and seven points in the first 24 minutes.
Cold shooting would sink the Stars in the second half as they shot 4-of-23 from 3-point range and 38.3% overall after the break. The Vipers outscored Salt Lake City 27-15 in the third quarter and led by as much as 17 in the fourth quarter. The Stars would not go quietly as they put together a 15-2 run to cut the deficit to 83-79 with just over four minutes remaining, but Armoni Brooks would score seven points in the final two minutes to seal the victory for the Vipers.
Elijah Hughes led the way for Salt Lake City scoring 17 points, with 14 coming in the final quarter as the Stars mounted a late comeback. Malcolm Miller continued a streak of hot shooting games, scoring 12 points with 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc. Dallas Mavericks two-way player Tyler Bey finished just shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine rebounds.
Porter Jr. led all scorers with 26 points to go with eight rebounds and three assists for the Vipers. Brooks finished with 15 points. Dewan Hernandez recorded a double-double off the bench with 14 points and 10 rebounds in just 18 minutes of play.