Friday night the Legends got a chance to redeem themselves after their Tuesday night loss at the hands of the Santa Cruz Warriors, against the visiting South Bay Lakers. Unfortunately for Texas, it was more of the same. South Bay would cruise to a comfortable 125-112 victory handing the Legends their 2nd straight loss and dropping them under .500 at 3-4.
In what was a trend all night, the Lakers started off the game red hot. A productive first quarter by guards Vander Blue and Alex Carusso would push the Lakers out to an early 10 point lead. The trio of Motley, Dentmon, and Ashley would answer for Texas though, and eventually push them out in front. In a quarter where both teams shot the ball well, the Lakers were the team who finished the quarter strong, and would take a one point lead into the second period.
The Lakers would surge early in the second quarter and would never look back. They were led by the scoring output of Vander Blue, and the defensive impact of former Indiana big man, Thomas Bryant. Bryant would tally 3 blocks in the second quarter alone, and Blue would pace the Laker attack with 18 first half points. A 14 point second quarter explosion by V.J. Beacham would prove too much for the Legends to overcome, as he would help extend the Laker lead to 11 just before the half. Motley would lead the Legends with 10.
“He is a good competitor.” Motley said of his frontcourt counterpart Thomas Bryant.
“He has a lot of tools, length, can shoot the three ball, so it’s always good going against high skilled bigs, guys that can really play. I enjoy the challenge.”
The newest Maverick and two way contract holder Antonius Cleveland made his Legends debut in this contest as well. In what was a pedestrian performance according to him, he suspects better days are ahead.
“I think it was pretty good,” Cleveland said of his first experience in Frisco.
“I’m adjusting, trying to learn my personnel, and my teammates. Just getting familiar with everything right now, I feel like I could have played a lot better, but it’s just one stepping stone in trying to get better with a new program.”
The Lakers would pick right back up where they left off in quarter number three. Behind V.J. Beacham’s continued red-hot shooting, the Lakers rushed out to an early 17 point third quarter lead. Texas would respond though, answering with an 18-8 run of their own to bring the score to 95-87 Lakers, heading into the final frame.
Whatever momentum Texas might have had from their run to close the third quarter, clearly did not carry over. A quick 10-2 South Bay burst out of the fourth quarter chute, inspired by guard Scott Machado, would see the Laker lead swell to 16. After a timeout by coach Bob Mckinnon, the defensive intensity picked up, but Texas just couldn’t string together enough quality offensive possessions to put even a sizable dent in the Laker Lead. They would eventually run out of gas, and South Bay coasted to a victory.
South Bay shot 64% from the field and a blistering 54% from three. A lot of that had to do with V.J. Beacham, who finished with 30 on only 14 shots and was 8 of 10 from three. Journeyman guard Vander Blue also was an issue for Texas. He was effective and efficient, scoring 27 on 10-16 shooting. Big man Thomas Bryant pitched in his own double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while adding 3 blocks.
For the Legends, they were led by big man Johnathan Motley who put together a nice 29 point, 10 rebound double. Brandon Ashley joined the 20 point club as well, with 21 points of his own. The team’s leading scorer Justin Dentmon added 22 points, but was not as efficient as he might have liked, shooting 8 of 24 from the field, and 3-14 from beyond the arch.
The Legends will look to rebound Saturday night when they host the Salt Lake City Stars. You can catch the game live at Dr.Pepper Arena in Frisco. If you can’t make it out, you can watch the game via the G League mobile app, or through the team website, TexLegends.com. Tip-off is at 7:30 CST.
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