The San Antonio Spurs played their first competition since last month’s NBA Finals last evening in Las Vegas, defeating the Charlotte Bobcats’ summer league squad 69-68. Although the sleeved-jerseys the Spurs’ squad was wearing were quite ugly, they did make a lot of pretty looking plays in them.
The Spurs were led all night by third-year guard Cory Joseph. Joseph was great all game. He was aggressive all game long, slashing to the basket and finishing over taller defenders or drawing fouls. He finished the night with 19 points, including the game-winner, and five assists. Joseph has already shown glimpses of potential in his two years with the Spurs, even earning some valuable playoff minutes during this most recent Spurs’ playoff run. The Spurs are hoping Joseph continues to develop and can serve as a reliable back up to Tony Parker in the upcoming season.
Second-round pick DeShaun Thomas was the other main contributor to the Spurs attack last night, showing off his ability to score from anywhere on the court. This should come as no surprise, as Thomas was a prolific scorer on the collegiate level and was drafted because of one thing, his ability to score. He finished the night with 18 points on 7-13 shooting, and was 2-4 from the three and 2-2 from the line. This is likely the type of line we will see from Thomas throughout Summer League. There’s a good chance he ends up leading this Spurs’ summer league squad in scoring. If Thomas wants to make the Spurs roster, however, he will need to show improvement in other areas of his game, namely defense.
The Spurs led the Bobcats for almost the entire game, before Charlotte made a second-half run to make things close. This made for a fun finish; the Bobcats took the lead with about 13 seconds to go on a Jeffrey Taylor three-pointer. But as I said previously, Joseph hit what was the game winning mid-range jumper with four seconds to go to preserve the Spurs’ victory. The Spurs’ next Summer League opponent is the Toronto Raptors tomorrow evening.