Camouflage towels decorated Dr Pepper Arena as the Texas Legends (12-14) celebrated military night to begin a five-game home stand. The Legends fell to the Austin Spurs, D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs (13-15), 113-97. The teams are currently going in opposite directions with the Legends having dropped four straight and the Spurs having won four in a row.
The team may have lost, but the organization picked up a win. The Legends partnered with Swypit.com to celebrate their seventh annual military night, benefiting The American Fallen Soldiers Project.
In an extremely emotional halftime ceremony, the team and artist Phil Taylor honored fallen hero and Naaman Forest High School graduate Matthew Shubzda with a portrait. Shubzda served as a Lieutenant in the Navy before his death in October of 2002.
Legends forward DeJuan Blair was moved by the tribute. “It was great,” Blair said. “For a great cause on military night. I’m glad all the kids had fun, all the vets. It was just good to see them.”
In front of 6,376 fans, Blair had 12 points and eight rebounds (three offensive) off the bench. Despite the recent hardship, there’s a light at the end of an approaching tunnel.
“We’re still getting there, we’re still getting the hang of things. We haven’t won since I’ve been here. We just gotta keep going, just keep playing. We’re gonna get better, we’re gonna get to learn each other a bit more. It’s gonna take some time but we’re alright.”
The Legends welcomed another former NBA star to the lineup in Ben Gordon. Playing for the first time since 2015, the 2005 NBA 6th Man of the Year is happy to be back.
“It felt great, man,” Gordon had 14 points. “First time playing in about 16 months; shaking the rust off, trying to work myself back into game shape. Felt good to see the ball go through a couple times. Even though I didn’t shoot a great percentage, play my best, it’s just great to be out there with the guys and doing what I love to do.”
Physically, Gordon feels fine and was inserted into the starting lineup in his first go-around with the Legends. “I feel great, man. Obviously working out and doing stuff on your own is different than playing in actual games. I’m glad coach threw me in the fire, let me get a feel for what it’s like again.”
Gordon played 36 minutes and had six rebounds and six assists. “I think with more time I’ll just continue to improve and get my game shape back and try to get better each game.”
Mavericks assignees Nicholas Brussino and A.J. Hammons each scored 19 points to lead the team. Hammons notched a double-double with 10 rebounds as well. He also had two blocks as did C.J. Williams who continued his hot shooting with 17 points.
All five starters scored in double figures for the Legends, who were down double digits early before making a run towards the end of the first half and into the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, the Spurs regained control to put the game away.
Texas committed only nine team turnovers with 27 assists for a clean 3:1 assist to turnover ratio. Kyle Collinsworth had eight of his own to lead the team in the category.
The home stand continues next Wednesday at 7 PM CT vs. the Los Angeles D-Fenders, affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers.