On Friday night, the Texas Legends held the visiting Austin Spurs to just 35 points in the first half, setting the stage for a win. On Saturday, they put on their defensive shoes on in the second half against the Delaware Blue Coats.
The Legends (8-11) limited the Blue Coats (6-10) to just 31 points after halftime, coasting to a 110-95 result and their second consecutive win.
They say defense wins championships, and Legends coach Bob MacKinnon says it’s helped the team win back-to-back games.
“I think in the spots where we’re playing well, our focus and intensity on defense and attention to detail, has been much better. I think in the first three quarters against Austin, and the second half tonight, I thought we executed our defensive game plan as well as we have all season.”
Daryl Macon scored 23 points to lead Texas, also dishing out eight assists. He has eight or more in three of his last six games, and is starting to become a commanding presence at the head of the Legends’ offensive attack.
New Orleans Pelicans assignee Kenrich Williams entered the starting lineup and provided 19 points with nine rebounds (four offensive). Keith Hornsby also re-entered the first unit and had 11 points. Both players also had a pair of steals.
Like Williams, the Legends have a couple of other new, recent additions. In his third game with the team, Trahson Burrell had nine points, seven rebounds and five assists. In game number two, CJ Leslie followed his 14-point debut with another double-figure showing at 10.
New faces have integrated seamlessly into MacKinnon’s gameplan during his three years with the Legends. He laughs at the notion that it has anything to do with him.
“They’re good players. They deserve the credit, not me.
“We try to keep it simple and give them things to do that they’ve done in the past wherever they’ve been. Our main thing is, we just want them to play hard and play with effort. I don’t want them thinking too much, just playing.”
Ray Spalding returned after a one game absence and had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench. He also blocked a game-high three shots, tying for the lead with Delaware’s Cory Jefferson, who you’ll remember from the Legends last season.
G League rookie Josh Newkirk has flashed serious promise through 19 games, and registered a season and career-best 10 points in the win.
Three Legends players made at least five trips to the free throw line, the team connecting on 19, and the Legends remain a top 10 G League team in both free throw makes and attempts.
Texas held the Philadelphia 76ers affiliate to just 40 percent shooting (35-87) from the field and 22 percent (10-46) from three. Allowing 31 points in a half, especially after doing the same thing at 35 points the 24 hours prior, is not a common occurrence in the high-paced, offensively-fueled G League.
After stringing together a pair of wins, it’s officially time for the G League Showcase. For the first time, Showcase will take place in December and in Las Vegas, as opposed to usually happening in January and last year took place in Toronto.
Scouts from all NBA teams, international organizations and pretty much every basketball association will be on hand for the 4-day extravaganza.
Like every other team, the Legends will have two games, a “home” and a “road” contest. First, they are the visitors in a matchup with the Erie Bayhawks (7-7), affiliate of the Atlanta Hawks, on Wednesday, December 19 at 7 PM CT.
Next is a “home” game against Raptors 905 (12-5), Toronto’s affiliate, on Friday, December 21 at 7 PM CT. Both games will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU.