It’s not really a series, but the Texas Legends and Santa Cruz Warriors are playing an unconventional back-to-back at the same time and same place. Teams often have home-and-home mini “series” with teams, but rarely do two nights look identical save for a turned page on the calendar.
In the first of two at Santa Cruz, the Legends (6-6) squeaked out a 104-102 nailbiter against the Warriors (8-2). The Warriors have lost two straight after an 8-0 start. They were the final undefeated team in the G League to begin the 2018-2019 season.
But Friday night, and this article, and life itself, is all about the Legends.
Texas snapped a two-game skid by winning the third game of their season-long four-game road trip. Daryl Macon led the way with 22 points by making 8-of-13 field goals and 3-of-4 from three. He had eight assists, his fourth straight game with at least seven, and is averaging 8.3 per game in those four contests.
Jameel Warney bullied his way to 21 points, his highest total since November 9th. Like his point guard Macon, the decorated third-year player was efficient from the field, shooting a near-identical 8-of-14. He also tied a season-high with five assists and continues to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis.
“I’m just trying to put it all together,” Warney said about his constant progression. “I’m still working on when to shoot 3’s, when not to shoot 3’s. When to play in the paint, when to just let the game come to me. I worked on shooting 3’s last year and I’m trying to take it to another notch this year. I’m just trying to balance everything.”
Ray Spalding had a double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, par for the course for the Mavericks draft pick. He has four straight double-doubles since returning from injury, five in six games and had three more blocks to up his season average to 1.8 a night.
Off the bench, Rashad Vaughn struggled with his shot but still managed 13 points. After missing one game with injury, Kostas Antetokounmpo had 11 rebounds and two blocks and was a game-best plus-14. Vaughn’s plus-11 was second.
Donte Ingram started and had season-high’s in points (nine) and minutes (25), a game after scoring a previous best eight points. Josh Newkirk also had nine, his best for the early year.
The Legends missed 11 free throws, but made 19 and continue to make frequent donations at the charity stripe. Two late ones from Macon were the difference, the Legends following his free throws with a defensive stop to win the game where Santa Cruz barely even got a game-winning attempt off.
As a team, the Legends are among the league’s elite in free throw attempts and makes. Warney made four more for himself in the win and helps lead the way.
“We’re an aggressive bunch. We try to get to the line when our shots aren’t falling. That’s what we try to do and that’s what I strive for.”
The teams are right back at it Saturday night at the same time, 9 PM CT, and same place. It’s unusual, but not unheard of. In fact, Jameel Warney’s done it before.
“My rookie year we did the exact same thing against Santa Cruz. It’s a funky way to schedule a back-to-back, but hey, it is what it is. That’s the G League.”