A buzzer-beater by Shannon Scott pushed the Spurs to a close win over the Celtics, 95-93. It was a crazy ending that saw Kyle Anderson miss two free throws that would have iced the game and the Celtics' Terry Rozier connect on a fade away corner three-pointer to tie it with 2.5 seconds left. The Spurs had trouble inbounding but Scott was able to receive the pass, take a couple of dribbles and launch a long floater that hit nothing but net just as time was expiring. With the win the Spurs moved to the semifinals of the Las Vegas Summer League.
The game was close for the entire first half, with the two teams going on runs that would then be answered. Jonathon Simmons and Kyle Anderson carried the Spurs on offense while R.J. Hunter paced the Celtics from the perimeter and Jordan Mickey provided inside scoring. Both teams showed their ability to lock down on defense for stretches but neither squad was consistent enough to create distance. Going into the break the score was Celtics 45, Spurs 44.
The Summer Spurs went on a big 16-2 run to start the second half and got a double digit lead that would reach 14 points at its apex. Unfortunately they didn't put the game away for good, allowing the Celtics to hang around thanks to bad misses that would result in transition buckets.
Despite not managing the lead well, San Antonio seemed in control until the last minute of the game. A fadeaway jumper by Anderson put the Spurs up seven with 58 seconds to go. That's when both teams started trading mistakes.
After a tip in by Terry Rozier with 42 seconds to go, Simmons went for a quick shot instead of milking the clock. Hunter scored a layup in transition after the miss to get the Celtics down only three. Anderson got the ball with 18 seconds to go and dribbled the clock all the way down to seven seconds before cleverly drawing a foul. The Spurs inbounded to Anderson who was immediately fouled but missed both free throws. Rozier made a ridiculous three-pointer after the timeout and it looked like we were going to overtime.
Fortunately, this happened next.
Kyle Anderson said it best:
Steak dinner for Shannon Scott! He bailed me out hahaha great team win tho!! Having fun playing with these guys.— SLOWMO (@KyleAnderson5) julio 18, 2015
- Kyle Anderson continues to show feathery touch on his floater and the ability to make contested shots from mid-range. He's not as effective close to the rim and from beyond the arc and that might be a problem in terms of fit with the Spurs. He doesn't pull the trigger quickly on spot up threes or goes all the way to the rim when the seams are there, preferring to set things up with his dribble. The results, to be fair, have been fantastic and suggest he might be able to contribute while playing his way. The challenge will be to find him the half court touches he needs.
- Simmons is a keeper. I don't know if he will get much playing time next season with the big team but it's a good thing the Spurs locked him down. His ability to get to the rim and run pick and rolls in a pinch is a huge asset and while he's not getting to show it in his current role, his past numbers show he's a good spot up three-point shooter. The Spurs just keep finding these guys that come out of nowhere and look like legitimate NBA players.
- Scott hit that crazy shot and plays good defense but it's hard to see him getting a spot in an NBA roster. The same goes for Will Cherry, the other point guard the Spurs tried in Vegas. They haven't really gotten a chance to run the team since Anderson and Simmons handle the ball a lot but they don't look ready to contribute now. It's reassuring to know that Ray McCallum will be the third point guard.
- Cady Lalanne shows flashes of potential. Because the Summer Spurs often go small he doesn't get to play a lot but he can board, block shots and sometimes hit jumpers. He's terrible at finishing inside right now and alternates good defensive possessions with bad ones, but he has good instincts. Hopefully he will get a camp invite and be allocated in Austin.
- The same goes for Jarrell Eddie and Traveon Graham. Eddie tends to disappear for long stretches and is not a plus defender but his release is so quick that he might make the league on his shooting alone. Graham does a little bit of everything and is just 21 years old. Neither guy will make the Spurs' roster soon but it would be good to keep an eye on both.
- I didn't think a player could have too much energy but Brandon Davies proved that it's possible. Davies has some nice tools but he's all over the place, trying to do too much. Find your strengths and play to them, Brandon.
- The Celtics didn't have the draft night they were hoping for but picked some nice players. Rozier needs to learn how to be a point guard and finish inside but has great physical tools while R.J. Hunter has incredible range and hits really tough shots. Mickey is undersized but has great shot-blocking timing. Those guys won't be stars but could have long careers. There's talent in Boston.
The Spurs squeaked past the Celtics and will play the Hawks in the semifinals on Sunday.