Davis Bertrans, Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes learned they’d be joining the Austin Spurs beat Saturday night. Less than 24 hours later, they were starting in the regular season opener.
Bertrans led the way with 22 points on six 3-pointers with six rebounds and Murray scored 18 points, dished out seven assists and grabbed six rebounds in Austin’s 118-95 loss to the Oklahoma City Blue Saturday night.
“We just have to understand the process,” Spurs head coach Ken McDonald said. “The assignments get great experience coming from San Antonio. We didn’t play well really at many positions at all. We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and learn from them going into Tuesday.”
Oklahoma City had six players in double figures, led by Dayton graduate Chris Wright, and shot 55 percent from the floor. Former Spurs guard Reggie Williams scored 18 points for the Blue and played a team-high 36 minutes.
Forbes finished with seven points and three rebounds. Patricio Garino scored 18 points and four rebounds, Cheick Diallo added nine points while Demitri McCamey and Livio Jean-Charles each scored six points off the bench.
All of Bertrans’ points came in the first half. He made his first three triples of the game and helped Austin get out to a lead with five minutes left in the first quarter. But the Blue needed the quarter on a 16-8 run to take a lead they wouldn’t give up.
“I just saw my looks and open shots and knocked them down,” Bertrans said. “(San Antonio) coach (Gregg) Popovich wanted us to play the San Antonio style of basketball here. It’s a good opportunity to come here and get some minutes in and play.”
Oklahoma City continued to roll in the second quarter, going on a 15-5 run to push its lead to 16 points at the half.
Austin made a few runs in the second half and cut the lead to as few as 11 points. Murray, San Antonio’s first round pick in 2016, scored 11 points on 4 of 5 shooting and played the entire fourth quarter.
“I just tried to be aggressive and do what coach Popovich wants to see, which is get teammates the ball and be vocal,” Murray said. “This is our first time playing with this team and this was their first game of the season. We’re all trying to get used to each other.”
The Spurs’ offense was shut down after the break and they turned the ball over 23 times, with Murray and Garino combining for 12 of them.
“Every time we got close we turned it over or took a tough shot,” McDonald said. “We knew OKC was going to play physical. In their first game, they turned the ball over and they came back today and adjusted. That’s what we need to do.”
The Spurs play their next three games at home, beginning with an 11 a.m. tip against the Reno Bighorns on Tuesday. They host the Bighorns again at 7:30 p.m. Thursday night before taking on Erie Bayhawks Saturday at 7 p.m.
There’s no telling when or if the players that joined the team Sunday will return to San Antonio or another team around the league. But for McDonald, this is a learning environment and every player is just working to get better.
“The speed of recovery at this level is fast,” he said. “Bryn Forbes is working on his game. He didn’t get too many clean looks and he has to do his work early. OKC passed the ball so much cleaner. We’ve got to get better as a group at passing.”