Spurs miss out on playoffs after rollercoaster season


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A rollercoaster season ended on a sour note for the Spurs. 

Austin ended the year with a 136-120 loss to the Sioux Falls Skyforce last Saturday and missed the playoffs for just the third time since the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs acquired the team and made them their D-League affiliate in 2007. 

Saturday’s high-scoring affair saw seven Spurs score in double figures, led by Jeff Ledbetter with 29 points on five 3-pointers while Orlando Johnson scored 25 and Patricio Garino chipped in with 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds. 

The Spurs dug themselves a hole when they trailed by 16 after the first quarter. But they rallied to make it an 11-point game at the half and cute lead to as few as four points with a huge run early in the third quarter. 

Sioux Falls responded with a run of their own and made it a double digit game again after the period. The Skyforce outscored the Spurs 

Despite traveling between Austin and San Antonio regularly throughout the season, Bryn Forbes and Dejounte Murray were the top two scorers on the team. Forbes averaged 23.4 points in 19 games, while Murray had 17.2 in 15 contests. 

Forbes, Murray and Davis Bertrans started the first game of the season for Austin and have played more than 30 games for the parent club. While their role on the court for San Antonio has been minimal, they’re better players thanks to their time in the D-League.

The most potent full-time Austin player was Corey Jefferson, the Spurs’ lone selection to the all-star game. The former Baylor star was acquired by the Spurs early in the season and averaged 15.8 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds in 42 appearances. 

Head coach Ken McDonald spoke before the season and said it’d be nice to win the second title in franchise history, but it’s just as well for the players to progress and move to the next level. 

Of the 34 players called up to the NBA from D-League contracts, three have ties to Austin.

Most recently, Garino was signed by the Orlando Magic on Monday. He played in 46 games for Austin this season and averaged 11.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 1.49 steals per game and hit 43 percent of his 3-pointers.

Jarell Eddie played for the Spurs 25 times in his second stint with the club and averaged 11.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. He was traded to the Windy City Bulls before singing a pair of 10-day contracts with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. 

Hollis Thompson, who came to Austin in the deal with Windy City, joined the New Orleans Pelicans in late February and signed two 10-day contracts, but returned to the Spurs late last month.