Spurs Roll in Last-Second Layup to Defeat Hornets in Summer League

Bouknight Scores 23 PTS, Carey Adds 19 PTS; Charlotte’s Offense Finds Rhythm in Loss
by Sam Perley

More Coverage: Game Action Gallery | Coach Dutch Gaitley Postgame | James Bouknight Postgame | Vernon Carey Jr. Postgame

A well-defended, game-winning basket by the San Antonio Spurs in the closing seconds put a mild damper on the Hornets’ finest performance of the 2021 NBA Summer League thus far, which resulted in a 106-105 defeat on Thursday afternoon at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas.

Rookie guard James Bouknight bounced back from a shaky outing on Monday night to finish with a team-high 23 points, four rebounds and eight assists, looking quite impressive at times as the Hornets’ lead ball-handler. Vernon Carey Jr. tallied 19 points and eight rebounds – five offensive – after sitting out the previous contest.

San Antonio opened the third quarter on a 7-0 run, causing its three-point halftime advantage to swell to double figures. Charlotte went on an 11-2 stretch later in the frame and entered the fourth down by just four. Later in the final minute, the Hornets would pull ahead, 105-104, following a crafty Bouknight layup with just 32 seconds remaining.

At the other end, Charlotte got a stop, a defensive rebound and then drew a foul, only to have it controversially overturned on a San Antonio challenge. Given a second chance, Spurs guard Tre Jones drove from the top of the key, narrowly avoided Kai Jones’ outstretched arms and swirled in an acrobatic go-ahead layup. The Hornets failed to get a shot off at the other end and the Spurs walked away with a one-point win.

“You’re always disappointed when you lose. You want to win every game,” said Hornets Summer League Head Coach Dutch Gaitley afterwards. “Our guys battled so hard. I am so thrilled we had 26 assists. I told the guys for our team in Charlotte, we want 30 assists for every game. We do that, we feel like we have a good offensive game. [Assists] were a big-time emphasis the last two games. I’m very pleased with Bouknight [having eight assists and zero turnovers] – that’s big-time growth.”

Grant Riller racked up 13 points and seven assists, JT Thor added 10 points and five rebounds and fellow big man Kai Jones chipped in another 10 points and five rebounds. And after committing a staggering 48 turnovers over its opening two Summer League outings, Charlotte was much improved in the ball security department, finishing with a slim 12 giveaways.

Jones – Carey’s former Duke teammate – led San Antonio with a game-high 34 points, eight rebounds and nine assists in the near-triple-double performance. Jaylen Morris (20 points), Joe Wieskamp (17), DaQuan Jeffries (13) and Malik Newman (10) also scored in double figures for the Spurs, who moved to 1-2 in Summer League play.

The Hornets will next face the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, Aug. 14 beginning at 7 PM EDT at Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, NV. Watch all the action on NBATV.

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