And they say no one cares about winning in the NBA Summer League.
The Washington Wizards and San Antonio Spurs were both trying to earn a spot in Sunday’s semifinals at the Thomas & Mack Center but they were competing as if it were the NBA Finals.
They needed three overtimes to settle the score and when it finally ended, it was the Wizards who had prevailed, 95-94. Glen Rice Jr. led Washington with 36 points and he kept the Wizards alive in the second OT when he nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner that beat the buzzer after the Spurs appeared to be home free.
Rice’s 36 points were the most by a player in a single game in this year’s summer league.
The Wizards appeared to be on their way to the semis, holding a 81-76 lead with 1:11 left in regulation. But a three-point play by Bryce Cotton pulled San Antonio within 81-79 and Vander Blue’s jumper tied it at 81 as the game would go to overtime.
Each team only scored three points in the first OT. The Wizards again appeared to be in position to win, leading 84-82 with 29.4 seconds to go. But former UNR star Deonte Burton three up a brick of a 3-point try with the shot clock winding down and Austin Daye was fouled by Daniel Theis with 4.8 seconds left. Daye, who led the Spurs with 27 points, made both free throws to tie it at 84. The Wizards looked to Rice to win it but Kyle Anderson made a great defensive play to strip Rice of the ball as he was driving to the basket to keep things locked up
In the second OT, Anderson went from hero to goat as his jumper in the lane with 12.4 seconds to go put San Antonio ahead 90-87. Then Anderson inexplicably left Rice open alone in the left corner and Rice buried the 3-pointer as the buzzer was about to sound. The shot counted, the game was once again tied, this time at 90, and moved on to a third overtime.
A regulation regular-season NBA game lasts 48 minutes. This one went 46 (the summer league plays 40-minutes of regulation and two-minute overtime periods) and nearly made it to 48. But Otto Porter scored five of his 27 points in the third OT, the game-winner coming on a made free throw.
The Spurs had two final chances to win it but Jeff Ayres and Anderson both missed and the Wizards, who improved to 5-0 with the win, moved on to Sunday’s semifinals where they’ll face Sacramento at 5 p.m. San Antonio wrapped up Summer League play 4-2.
UNLV’s Khem Birch, who reportedly will be offered a spot at the Wizards’ fall camp, played 17 minutes, scored two points, had nine rebounds and committed four turnovers. Burton, who started for the first time in the summer league for Washington, had two points, two rebounds and three assists in 25 minutes.
In Sunday’s first semifinal at 3 p.m., Charlotte will face Houston. The Hornets defeated the New York Knicks, 82-79, while the Rockets downed the Atlanta Hawks, 78-71.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.