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Tre Jones leads Spurs to first Summer League victory in Las Vegas with 34 points, acrobatic game winner

The second-year standout finished with 34 points, 9 assists and 8 boards in the best Summer League game for any Spur this year.

SAN ANTONIO — With 19.5 seconds on the clock and the Spurs down a single point at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Tre Jones had already played one of the best games of his life.

His stat line showed 32 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds, but that wouldn't be enough if San Antonio was going to get their first win in six tries this summer. The ball went to Jones, who ran a pick and roll and got switched into a matchup with rookie Kai Jones. He understood the assignment.

"We were just trying to get a bucket," he said after the game. "It came down to the last play, and we're trying to just get our first win out here. We've been battling some close ones, so we had to finish one out. Try to get going in the right direction down here at Summer League. I tried to put pressure on the rim and finish that tough layup."

Pressuring the rim is something he's been spectacular at so far in three games, going from 16 points to 23 points to now, spoiler alert, 34. He crossed over on the 6'11" track star, who flipped his hips and jumped with him at the basket. The second-year Spur floated in the air, protected the ball until the defender's arms were out of the picture, and popped in the game winner to raucous applause.

Coach Mitch Johnson said it was simply a great player making a great play in a clutch moment.

"I think he imposed his will on the game, and I think that's what the best players do when their teams need it. He hit jumpers, got to the rim, pushed the ball got our team easy shots, defensively set the tone, got in there and mixed it up, got rebounds. It was a heck of an effort."

Acting as a head coach for the first time with the Spurs here in Summer League, he was happy for everybody on that bench who refused to give in to frustration and kept fighting until the final buzzer, and keeping things in perspective.

"Everyone in that huddle really, really wanted to win, but if I'm really being honest, I do understand the fact that we played three close games, the development that these guys are getting in late game situations, in important situations, is invaluable. If we played games like that every time and lost, it's much more valuable to our program than if we won every game by 30. It doesn't make me feel good, but it's the truth. For those guys, for the people in the huddle that have put time into this thing, it feels good to win, that's why you keep score. I'd be lying to say it was not a good feeling at the end when we were having more points than them."

Game recap

Fourth quarter:

The final period was a back and forth affair. Tre Jones started it for the Spurs by getting to his mid-range shot.

Kai Jones got up for another forceful dunk, this one on a putback.

The Tre Jones show continued, and late at the game he had a shot at a 30-point triple double. His scoring remained tops in the game as he attacked the rim, and he found Wieskamp in transition for his ninth assist.

With San Antonio down one in the final minute, Jones drove to the rim through contact and missed the shot badly. San Antonio challenged successfully, so they got the ball back with the shot clock off and 19.5 seconds left to make a basket for the win.

There was no doubt that the ball would find Tre Jones, who dribbled out the clock and ran pick and roll, getting a switch onto the much bigger Kai Jones. He crossed over, drove right created contact, went up with Jones, hung in the air, protected the ball, and somehow put it in for the lead.

There were 1.6 seconds left, and of course it was Jones who made the defensive play to seal the win. He finished with 34 points, 9 assists and 8 boards in the best Summer League game for any Spur this year.

Third quarter:

San Antonio’s complimentary players stood out to start the second half, as Robinson got his first points of Summer League on an alley-oop jam.

Jaylen Morris continued scoring at an impressive level, finishing the quarter with 17 points.

Wieskamp and Tre Jones ran Spain pick ab roll perfectly to get Jones into the paint for another layup. He went to the fourth with 24 points, and the Spurs leading 80-76.

Second quarter:

Jones continued his high level of play, driving to the cup and even going out of his comfort zone to hit a three.

Kai Jones, a 6’11” track star by way of UT Austin, showed why he was high on so many Spurs fans’ draft boards with a driving dunk that sent Nate Renfro flying.

Rookie Joe Wieskamp continued the best half of his pro career, blocking a shot by LiAngelo Ball, drilling shots, and finishing the half with 10 points.

Tre Jones looked like the best player on the floor for either team. His aggression, speed and craft allowed him to head to the locker room with 17 points, 5 assists and 3 boards.

Gelo Ball hit a desperation three at the buzzer, making it 54-51 at the break

First quarter:

The Summer Spurs got out to a solid start behind Tre Jones, who finished a tough layup and a tougher fadeaway jumper and dropped a few dimes as well in the first few minutes.

Jones hit rookie Joe Wieskamp on the wing, and he drained a pure three.

Justin Robinson, whose father famously also wore number 50 for the Spurs, got his first summer league action and blocked a pair of shots in the first quarter.

Kaleb Johnson, whose brother Keldon just won an Olympic gold medal, also got in the game.

Malik Newman continued his impressive Summer League run, leading all scorers with 7 points after the first. San Antonio led 23-18 after one.

Preview

The San Antonio Spurs are getting ready for their third Summer League contest in Las Vegas, and though the results aren't nearly as important as the process, the players and coaches would certainly like to get their first win against the Charlotte Hornets.

The Hornets roster is headlined by James Bouknight, the rookie guard who slipped out of the top ten and went a pick before the Spurs selected Josh Primo in the draft just a few weeks ago.

Plenty of Spurs fans were high on explosive UT Austin big man Kai Jones, and he wasn't picked until 19 when the Hornets got the pick in a trade with the Knicks. The high-flying track star has already put down one of the most filthy dunks of the entire tournament, the kind of basketball violence that gets the people out of their seats. The poster was impressive enough, but he did it off a pump fake from the arc, which is a great sign for his development as a player.

Jones is averaging 7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1.5 combined steals and blocks per game in his first two contests in Vegas, 0-3 shooting from deep.

As for the Spurs, rookie Josh Primo was held out of San Antonio's previous game, and Devin Vassell left that loss to the Bulls with hamstring tightness in the first half. Coach Mitch Johnson said that both appeared to be minor, and were being held out because the risk of them playing does not outweigh the reward.

RELATED: RECAP: Spurs drop NBA Summer League matchup against Bulls, 92-89

Tre Jones is looking to build on two solid performances here after missing all of the games in Utah. The second-round pick is showing the poise of a second-year player, a young veteran in this context and a guy who has been leading this Spurs team with his two-way aggression and his voice in the huddle.

Rookie second-rounder Joe Wieskamp had his best game of Summer League play so far in the loss to the Bulls, drilling a few threes and drawing a foul on another attempt from behind the arc. His percentage in his first few games as a pro isn't anywhere near the 46% he shot last year at Iowa, but his off-ball movement creates problems for defenses and his high release is hard to bother.

For more on those four players, check out a very special mailbag episode of the Big Fundamental Podcast where plenty of fan questions were asked and answered from here in Las Vegas.

This story will be updated with the latest information and highlights from the game, which starts at 2 p.m. central. Follow @RealTomPetrini on twitter for the latest on your San Antonio Spurs.

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