The Wizards made things very clear before heading to Las Vegas: Otto Porter and Glen Rice Jr. were their summer league headliners. With Washington in trouble early and late, the second-year players produced show-stopping performances
Rice had 36 points including a dramatic buzzer-beating 3-pointer to force a third overtime, and Otto Porter scored all five of Washington's points in the final period as the Wizards outlasted the Spurs 95-94 in triple-overtime.
Porter finished with 27 points for the Wizards (5-0), who advance to Sunday's semifinal versus the Sacramento Kings with tipoff at 8:00 p.m. ET. Rice made 6 of 10 three-pointers. grabbed 11 rebounds and had four steals
Summer league games as a whole are rarely memorable. Nobody told that to the Wizards and Spurs, who played an instant classic whether this game is re-aired or not. The late game intensity, legitimate. The play calling from Washington's sideline, stellar. The play making, even better.
Redemption is a beautiful thing. Though he already had 33 points, Rice was headed down the goat path - as much as such things in summer league exist - because he missed two free throws late in the second overtime with Washington down a point. After the Spurs pushed the lead to three, Rice showed he knows how to keep his head in the game and the guts to win it (or in this case, force another period).
The John Wall-Bradley Beal approved 3-point shot from the left corner came off a great play design and a pass execution by forward Jamil Wilson, who also had a key block with two seconds left in the third session.
Porter's game screams diversity because of his ability to help in many areas. He certainly displayed a wide variety of scoring plays versus San Antonio.
Twice he beat the shot clock from outside including a catch-and-shoot 3-pointer. On another possession, he circled back after finding no room baseline and drained a lengthy and extremely high-arching fadeaway jumper. His final basket in the final overtime started with a left-handed drive and ended with a right-handed layup.
The two stars also had big plays defensively, including a key double-team trap by Rice to force Austin Daye into a missed shot with the score tied during the extra sessions.
Perhaps Porter's best defensive play came in the first half. Kyle Anderson, San Antonio's first round pick, attempted to drive down the right side of the line when Porter came from behind for the block. With the ball heading out of bounds, Porter smartly took the ball and threw it off Anderson.
- All of the late-game heroics were made possible because of an early rally. The Wizards started the game like a group that had been in Las Vegas far too long and trailed 47-30 in the second quarter. Following a timeout called by summer league head coach Sam Cassell, the switches flipped and Washington dominated with a 26-4 run that finished in the third quarter.
- Though he clearly needs more strength and dash more aggression, Porter attempted a summer-league high seven free throws.
- UNLV product Khem Birch received most of the big man accolades throughout the event. He did grab nine rebounds in 17 minutes versus the Spurs. He was also overshadowed on this night by Daniel Theis (10 points, eight rebounds, five blocks) and eventually Wilson. Theis previously flashed his rim protecting skills, but he also displayed some quality low-post work and deft passing skills. In most other years, any or perhaps all three would receive training camp invites with a possible shot at making the final roster. Now that the Wizards have six interior options under contract, that "shot" is a long one.
- Daye led the Spurs with 26 points and rookie Bryce Cotton had 16.