South Bay Lakers Clinch Playoff Berth with Dominant Home Victory Over Austin

By Christopher McGean | March 26, 2022

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Energized from the opening tipoff, the South Bay Lakers (18-10), the G League affiliate of the Los Angeles Lakers, clinched a spot in the 2021-22 NBA G League Playoffs as they took down the Austin Spurs (13-16), 124-101, on Friday night at the UCLA Health Training Center.

Led by first-year head coach Miles Simon, South Bay will be returning to the playoffs for the first time since the 2017-18 season. The Lakers currently hold an 18-10 record and are in third place in the Western Conference with four games left to play in the regular season.

The top two teams with the highest winning percentage in each conference earn a first-round bye, and the top four teams in each conference guarantee themselves a home playoff game. The playoffs will begin on April 5, 2022, with a single-elimination format until the NBA G League Finals, which is a best-of-three series played in the participating teams’ home arenas.

Needing a win tonight to clinch the playoffs, South Bay came out strong. Nate Pierre-Louis knocked down a pair of three pointers early on to help the Lakers jump out to a quick 13-4 lead. South Bay shot 71% from the floor in the opening frame and finished the quarter with a hefty advantage, 38-21.

The Lakers continued to put the pressure on the Spurs the rest of the half, extending their lead to as many as 25 points midway through the second quarter. Pierre-Louis, Mason Jones, Mac McClung and Tremont Waters all posted 13 points in the first half, and South Bay took a commanding lead into the break, 70-51.

Austin did not go down without a fight, starting the second half on a 21-10 run to cut South Bay’s lead to just eight points. Every time the Spurs staged a comeback, however, the Lakers were able to fight back and maintain a double-digit lead for most of the game. South Bay closed out the victory in convincing fashion, 124-101, and the team officially clinched a spot in the 2021-22 G League Playoffs.

Lakers two-way guard Mason Jones, currently ranked fourth in the G League in points per game with 25.9, led the way for South Bay tonight, dropping 30 points on 12-15 field-goal shooting to go with a career-high seven steals. Fellow starters McClung and Pierre-Louis finished with 19 points apiece, and 11-year NBA veteran Darren Collison, making his South Bay debut after being acquired by the team on Thursday, contributed with 12 points and four assists off the bench.

Spurs two-way guard DJ Stewart paced the away team with 21 points on 8-12 field-goal shooting. Former South Bay Laker and current Austin Spurs starting guard Devontae Cacok tallied 15 points and nine rebounds, and Galen Robinson Jr. added 12 points off the bench.

South Bay will return to the floor Sunday night as they take on the Agua Caliente Clippers, the G League affiliate of the LA Clippers, at 5:00 P.M. PT at the UCLA Health Training Center.