Roughly 72 hours prior to Saturday night’s electric affair against the Sioux Falls Skyforce (23-16), D-League affiliate of the Miami Heat, the Texas Legends (17-19) set a new season high with 135 points. This came just one game after scoring what was then the high watermark of 133.
Well on Saturday they blew the doors open. The Legends scored a whopping 145 points as the team shot a scorching 60 percent (53-of-88) from the field. They also made 12-of-24 three’s for a clean 50 percent. After “just” 28 first quarter points, the good guys tallied quarterly totals of 40, 36 and 41. Ben Gordon missed just one of 13 shots and finished with a season-high 34 points in his 11th game with the team.
Manny Harris followed up his monster triple-double Friday night (27 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, four steals and a block) with 21 points. Jameel Warneyadded his fourth straight game of 20 or more points and second 30-pointer with a season-high 35. A popular night for new impressions, Pierre Jackson tied his top assist total with 13 and was also +27 in his 39 minutes.
Keith Hornsby saw an extended run with 24 minutes and rewarded Coach Bob MacKinnon with his first double-digit scoring show of the season. He finished with 13 points and also broke 20 minutes for the first time this year.
“I had no idea,” says the former LSU Tiger Hornsby. “They didn’t give me any indication that this would occur. But all they would ever tell me throughout these last couple games is to be ready and all you really can tell a guy in my position. So I tried to be. On a back-to-back, a lot of starters played a ton of minutes the night before, I kind of had an idea that this might be an opportunity for me and sure enough he put me in early and that was it.”
The Legends drafted Hornsby in the first round (ninth overall) of the 2016 D-League Draft and know they have a high upside prospect in development.
“It’s a tough job waiting a while to come in off the bench and then having to perform at a very high level just to stay in the game. I’ve always been motivated, I’ve kept my dedication to the game at a high level which prepared me for when I do get in, such as tonight. Even though I didn’t play the last two games at all, I was still working out hard.”
“Nothing’s worse than getting in and not being ready.”
The Legends are no stranger to high-scoring games, having scored 120 or more points 15 times so far in the 2016-2017 season. Even Marv Albert would have been jealous of the absolute fire on display. Hornsby shot a very efficient 5-for-7 and sometimes shooting is simply contagious.
“Of course. Especially coming off a disappointing game. How many points did we score? 145? (laughs) It’s not like Sioux Falls wasn’t playing defense. They were trying to guard, we were just hitting almost everything. It’s very contagious. It kind of makes everyone’s job a little bit easier. If multiple teammates are hot, you don’t have to force anything and that’s when we’re at our best.”
The Legends are not even halfway through their season-long eight game homestand, an experience that Hornsby and teammates are sharing for the first time.
“Man, I saw it on the schedule at the beginning of the year. I kind of surfed through and saw like ‘wow, eight straight home games? That’s a new one for me.’ Just coming out of college you never have that. We’re three down, five to go over the course of the next few weeks. I think everybody likes it. I mean it’s a great place to play. We like being home.”