The return of young stars Keldon Johnson and Josh Primo provided a much-needed lift to a previously struggling Spurs team as they defeated the Utah Jazz on the road 111-104 on Tuesday night.
Johnson scored 22 points and grabbed five rebounds in his debut and Primo scored 10 points in just 18 minutes to help the previously winless Spurs get their first victory of the preseason.
The pair had been held out of the first three preseason games as Johnson recovered from a dislocated shoulder and Primo from an MCL sprain.
The team jumped out to an early 39-26 advantage after the first quarter and was up 16 points at the half. The Spurs shot 48% from the field, making 11 threes in the game.
Devin Vassell paved the way for the Spurs, scoring a team-high 24 points on 10 of 15 shooting. Guard Tre Jones (13 points, 4 assists) and Romeo Langford (11 points in 14 minutes) rounded out the five players who scored in double digits.
Lauri Markkanen, a one-time potential free agent target of the Spurs, led the Jazz with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the loss and former Spurs veteran Rudy Gay had 8 points and 10 rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench.
Spurs exercise team option on Devin Vassell and Josh Primo
On Monday, the San Antonio Spurs announced they picked up their fourth-year team option on guard Devin Vassell and their third-year team option on Josh Primo for the 2023-2024 season.
Vassell, in his third year with the Spurs, appeared in 71 games last season averaging 12.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 27 minutes per game. He’s already led the team in scoring twice during the preseason.
Primo begins his sophomore season after appearing in 50 games last year, averaging 5.8 points. He’s expected to take a big leap this year. He was selected by San Antonio as the 12th overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft.