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Beachcombings: Sea Dubs Continue Quest for Playoff Spot

Get the inside scoop on all things Santa Cruz Warriors and G League from play-by-play announcer Kevin Danna:

1. Last week’s split in Surf City
The Santa Cruz Warriors split a pair of games loaded with playoff implications last week at home, edging out the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario 92-90 before coming out on the short end of a 110-105 decision to the Stockton Kings that dropped the Sea Dubs a game behind Stockton for first place in the Pacific Division.

Watching the two games, you’d think the results should have been flipped. Santa Cruz probably should have lost to Agua Caliente and probably should have defeated Stockton had a couple of things gone just a bit differently. For example, you wouldn’t expect Santa Cruz to be able to hold Agua Caliente to just 14 points over the last 17 minutes of the game and just 11 points in the fourth quarter. Similarly, you wouldn’t expect to shoot 51 percent, hold Stockton to 40 percent from the field, and still lose. It was probably a just 1-1, just not the way you think it’d play out.

The Sea Dubs are now 19-17 with 14 games to play, now 1.5 games behind the 21-16 Stockton Kings after they blasted the Salt Lake City Stars Monday night. They are currently holding down the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference, a game ahead of the “cut line” to make the playoffs (again, the top six in each conference make the postseason).

One other interesting note from the Agua Caliente game – Thursday’s 92-90 win over the Clippers was just the second time all season that Santa Cruz played in a game where both teams scored under 100 points. In Santa Cruz’s first season in the G League – just seven years ago in 2012-13 – there were 17 such games where both Santa Cruz and its opponent failed to hit triple digits.

2. More new faces
Saturday’s loss to Stockton featured the Sea Dub debuts for former Golden State Warrior Zach Norvell Jr. and Alex Robinson, making them the 21st and 22nd players to suit up for the Santa Cruz Warriors this season.

You might be a bit familiar with Norvell, who appeared in three games with Golden State on a 10-day contract. Santa Cruz got his G League rights in a trade with the South Bay Lakers, giving up the returning rights to Juan Toscano-Anderson and a 2020 first-round pick in return.

Here’s where things can get a bit screwy – as long as Juan is on an NBA contract with the Golden State Warriors, he would still play in the G League with Santa Cruz if Golden State ever decided to assign him (merely a hypothetical – the way Juan is playing, he isn’t getting assigned anytime soon). If Juan were ever to return to the G League on a G League contract/as an NBA free agent, he would play for South Bay (Santa Cruz could always trade back for his rights, and returning rights are shipped around like hot potatoes in the G League).

But back to Norvell. He provides the Sea Dubs with another perimeter shooter and the size to defend wings on the perimeter. And he also has a connection to Jeremy Pargo – not only are they both from Chicago, and not only did they both go to Gonzaga, and not only were they both on 10-day contracts with Golden State at the same time, but there’s a family tie as well, as Pargo is the godbrother of Norvell’s stepdad.

Alex Robinson, meanwhile, made his way to Santa Cruz via Canton, where he served mostly as a backup point guard. He gives the Sea Dubs depth at the “1” and is seen as more of a true point guard in the sense that he’s a pass-first kinda guy. He averaged 6.3 assists per game over his 3-year stint at TCU after transferring from Texas A&M, so he really knows how to distribute the rock.

3. Deyonta doin’ work
It was around this time last year where Deyonta Davis really turned up his production for Santa Cruz, and it led to him getting called up to the Atlanta Hawks.

This year is really starting to look like more of the same. Davis went for 18 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday’s loss to Stockton, giving him his sixth consecutive double-double (he has 10 for the season). Over that six-game stretch, he is averaging 19.3 points, 12 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 75 percent (52-for-69) from the floor. For the season, Davis has upped his averages to 10.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks on 67% shooting from the floor.

Simply put, he’s been incredible, and if he continues to play this way, he won’t be finishing the season with Santa Cruz.

4. What’s next
It’s a three-game week for the Sea Dubs, who head down to SoCal to face the South Bay Lakers Wednesday night at the UCLA Health Training Center (aka the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility). Santa Cruz has lost five straight games there, including a 128-124 loss earlier this season. It will also be a Zach Norvell Jr. revenge game, as Norvell started the season on a two-way contract with Los Angeles and South Bay.

Then the Sea Dubs come back home for a back-to-back against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Friday and Austin Spurs on Saturday.

The Wednesday and Friday games will be on NBC Sports Bay Area, while Saturday’s game will move over to NBC Sports Bay Area PLUS with Golden State taking on the Phoenix Suns that night. Don’t miss the action as the Sea Dubs continue their quest to nab a playoff spot.

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