Vipers fall to 1-2 after second straight home loss

Rio Grande Valley Vipers' Sindarius Thornwell (4) and Santa Cruz Warriors' D.J. Johnson (93) battle for the ball near the basket in a NBA G League game on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2019, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmatinez@themonitor.com)

EDINBURG — Visibly frustrated, RGV Vipers head coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah yelled “no foul,” questioning why officials overturned a foul in favor of the Santa Cruz Warriors midway through the fourth quarter Tuesday night.

Rio Grande Valley Vipers head coach Mahmoud Abdelfattah gives direction in a NBA G League game against Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmatinez@themonitor.com)

“Come on! God Bless! Help a brother out!” Abdelfattah shouted.

Help, he did not get.

Soon after, the Warriors’ Jeremy Pargo drained another 3-pointer, extending Santa Cruz’s lead to seven points with 6:14 left in the game.

Pargo went on to drain two more 3s, adding to his 32 points on the night, as the Warriors defeated the Vipers 122-112 to improve to 2-1 on the season.

Vipers center Isaiah Hartenstein earned himself a double-double with 26 points and 15 rebounds, but he felt there is still room for improvement as the Vipers fell to 1-2 to start the year after back-to-back home losses.

“It’s just something I have to do,” Hartenstein said about his play. “I think I did a really bad job in the first half of rebounding, but I think I stepped it up in the second half. To me, it’s just one thing I have to do. Get rebounds and just score when we get the ball.”

Overall, the Vipers shot 47.7% with help from Chris Clemons, who scored 24 points in his first outing with the Vipers.

“We’re having way too many turnovers in every game we’ve played so far. This game, in the first half we got out-rebounded. I think that shouldn’t happen, especially with people like me, Gary (Clark), and so on. So just get better on the defense and communicating, and not as many turnovers.”

Abdelfattah believes it was an abundance of turnovers that ultimately hurt the Vipers.

Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ Jacobi Boykins (1) reacts near the end of the fourth quarter during a time out against Santa Cruz Warriors in a NBA G League game on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019, in Edinburg. Warriors defeated the Vipers 122-112. (Joel Martinez | jmatinez@themonitor.com)

“You can’t win when you have 27 turnovers. You give up eight offensive rebounds to one guy in the first half, and 11 total to the team. You just gotta take care of the ball,” he said.

With plenty of basketball left to play in the season, the defending NBA G League champions look to clean up some of the sloppiness they have showed early on.

“We’re just going to keep doing what we do. Just sharing the ball, making sure our spacing is good on the offensive end. Our execution has got to clean up a little bit,” Abdelfattah said. “And then, just defensively, we’ve got to be able to go one on one. That’s the biggest thing. We do a lot of switching, and our guys have got to do a much better job of keeping their man in the front. I think that’ll help us on the defensive glass as well.

“Just the little things. I mean it’s early in the season. We’re not going to change anything. We’re just going to get better at what we do.”

The Vipers begin a three-game road trip, where they take on the Salt Lake City Stars on Friday, followed by the Northern Arizona Suns on Sunday, and the Oklahoma City Blue on Nov. 19 before returning to Bert Ogden Arena to take on the Stockton Kings on Nov. 22.