Lester Quinones

Warriors' Quinones struggles as Dominican Republic advances in FIBA Cup

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Warriors guard Lester Quiñones is advancing to the knockout stage of the 2023 FIBA Cup as the Dominican Republic beat Angola, 75-67, Tuesday morning.

The Dominican Republic went a perfect 3-0 in Group A of the opening round, first beating the Philippines, then enjoying a stunning five-point win against Italy before ending with their victory over Angola. But Quiñones struggled shooting the ball and wound up being benched in the end.

Quiñones, 22, started in each of the Dominican Republic’s first two games. He played 16 minutes against the Philippines and scored only two points on 0-of-4 shooting and missed all three of his 3-point attempts. His points came at the free-throw line, going 2 of 4.

Dominican Republic head coach Nestor Garcia had a short leash with Quiñones in the DR’s second game. Playing Italy held too much weight, and too much was on the line to take any risks. Quiñones started but his playing time was cut in half. Nearly all of the time he saw on the floor was in the first quarter, too.

Quiñones played 19 seconds in the final three quarters and finished the win as a minus-10 in plus/minus with two points. Once again, all his points were from free throws, this time going a perfect 2 of 2. He was 0-of-3 shooting from the field and misfired on two 3-pointers.

Though he came off the bench Tuesday, Quiñones made a much quicker impact against Angola. The shooting guard entered with three-and-a-half minutes remaining in the first quarter and immediately made his way to the charity stripe. Quiñones went to the free-throw line three times in his first five offensive possessions – going 5 of 6 – and made his first shot of the tournament, giving him seven points in the first two-and-a-half minutes.

In Quiñones fashion, his jumper -- which was a long time coming -- was one for the highlight reel.

The success didn’t last much longer. Quiñones played a total of 16 minutes, didn’t attempt another free throw and was 1-of-7 shooting overall.

The G League’s Most Improved Player scored 11 total points in 40 minutes. Quiñones shot 7.1 percent (1 of 14) from the field, 25 percent (1 of 4) on 2-pointers and didn’t make any of his 10 tries behind the 3-point line. He turned the ball over five times and was without a single assist.

This is a great opportunity for Quiñones, who will look to rebound in the next round. Quiñones signed a two-way contract with the Warriors this offseason after starring for their G League affiliate in Santa Cruz last season. The Warriors expect him to compete in training camp for a spot on the 15-man roster and be a reliable two-way player when called upon in the least.

The Dominican Republic’s run will continue Sept. 1 against one of Serbia, Puerto Rico or South Sudan depending on the results of Group B.

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