Summer League Diary: Lakers vs. Sixers

Summer League Diary: Lakers vs. Sixers

Phil Jackson not leaving the Knicks for the Lakers
Report cards and New Years Resolution for the Young Lakers
Are the Lakers young players untouchable?

To say the least, this was not the prettiest game the Lakers have played. Trailing nearly for the entire game, and losing by as much as 14 to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers relied heavily on second year players Larry Nance Jr and D’Angelo Russell to pull out with a 70-69 win.

First off, what a crazy finish. If you didn’t see the ending: D’Angelo hit a midrange shot to tie the game at 67, TJ McConnell then raced up the court and hit a lay-up to give the 76ers a 69-67 lead. Lakers called a time out and everyone at UNLV’s Thomas and Mack center was on their feet. Lakers had 1.8 seconds on the clock and you figure they give the ball to D’Angelo.

They did, and here is my view and the broadcast view (which is coming from Silver Screen and Roll’s Drew Garrison).

LOOK AT THIS BEAUTIFULLY DRAWN UP PLAY.

If this took place last season, this would have ended up in a contested Kobe fade-away, cause you know, Byron.  Also, if you look at the bottom right corner at :09 seconds in Drew’s video, the guy in the white shirt and cap jumping up and down with his arms up? Jim Buss. Let the man enjoy the team he help put together.

What a completely different feel this team has compared to last year’s Summer League squad. The Lakers had a much better performance against the Pelicans the previous night where they won by 20, but I was really impressed with the way that this team was able to overcome a deficit and win the game.  The players who helped sparked this comeback were second year veterans, sure, but it is reassuring to see D’Angelo and Larry take control like that (even if it was against the 76ers Summer League squad).

 

D’Angelo Russell made up for the first 3 horrendous quarters that he played to finish up with 22 points on 8/20 shooting and 5 assists while compiling a few turnovers throughout the way. Defensively there was much to be desired as he let TJ McConnell get by him frequently. D’Angelo still had a way of dictating the game even when his shot wasn’t falling as he was looking to set his teammates open. Late in the game he was able to split a double team and kick it out to an open Brandon Ingram who was not able to get the 3 to fall. That is the sort of thing you love to see out of your point guard and I think he’ll be leaps and bounds better than he was last year.

Brandon Ingram did not have a great night to say the least. Finishing with  with 7 on 3/12 shooting. Jerami Grant did a good job of neutralizing Ingram. Grant had the size advantage and Ingram had a daunting task of trying to get by him or the number 1 draft pick, Ben Simmons. Strength will come in time and if Ingram can tighten up his handles he will be a huge problem. It’s okay for Ingram to struggle in his second game of Las Vegas Summer League. Give him some time to develop and he should be dominating summer league next year the same way the Russell is currently.

Ivica Zubac, Rest in Peace. We hope that Melisandre can bring him back soon. Jokes aside, Zubac does what he can to affect shots at the rim, and sometimes being put on a poster is a byproduct of that fact.

Larry Nance Jr said he would get back at the 76ers for what they did to his teammate Zubac, safe to say:

He did. Nance also put up 13 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 7 steals to fill up the stat sheet. There were 3 occasions of “LAR-RY” chants and 1 “M-V-P” chant that I could count throughout the game and he deserved it. He was all over the floor tonight and contributing in any way, shape, or form. He seems to always give all the effort he can throughout the game, and that’s really you can ask for from a player and teammate.

If these past two games are any indication of how the team will be this season, it should be a cause for excitement for Laker fans. The ball is moving, the offense does not look as stagnant as it did last season, there is off ball movement, and most importantly, communication is present. There were a few instances where I saw D’Angelo and Larry Nance chirping at each other over a missed defensive assignment. Not in a overly critical way but it seemed like they were talking it through to make sure a breakdown it would not happen again. The players and coaching staff are communicating with each other which was not the case at all last year too.

The vibe of this team feels completely different than it did a year ago and I can’t wait to see it translate to the regular season.

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