Friday, December 9, 2022

Summer League: Lakers fall in California Classic title game to Kings

A second-half comeback was not enough for the Lakers as they saw their chance at adding to the Summer League trophy cabinet came up short against the Kings on Tuesday, 87-75.

It was a deceiving scoreline as the Lakers trailed 76-75 and had the ball with a chance to take the lead with 1:40 left. But Sacramento finished the game on a 14-2 run and won going away.

Jay Huff, one of the Lakers’ top players during Summer League, did not play on Tuesday and left a big hole for the team to fill, figuratively and literally.

A number of players stepped up, but no one could match Keegan Murray, the No. 4 overall pick by the Kings, on Tuesday as he poured in a game-high 24 points.

In lieu of a traditional recap, here’s a look at some of the key takeaways from the game.

The other guys get it done

Fans tuning into the Summer League are likely doing so for a specific list of players. Whether it’s draftee Max Christie, two-way signings Cole Swider and Scotty Pippen, Jr. or even undrafted free agent Shareef O’Neal, there’s a handful of names they’re wanting to see something from.

Against the Kings, that quartet scored a whopping 16 dots combined.

Instead, it was a lot of the other guys that stepped up on the day. Paris Bass and Vitto Brown each scored 13 points, but it was Javante McCoy that was the unsung hero with 15 points off the bench.

Max Christie’s defense on Keegan Murray

Through three games, Christie has found offense hard to come by. On Tuesday, though, he was matched up against No. 4 pick Keegan Murray defensively and flashed a number of positives on that end of the floor.

Our own Alex Regla threaded his thoughts on Twitter, but here are a couple highlights.

Focus on Christie’s offensive struggles is warranted to an extent, but he’s also an enticing prospect on the other end of the floor. His wingspan allows him to guard up and compete, and that came on Tuesday despite his body being far from NBA ready.

Add some weight and muscle and it really starts to become clear why the Lakers used their pick on him.

Las Vegas up next

After three games in San Francisco, the Lakers now will be off until Friday when they open play in Vegas. The team is guaranteed five games at UNLV’s campus and will play against some of the top young talent in the league.

It’ll be a continued great test for the likes of Christie as he looks to get his sea legs as well as barometers of whether Swider and Pippen Jr. got off to hot starts or could be two-way players that may contribute this season.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on itunes, Spotify, stitcher gold Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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