The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA Summer League championship on Monday, taking down the Portland Trail Blazers in a decisive 110-98 victory for the crown. It was a gratifying end to a pre-preseason that began with back-to-back losses.
With Lonzo Ball out, nursing minor groin and calf injuries for the summer’s final game, Kyle Kuzma stole the show. The Utah product laid claim to the Summer League Finals MVP award, scoring 30 points in 35 minutes on 11-of-16 shooting (6-of-10 on threes) along with 10 rebounds to lead the Lakers to their first-ever summertime championship.
Kyle Kuzma drains it at the buzzer for points No.30! #NBASummer pic.twitter.com/FI98qpGLkq— NBA (@NBA) July 18, 2017
He wasn’t alone.
Alex Caruso filled in for Ball beautifully with 15 points and nine assists. Sharpshooter Matt Thomas finished with 23 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from downtown (8-of-9 from the field), and Vander Blue added 20 points and six assists of his own.
In all, six of the nine Lakers to touch the floor scored in double figures, including all five starters.
The Trail Blazers didn’t lay down. Caleb Swanigan added onto a dominant Summer League performance with 25 points (8-of-18 shooting), 12 rebounds, SEVEN ASSISTS, and three steals — an incredibly impressive stat line for a 6’9 big man heralded out of Purdue for his rebounding ability.
Caleb Swanigan rebound and assist pic.twitter.com/sc0RuMgVO0— GoldandBlack.com (@GoldandBlackcom) July 18, 2017
Jake Layman also added 21 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting, and each Portland starter scored in double digits as well. The Trail Blazers even had a drastically better assist-to-turnover ratio (21:19 vs. 21:10) than the Lakers.
But it was Kuzma, Thomas, and Blue who combined for 73 points that proved too much for Portland to handle.
Los Angeles now enters the regular season on the highest note of the last four seasons, holding Ball, the Summer League MVP, and Kuzma on the roster moving forward. Portland, after fighting from down 19 to beat the Grizzlies in the semifinals, falls short of a storybook ending to the summer.
Lakers 110, Trail Blazers 98 [Silver Screen and Roll recap | Blazer’s Edge recap]
Other things that happened Monday night:
Paul Pierce signed a one-day contract with Boston to retire a Celtic:
Paul Pierce will retire in green ☘️— Boston Celtics (@celtics) July 17, 2017
: https://t.co/GS43Xh4e8E pic.twitter.com/Xbry4V612Y
Lonzo Ball was named Summer League MVP:
Lonzo Ball has just been named MGM Resorts NBA Summer League MVP, the league has announced.— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) July 18, 2017
Summer League First and Second Teams were announced:
Here are the Las Vegas All-Summer League First and Second Teams pic.twitter.com/QjHpahMwFK— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) July 18, 2017
Here are some Summer League stories you need to read:
- Tim Cato on why Dennis Smith is the perfect new face for the Mavericks’ future.
- Kristian Winfield’s dope interview with Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson.
- Michael Sykes breaks down why Lonzo Ball rotating sneaker brands is genius for Big Baller Brand.
- The Suns are a blank canvas. Here’s their plan to paint a masterpiece.