The Los Angeles Lakers were unable to get the best of the Portland Trail Blazers two years in a row as the defending NBA Las Vegas Summer League champions lost to the Blazers 91-73.
Coming off of a double overtime win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers’ legs just weren’t there on Tuesday and it showed in their shooting numbers. As a team, the Lakers shot an abysmal 39.1 percent from the field including a lowly 14.3 percent from behind the arc.
Not even summer league MVP Josh Hart could fight through fatigue, going 0-6 from the three-point line just over 24 hours removed from pouring on 37 points on the Cavs in the semifinals.
However, while heavy legs played a role in the Lakers’ blowout loss to the Blazers, at the end of the day Portland was just the more talented team. The Trail Blazers’ summer league roster consisted of six first-round picks — including two lottery picks in Zach Collins and Georgios Papagiannis. Meanwhile, Josh Hart was the only first-round pick for Los Angeles after Moe Wagner went down with an injury earlier in the tournament.
Had the Lakers sent their second-year players Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma, perhaps this game would have ended differently, but Portland came with their best guys and as a result, they get to go home with some hardware. This is the Trail Blazer’s second NBA championship in franchise history (kinda).
The Lakers will now look ahead to what promises to be their exciting and competitive season in years. Not only did they land four-time league MVP LeBron James this summer, but they also kept their young core of Ball, Kuzma, Hart and Brandon Ingram intact. They also added to their young core with breakout summer league star Svi Mykhailiuk and Wagner, who showed promise in his limited action.
It might sting that the Lakers weren’t able to claim back-to-back summer league titles, but hopefully they’re competing for more than just a summer league title next season.