The Los Angeles Lakers started summer league with a sloppy late loss to the Sacramento Kings, blowing a lead that was as much as 12 and wasting a strong performance from sophomore guard Josh Hart.
The Lakers and Kings started off the California Classic with classic clumsy summer play. Both teams looked to run as much as possible, which lead to plenty of dunks, threes and of course, turnovers.
The purple and gold were led by Hart and freshly drafted rookie Moe Wagner.
Hart struggled to shake the cobwebs off in the first few minutes of the game, but adjusted and began to show off the skills he demonstrated last season — as well as some new ones, namely a strong, pull-up jumper from 3-point range — by going 4-7 from behind the arc and dishing out 4 assists before ultimately getting ejected with his second technical foul.
In his first game as a Laker, Wagner showed the willingness to stretch the floor and bang down low that will surely endear him to fans for years to come. The stretch-five disappointed from distance, going 2-8 on threes, but demonstrated fancy footwork down on the block.
Most importantly, Wagner showed heart and hustle on both ends of the floor in finishing with 23 points on 6-17 shooting to go with seven rebounds.
Wagner’s fellow rookie, Svi Mykhailiuk, started slow but exploded late, hitting three after three in the fourth quarter as the Lakers tried to make a comeback, showing his ability to draw defenders out to the 3-point line and make them fly by when he pump faked and took the ball to the rim.
The Kansas product started off the game with a nothing-but-net three point bomb, and continued to let his shots fly finishing with the game with 15 points on 6-10 shooting.
While the Lakers got good production from their three summer stars, the Kings two man combination of Marvin Bagley III and De’Aaron Fox — who combined for 41 points — proved to be too much for Los Angeles, as Bagley and Fox both got buckets late as the Kings closed.
The Lakers will have an opportunity to redeem themselves quickly when they next take the floor on Tuesday, July 3 at 6:00 pm against the Miami Heat in Sacramento.