The Los Angeles Lakers went into Sunday night’s game against the Utah Jazz with one job: lose the game and stay in the the bottom-10. Unfortunately, they were unable to do that thanks to the contributions made by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and the South Bay Lakers squad.
Yes, you read that correctly: a group of G League call ups, rookies and the unpredictable KCP led the Lakers to a win over the Jazz, who were fighting for home court advantage in the postseason on Sunday.
Caldwell-Pope went berserk in the fourth quarter, scoring 18 of his game with a game-high 32 points in the final frame. He also contributed six rebounds, six assists and a steal.
Caldwell-Pope will enter unrestricted free agency this summer, where he’ll hope to use his latest stretch of games as the selling point for his next contract. However, unless the Lakers strike out in free agency this summer, that team likely won’t be his current team.
JaVale McGee was also huge for Los Angeles once, scoring 22 points on an efficient 10-16 shooting from the field to go along with eight rebounds. The 7-footer didn’t lead the team in rebounds, though. That title belonged to Jemerrio Jones on Sunday.
Jones shined in his first career start, tallying five points, five assists, two blocks and a game-high 16 rebounds for the Lakers. He’s 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, for those that didn’t know.
Jemerrio Jones became the first Lakers player with 16 or more rebounds his first start.— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) April 8, 2019
Not guards. Among ALL Lakers players.
Alex Caruso also continued to make his case for a full-time job in the NBA next season, scoring 18 points and dishing out a game-high 11 assists.
The Lakers will play in their regular season finale on Tuesday at Staples Center against the Portland Trail Blazers, who they’ve beaten twice already this season. While it would be nice to end the season by winning the season series against the Blazers for the first time in ages, there are bigger things at stake than a moral victory.