It’s a good thing there were other things to distract Lakers fans during the start of Sacramento Summer League Monday, because the basketball product was... lacking.
In the first game of the three-game California Classic, the Lakers were wrecked by the Miami Heat, falling 106-79. The team got off to a hot start and took an early 14-4 lead, but the Lakers were outscored by 37 points the rest of the way. The Heat rained threes on their California hosts, led by Tyler Herro, who pulled up from all over the court and knocked down five triples.
The Lakers were at a talent deficit, as their roster doesn’t include a single drafted player, while Miami has a 2019 first-rounder in Herro, and both Duncan Robinson and Charles Cooke played for the Heat last season. Los Angeles was able to bully the Heat to start the game with Jordan Caroline and Nick Perkins inside, but once Miami started forcing some misses, the Heat got going on the break, hitting threes in transition to get back into the game and build a lead they would not relinquish. They ended up hitting 15-of-29 3-pointers.
Results aren’t the primary focus of Summer League, and there were a few individual performances that stood out for the Lakers. Zach Norvell, who the team signed to a two-way contract for the upcoming season, led the Lakers with three assists and would have had more if his teammates finished some easy scoring opportunities. He finished with 11 points and generally looked more comfortable attacking and distributing than the rest of the roster.
Aric Holman didn’t score but had two blocks, showing his ability to defend in space. He was one of two Lakers to finish with a positive plus-minus along with Jordan Howard, who showed out for 11 points in 12 minutes of garbage time. Howard wasn’t on the originally released roster, but there was an opening when Talen Horton-Tucker was ruled out for the Sacramento games.
The Lakers play again on Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors at 6 p.m.