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Summer League Lakers drop California Classic Opener to Heat

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The Lakers came up short against Miami in their first summer league game in nearly two years.

2021 California Classic Summer League: Los Angeles Lakers v Miami Heat Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Summer League Lakers made their return after a nearly two-year layoff on Tuesday, facing off against the Miami Heat in the opening game of the California Classic hosted by the Sacramento Kings. Though the Lakers had four players score in double digits, led by 15 points from summer league and South Bay Lakers veteran Devontae Cacok, they still came up short as Heat rookie Ömer Yurtseven’s 27 points carried Miami to an 80-78 victory.

The game definitely felt like a return to summer league, both in the fact that it was largely overshadowed by the Lakers’ flurry of free agency moves to some production issues that left the ESPN2 game broadcast without a functioning audio feed for a solid chunk of the first half.

Despite the long layoff, Cacok still looked like someone who had been in summer league before, not just leading the Lakers scoring, but also rebounds (7) and assists (4).

In his Lakers debut after turning down potential draft offers to land a two-way deal with Los Angeles, Austin Reaves made his presence felt. Reaves scored 11 points on an efficient 4-7 shooting in 27 minutes of game time, showing off the pick and roll play that made him the focal point of the University of Oklahoma’s offensive attack last NCAA season. Reaves also had two assists, including a beautiful fastbreak dish to Cacok for an easy dunk by the big man.

Fellow first-time Lakers Yoeli Childs and Justin Robinson made nice first impressions as well, scoring 10 points each in their purple and gold debuts.

Joel Ayayi, the rookie guard out of Gonzaga who secured the Lakers’ other two-way roster spot alongside Reaves, had eight points on 3-7 shooting. Mac McClung, the former top high school prospect who finished his collegiate career at Texas Tech last season, chipped in six points.

The Lakers will play the host Kings tomorrow at 8 p.m. PST before heading to the Las Vegas summer league, which starts on Sunday.