After starting off this year’s Las Vegas Summer League tournament on an impressive 2-0 note, the Lakers are concluding it in the opposite direction. They lost to their rivals, the Boston Celtics (who were winless before meeting the Lakers), and then got blown out by the Memphis Grizzlies two days after, who officially crushed their Summer League championship hopes.
But before the Lakers depart from Las Vegas and put a bow on this year’s summer games, they will face the L.A. Clippers to finish off the LVSL tournament. While this is pretty much going to be a meaningless game record-wise, it’s still one last opportunity for the team to ball out — especially for players vying for a contract in the league.
With Max Christie now listed as day-to-day due to a right hip strain injury he suffered against the Celtics, there will once again be more playing time and on-ball reps available for the new faces on the roster.
Christie was pretty much the Lakers’ best player in both the California Classic games and LVSL tournament (and rightfully so). Now that the sophomore will most likely sit this one out, who on the team will step up in the last game of the summer?
Can Jalen Hood-Schifino, who has looked more comfortable each game, take over the helm? How about this year’s second-round pick Max Lewis? Does he have one great game to showcase this summer?
Can Cole Swider, who lost his starting spot on the summer team last game, prove why he deserves to retain one of the Lakers’ two-way contract spots? Or will the likes of LJ Figueroa (who led the team with 15 points last game), Alex Fudge, or Bryce Hamilton have something to say about that?
This game is all about leaving an impression and making the most out of one last opportunity.
The Lakers will face a streaking Clippers team (3-1) that has won its last three games. The Clippers’ rookies Kobe Brown and Jordan Miller, selected for their 30th and 48th pick respectively, will be interesting test for Hood-Schifino and the rest of the Lakers’ guards. Brown, who is averaging 17.5 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game in the LVSL tournament, has been the best player for the Clippers this summer.
We’ll see if the purple and gold can turn the tide and conclude their summer stint on a strong note with a victory against the Clippers tonight.
Notes and Updates:
- As mentioned above, Christie’s status (right hip strain) is listed as day-to-day. The sophomore, who sat out against the Grizzlies, had a successful Summer League stint after averaging 19.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists on 49.2% shooting from the field and 55% from the three-point line. The 20-year-old certainly made a case for more playing time on the parent team this upcoming season.
- Speaking of the parent team, team captain LeBron James made headlines yesterday after ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported that the four-time champion will be changing his jersey number back to 23 this upcoming season. Read more about that here.
- And finally, after two weeks, this year’s Summer League semifinals will be headlined by the Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. The team wins their next two games will be this year’s Summer League champions.
The Lakers and Clippers will tip off at 7 p.m. PT. The game will be exclusively televised on ESPN2.
You can follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicoleganglani