The Lakers ended their time at Summer League on a high note, beating the Clippers, 104-103 on Sunday night. The win improved L.A.’s record to 3-2 as their time in Las Vegas officially comes to a close.
With Max Christie and Jalen Hood-Schifino ruled out for the finale, it was a balanced attack from the Lakers as five players finished in double-figures. That said, it was the two players on two-way deals that shined the brightest.
D’Moi Hodge, who has had a tremendous summer, caught fire once again. Hodge’s hot shooting and defensive intensity helped ignite the team’s comeback as he capped off Summer League with 23 points and seven made threes.
Cole Swider also took advantage of more shooting opportunities as he chipped in 21 points and five threes of his own.
The Lakers’ offense got going in the first behind Colin Castleton’s nine early points. But thanks to their own hot shooting from three, the Clippers still managed to have a six-point advantage after the opening frame.
Unfortunately for the Clippers, Kobe Brown rolled his ankle and was forced to sit out the rest of this game. Between Brown’s injury and Cole Swider catching fire, the Lakers were able to close the gap by halftime.
The second half was more of the Swider show. He was a flamethrower from downtown and took full advantage of his opportunities.
As a result, the Clippers’ defense started blitzing and chasing over screens whenever Swider caught the ball. Even with the increased defensive attention, Swider still stayed productive throughout the game.
While Swider stepped up, the Clippers threatened to pull away in the third thanks to a productive night from Xavier Moon. The 28-year-old put up 21 points on 7-11 shooting.
Down by just five with ten minutes left in the game, the Lakers found themselves still with a chance to win. And Hodge did everything possible to make it happen.
Hodge served up an alley-oop to Alex Fudge, blocked a layup attempt on the other end and hit a deep three to tie the game. He followed the exhilarating stretch with more intensity as another steal and dime in transition gave L.A. a slim two-point lead midway through the fourth.
With a chance to ice the game in the closing seconds, LJ Figueroa unfortunately missed a string of free-throws to give the Clippers one last chance with 3.4 seconds left.
After committing their foul to give, the Lakers shrunk the clock down to 2.4 seconds, but that was still enough time for Matt Morgan to hit what seemingly was a three to send the game into overtime.
As they’ve done in the past, the Lakers once again made magic happen with 0.4 seconds left. This time, in the form of a foul call on an inbounds pass that sent Swider to the line to hit the game-clinching free-throw.
There were many positive and promising moments for the Lakers this summer. Their prospects showed glimpses, Christie exceeded expectations and most importantly, the team left Las Vegas relatively healthy.
Now the offseason will continue as we await to see what the team does with their remaining roster spots.
The next time we will see the Lakers play basketball will be on October 7th, when they take on the Golden State Warriors to open up the preseason.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.