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Lakers fall to the Spurs to cap off California Classic

Despite some impressive individual performances, L.A. failed to notch a win in their final game before heading to Las Vegas.

2023 NBA California Classic - San Antonio Spurs v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

In their final game of the California Classic, the Lakers fell to the Victor Wembanyama-less San Antonio Spurs, 109-99. The team will now travel to Las Vegas for their next leg in Summer League.

Following what was a slog of a performance on offense in their opener, the team showed encouraging signs of gelling in their second outing.

While it’s never wise to take too much away from a Summer League, Max Christie once again showed signs of further development.

Thanks to some newly added muscle and more on-ball opportunities, Christie routinely created space off-the-dribble and got to his spots. And off the ball, he showed his promising shooting numbers from three as a rookie might not have been a fluke, as he finished with 25 points while shooting 4-5 from behind the arc.

For Cole Swider, the team’s other second-year player, he too showed the shooting touch that landed him a spot with the team. He made four of his seven 3-point attempts and scored 18 on the night.

After a mixed debut, Jalen Hood-Schifino had a strong bounce-back performance against San Antonio. As the team’s primary ball-handler, the 20-year-old first-round pick showed poise out of the pick and roll. He also used his size and frame to get downhill and not shy away from contact, finishing with 20 points on 8-17 shooting.

Arguably the night's most impressive performance, however, came from one of the team’s new two-way signees, Colin Castleton.

The 23-year-old rookie showcased his impact on both ends, as the team routinely put the ball in the undrafted rookie center’s hands to orchestrate offense in the halfcourt. The combination of his ability to run dribble hand-offs and finish around the rim with a soft touch displayed his promising feel on offense. He ended the contest with 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

On defense, Castleton was a deterrent at the rim, blocking 4 shots and contesting several more. His 194 career blocked shots in College ranked third most in Florida history, and his 2.49 blocked shots per game were a Gators record.

For the Spurs, Julian Champagnie got his team going early as he scored 12 of his 28 points in the first quarter alone. Second-year player Malaki Branham also had a huge game with 32 points.

Both teams remained close throughout the contest, but the Lakers simply were unable take care of the ball and get enough stops in the final minutes to notch the win.

Ultimately these exhibition contests are more about flashes than they are results. While getting a win is always the desired outcome, if nothing else, the Lakers’ young players are showing there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic.

The Lakers take on the Golden State Warriors on Friday to begin Las Vegas Summer League.

You can follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexmRegla.

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