Los Angeles Lakers 110, Portland Trail Blazers 98 - Kyle Kuzma scored a game high 30 points on a night where it almost seemed like he couldn’t miss from the field and the Lakers defeated the Trail Blazers with relative ease in the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League championship game. Kuzma’s shooting was ridiculous as the Utah product hit 69% of his overall shots which included a 6-of-10 performance from long range. He ended up with a double-double by wrapping up 10 defensive rebounds as well. Fittingly, Kuzma was named MVP of the championship game.
I have to say “relative ease” because it was a close game in the first half with Portland clinging to a one point lead at halftime. Things got much slower in the scoring department after intermission as the two teams slowed way down from their nearly 120 point pace. The two teams volleyed the lead back and forth for most of the third period, including several ties along the way before a Matt Thomas triple with 3:46 remaining put Los Angeles up by four at 76-72 and a Kuzma three put the Lakers up by five heading to the final frame.
Things got comfortable for LA early in the fourth when another Thomas three-pointer extended the lead to 11 points. Portland only managed to get the margin as close as seven the rest of the way as the Lakers kept answering all of their big shots.
Former Marquette guard Vander Blue had a good night for the Lakers as they played without rookie sensation and shoe model Lonzo Ball, as he sat with a calf injury sustained in the previous night’s game. Blue went for 20 points on a very solid 7-for-12 shooting night, and he also chipped in five rebounds and six assists. He averaged 15.0 points in the eight games that the Lakers played in Summer League while shooting an even 50% from the floor. Vander also added 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game, which is pretty solid work for a shade over 27 minutes on average.
Portland had all five starters in double-digits for scoring, including a double-double performance from former Purdue big man Caleb Swanigan. Biggie had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and that’s without even mentioning his seven assists. Show of hands: Who’s excited that he’s not playing for Purdue when they come to the Bradley Center in November? Let’s see... yep, that’s everyone with their hand raised.
Highlight video time!
Here’s a highlight package of the Lakers in Summer League play, and it’s worth it to watch just for the pass that Blue throws at about the 35 second mark.