The Los Angeles Lakers have had different players step up throughout the course whole season, so it made sense that the forgotten first-round pick, and the two-way contract players led them on the final night of the season.
Josh Hart, Gary Payton II, and Alex Caruso all posted career highs in scoring as the Lakers routed the Clippers, 115-100, to end the season on a high note.
It was Hart who led the team with 30 points, including seven 3-pointers, to go along with five rebounds and five steals. He even garnered some attention after celebrating one of his triples with a homage to his favorite video game ‘Fortnite.’
This was Hart’s fourth consecutive game with at least 20 points, joining Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Phoenix’s Josh Jackson, and teammate Kyle Kuzma as the only rookies to accomplish such a feat this year.
“I told y’all it’s because Kuz wasn’t in the game. Kuz wants to jack all the time,” Hart joked about when asked what led to the impressive stretch.
Probably the most unexpected performance came from Payton II who finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He got to the rim almost at will, and even hit three shots from deep, which is not something he’s known for.
Caruso had another solid game for the Lakers with 15 points and seven rebounds, including the final points of the season, a 3-pointer.
The talk of the town, Andre Ingram, couldn’t match his shooting performance from his debut game, hitting just 2-of-9 from the field for five points. But he did lead the Lakers with six assists while also adding three rebounds and two steals.
The performance was fitting for a young Lakers team that has turned heads all season. They jumped out on the Clippers with 39 points in the first quarter and led by double-digits at halftime before pulling away in the third, leading by as many as 22 points in the game.
Very few teams can match the amount of young talent on the Lakers. All year it’s been about Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Julius Randle, but this final game showed the depth on full display.
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