The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers met in the Las Vegas Summer League championship for a second consecutive year on Tuesday night and have split those contests. The loss snapped the Lakers’ 10-game winning streak in Las Vegas.
They struggled mightily against the Trail Blazers, even Josh Hart who had turned the previous six games into his personal playground. Hart entered the championship game averaging 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.
The strong play earned Hart the Las Vegas Summer League MVP Award, and had he produced at that same level in a Lakers win against the Trail Blazers, the 23-year-old likely would’ve earned Championship Game MVP honors as well.
But Hart finished with just 12 points on 3-for-12 shooting; he missed all six 3-point attempts and shot 6-for-9 at the free throw line. Hart picked up two technical fouls and was ejected with 4:45 remaining in the game.
Although the night began on a positive note, Hart couldn’t help but be disappointed and therefore anticipating and looking forward to getting back on the court, via the Lakers’ Twitter account:
“I mean, it was cool. I’ll talk more about that later down the line. … After this horrible game, I can’t wait to get back to training camp, get to the preseason and regular season, and watch this taste out of my mouth. That time can’t come soon enough.”
Hart’s production earned him plenty of praise and recognition from Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson, general manager Rob Pelinka and new teammate LeBron James, among others.
Johnson went so far as to say Hart was going to push to start once competitions in training camp begin. The Lakers intend to audition all four spots around James to determine the best lineup. On the surface, Hart appeared to be a likely candidate to come off the bench.
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