The Los Angeles Lakers Summer League team has been largely underwhelming in its first three games. The Lakers went 1-2 and both D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle have struggled mightily to find a rhythm. The Lakers looked to get back on track in the Summer League playoffs as they took on the Dallas Mavericks.
Jordan Clarkson has been the Lakers best player this summer, showing that he isn’t done growing after an exceptional rookie season. Jabari Brown also returned in the third game after missing the first two and showed his same ability to get baskets on a consistent basis.
The Mavericks were led by first-round pick Justin Anderson as well as NBA veteran Jordan Crawford, but did not win a game in their first three in Las Vegas.
The Lakers got off to a slow start as missed shots and turnovers allowed Dallas to go ahead 7-0 early. Julius Randle got the Lakers on the board with a pair of free throws followed by a steal and layup. Jordan Clarkson hit a nice layup and Randle hit a jumper as the Lakers closed the deficit to 12-8. Russell and Clarkson both had baskets but an impressive spin and dunk from Jeremy Tyler put Dallas ahead 19-12. The Lakers continued to struggle, especially defensively as Dallas went up 26-16 on a Pablo Aguilar three. Back-to-back beautiful baskets from Robert Upshaw and Russell brought the Lakers within eight, but free throws from Jordan Crawford gave Dallas a 30-20 lead after the first quarter.
The Lakers got off to a much better start in the second quarter as a pair of free throws from Russell and a Jabari Brown three quickly cut the Mavericks lead in half. Randle continued his strong start with a step-back jumper and nice spin move as the Lakers stayed close early in the second. The Lakers offense stalled midway through the quarter as Dallas crept back ahead by nine points before a nice slashing layup from Clarkson. Russell struggled to knock down shots and Dallas went on a run led by Justin Anderson who knocked a three as well as a huge dunk to put Dallas ahead by 13. Jabari Brown hit a three to end the Mavericks run, but the Lakers still trailed 46-36 as the first half wound down. A Russell turnover led to a fastbreak layup for Dallas and a pair of free throws from Okaro White pushed the Mavericks back ahead by 14. Brown hit a jumper off the Russell assist to cut the lead to 12 at halftime, 50-38.
Clarkson got the Lakers on the board quickly with a pair of nice layups as the Lakers got within single digits. Dallas quickly moved back ahead by 12, but Clarkson hit Brown for a layup to keep the Lakers within 10. Randle made a nice pass to Clarkson for a corner three as the Lakers closed within seven. Randle was able to make a couple of nice moves as the Lakers moved within four, but a nice hook from Tyler put Dallas right back up by 6. Another Randle layup and a pair of Clarkson free throws brought the Lakers within a basket, but Tyler hit a fadeaway to keep Dallas ahead by four. Jabari hit Upshaw for an easy dunk to bring the Lakers within a point. Xavier Munford hit a three to give the Lakers their first lead of the game at 63-61 but Dallas ended the quarter on a 7-0 run capped off by a three from Anderson to stay ahead 68-63 after three.
The Lakers got another solid start to a quarter as Anthony Brown hit a three and Russell made a beautiful pass to Tarik Black for a dunk to cut the deficit to two points. Tony Mitchell hit a three to cut it to one, but Tyler got another easy basket to keep Dallas ahead by three. Russell made another outstanding pass, this time to Mitchell for a layup followed by a three-point play from Jabari to tie the game at 76. Tyler got another basket on a tip-in, but Russell responded with a layup to keep the game even. Maalik Wayns hit a big three for Dallas and Clarkson responded with a pair of free throws for the Lakers. Powell hit another three for Dallas, but Randle got an easy layup to keep the Lakers within two. The Lakers had chances to take the lead, but Clarkson failed to convert. Wayns hit a pair of free throws, but Jabari stuck with a play to get a layup and keep the Lakers within two. Black looked to have a dunk, but Anderson met him at the rim with a tremendous block to keep Dallas ahead two with under two minutes remaining. Jabari hit a pair of free throws to tie the game with just over a minute remaining. The Lakers won a jump ball, but were unable to convert as the game remained tied with 42 seconds left. The Lakers got a stop, but Russell turned the ball over giving the Mavs a chance to win. Wayns missed the floater, but Tyler got a putback with 1.4 seconds left. Randle missed a shot at the buzzer and the Lakers fell 88-86.[divide]