The Los Angeles Lakers got off to a strong start during the California Classic, blowing out the Miami Heat 100-66.
The contest was never close as the Lakers got out to a big lead in the first quarter and never let up. Mac McClung led the team in scoring with 17 points off the bench, while Jay Huff dominated both ends of the floor with his shooting and rim protection.
Scotty Pippen Jr. had a solid debut, scoring 12 points and finding his groove in the second half. Pippen was happy with the win and acknowledged that Summer League head coach Phil Handy told the team to focus on the defense.
“Coach Handy, he emphasized coming out there playing hard defensively, competing,” Pippen said. “As long as we take good shoots he’s happy with them so we just knew picking up our defensive intensity was the main focus of this game.”
As for Pippen, he drew the start at point guard and noted he was primarily focused on involving his teammates and getting them to the right spots. “My main focus was playmaking, being ready to score whenever, and just reading the defense. Making sure guys were in the right spots and being a coach on the floor.”
Known more for his scoring, Pippen handled lead guard duties relatively well though he did look more comfortable in the second half where he looked for his shot more. Defensively, he was active chasing players around screens and did well at the point of attack.
It was an encouraging performance for Pippen and the rest of the roster who already look like a cohesive unit despite just a week of practices. Hopefully they can build on this momentum when they take on the Golden State Warriors next.
Scotty Pippen Jr. on how his offense can translate
Pippen is a good shooter who is able to find space for his shot against bigger defenders. In fact, he highlighted that facet of his game when asked what skills will be able to translate to the NBA.
“I just think my ability to create space on offense, getting defenders off balance where they have to jump where they have to foul me. It’s been something I’ve been naturally good at and I’ve picked up more tricks but hopefully I’m showing that it can translate.”
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