The Los Angeles Lakers dropped their Las Vegas Summer League opener to the Phoenix Suns on Friday night, ending any hopes of a championship run.
L.A. was still guaranteed four more games in Las Vegas though and Summer League play continued Sunday night when they took on the Charlotte Hornets. The Lakers looked much more energized in this game and continued that throughout, although they wound up falling 89-86 in sudden death overtime.
The Lakers got off to a nice start as Scotty Pippen Jr. found Sacha Killeya-Jones for a nice alley-oop to begin the game. Killeya-Jones was again starting in place of Jay Huff, who remains in health and safety protocols.
Lakers second-round pick Max Christie was also looking to be aggressive offensively early, scoring four straight points on a floater and left-handed layup. After a three by Cole Swider, the Lakers opened up an early 12-5 lead.
Shareef O’Neal also got some early minutes and made the most of it with a coast-to-coast layup and then transition dunk to give L.A. it’s first double-digit lead. After Mason Jones beat the first-quarter buzzer with a deep three, the Lakers’ lead sat at 31-18.
Jones continued his hot shooting in the second quarter with another three, which was much-needed in a bench unit that mostly lacked scoring. Swider hit another three of his own as well to help L.A. maintain its double-digit lead.
The Lakers went cold towards the end of the half and got sloppy with the ball though so their lead was cut to 48-45 going into the locker room.
Los Angeles locked back in defensively to begin the third quarter with Nate Pierre-Louis coming up with a big block on an opposing big man. Pippen also took a charge, while Swider continued his hot shooting to work the lead back up to eight.
As was the case in the first half though, the Lakers’ second unit struggled to score at the end of the third quarter, although Javante McCoy had a pair of nice buckets. The Hornets knocked in a couple threes of their own to cut the deficit to 63-60 through three quarters.
The Hornets then opened the fourth quarter on a 4-0 run to take their first lead, and then another 8-0 run after a dunk by Killeya-Jones extended Charlotte’s lead to seven, their biggest of the game.
Looking for a late run, the Lakers continued to get 3-point production from Swider, who made back-to-back jumpers, including a four-point play to tie the game with four minutes to go.
The Lakers picked it up defensively from there with Pierre-Louis leading the way once again, coming up with a steal and then finding Killeya-Jones for a dunk to cap off a 16-3 run, working the Lakers lead back up to six.
Unfortunately though, Pierre-Louis couldn’t get it done on the other end as he air-balled a wide-open corner three that would’ve put the game out of reach. The Hornets responded with a three-point play to make it a one-possession game once again.
After another miss by Pierre-Louis, Ty-Shon Alexander came down and drilled a three to tie the game with 20 seconds left.
Mason Jones then ran out the clock for the Lakers and drove to the basket for a layup at the buzzer, but was blocked to send the game to overtime.
Swider led the Lakers with 19 points on 5-of-8 from deep while Pippen finished with 10 points, seven assists and three steals.
The overtime period was two minutes long and the Hornets scored first. Then, Mason Jones got some redemption with a three with 15.4 seconds remaining to give the Lakers a one-point lead. After a Hornets miss, Swider knocked down a pair of free throws to extend the lead to three, but Pierre-Louis then fouled a 3-point shooter so the game was again tied with 4.3 remaining.
Mason Jones missed at the buzzer once again, sending it to sudden death double overtime.
The Lakers started with the ball but Pippen air-balled, and then JT Thor drained a three to win it for the Hornets.
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